L.D 1329, An Act To Allow Tobacco Retail Establishments to Sell Alcohol

Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services
Room 209, Cross State Office Building
Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 1:00 pm 

Good afternoon Senator Brakey, Representative Hymanson, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. I am Peter Michaud, Associate General Counsel for the Maine Medical Association (MMA) and a registered nurse. I live in Readfield, and I am speaking in opposition to LD 1329, An Act to Allow Tobacco Retail Establishments to Sell Alcohol.

The MMA is a professional association representing more than 4,000 physicians, residents, and medical students in Maine whose mission is to support Maine physicians, advance the quality of medicine in Maine, and promote the health of all Maine citizens. We represent physicians from all medical specialties, as well as public health and primary care.

This bill may sound very familiar, and it should. Last year you considered LD 34, An Act to Promote Equity in Business Opportunity in Tobacco Specialty Stores. That bill, like this one, was an attempt to roll back the protection against smoking in public places, a protection for which so many in Maine worked so hard in order to promote the health of Maine people. We have already had this discussion. LD 34 failed in the first year of this Legislature, and LD 1329 should fail in this one.

What this bill really does is allow smoking in bars. True, there are specific requirements, including a certain percentage volume of tobacco business, under the bill. Still, the essence is to create spaces where smoking is allowed and alcoholic beverages are served to the public.

LD 1329 is a threat to the public health. Its goal is to roll back statutory health protections for Maine people. It is a smoking expansion bill in disguise, and it promotes disease and death.

We respectfully ask you to vote the bill “Ought Not To Pass.” I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.