Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Eye Opener: No smoking near federal buildings?

By Ed O'Keefe



Eye Opener

Happy Friday! A New York lawmaker is trying -- yet again -- to ban smoking within 25 feet of federal buildings.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill this week that bans the practice, even though the General Services Administration last year banned puffing within 25 feet of federal building doorways and intake ducts.

The policy closed interior smoking rooms, but does not apply to federal buildings in which people are "voluntarily or involuntarily residing," such as prisons. It also allows for "instances where an agency head establishes limited and narrow exceptions that are necessary to accomplish agency missions."

Federal employees have fought the existence of interior smoking rooms, outdoor smoking areas other loopholes in the GSA policy that might allow some colleagues to carve out indoor and outdoor smoking areas.

Engel's bill appears to help those efforts, if it ever passes.

"This is common sense legislation," Engel said in a statement, noting that he introduced the Healthy Air for Federal Workers Act to coincide with the Great American Smoke Out and Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Engel introduced a similar measure in July 2008 to no avail.

But how will the law be enforced? Is it really that necessary? Or is it long overdue?

And how might this impact President Obama -- who lives in a federal building and has never said that he's completely kicked the habit?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

More Obama Nominees Announced: On Thursday the president tapped World Bank official Elizabeth Littlefield to serve as president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; career Senior Foreign Service officer Harry K. Thomas Jr. to serve as ambassador to the Philippines; and Georgia State Sen. David Adelman to serve as ambassador to Singapore. Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: Republican lawmaker asks Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner if he will resign. Is Kathleen Sebelius' cave-in on mammograms a setback for health care reform? Today: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. attends the swearing in of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neal H. McBride; Commerce Secretary Gary Locke swears in Patrick Gallagher as 14th director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visits Fayetteville, N.C. to talk about the future of local agriculture. TSA, OMB nominees confirmed by Senate committee. Is the White House is cutting the annual Hannukah party in half?

In Case You Missed it Thursday: More turbulence for FAA ... Auditors raise doubts about stimulus numbers ... Postal Service's Letters to Santa program lives on.

Awesome Government-Run Lincoln Memorial Site: Kudos to the National Park Service and Memorial Parks for launching a new interactive Web site that provides panoramic views of the Lincoln Memorial and personal reflections from the park rangers that protect it. NPS has partnered with the Trust for the National Mall to build similar Web sites for the Mall's other monuments. The Eye can't wait!

OPM chief floats ideas on personnel system fix: In greater detail than he has before, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry outlined his thinking on remaking the federal personnel system during a speech this week.

FDA targets rogue Internet pharmacies: The agency is pressuring a number of Internet service providers to shut off nearly 12 dozen Web sites alleged to be selling counterfeit or unapproved prescription drugs.

U.S. plans immigration audits at 1,000 employers: The businesses will get a notice that the government intends to audit their compliance with immigration laws, the Department of Homeland Security said.

House panel approves broad auditing of Federal Reserve: The approval came as the House Financial Services Committee concluded weeks of debate on a sweeping financial-overhaul bill to create a new council of regulators to wind down large institutions that pose a risk to the economy.

GAO finds extensive fraud in disabled veteran-owned small biz program: Of more than 100 allegations of fraud and abuse, GAO audited 10 firms between October 2008 and November 2009 and found that ineligible companies improperly received millions of dollars in set-aside and sole source contracts.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter | Submit your news tips here

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 20, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Postal Service's Letter to Santa program lives on
Next: Orszag on health care reform

Comments

The attack on smokers has had NOTHING TO DO WITH SMOKING and EVERYTHING TO DO WITH CONTROL OVER PEOPLE. "Find out what people will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong that can be imposed upon them; the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." ~ Frederick Douglass (1857)

Posted by: nunna123 | November 20, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Whoever wrote this article must either be totally disconnected from the world or purposfully playing stupid.

I cant imagine anyone not being aware that THERE ARE ALREADY LAWS PREVENTING SMOKING OUTSIDE AND WITHIN CERTAIN DISTANCES OF FEDERAL BUILDINGS!!!

If you dont already know that and decide to write an article about it because you refuse to do research, you should quit your job and move somewhere else. We dont need more empty headed, lazy bigoted reporters at WaPo or MSM in general

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | November 20, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to the anti-terrorism laws already on the books, I have no doubt that you could arrest and execute anyone *thinking* of smoking near a Federal building, on charges of "conspiring to poison Federal employees".

Terrifying, actually. The average American can't get through the day without committing several Federal felonies. We have *all* earned several hundred years in Club Fed. It's only prosecutorial discretion that keeps us "free".

God Bless America.

Posted by: DupontJay | November 20, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It is pretty ridiculous that you have to go through a crowd of smoke to get in and out of your building. I think the the victimhood thing adopted by smokers is annoying. Sure, smoke, just don't expect everyone else to breath in the smoke with you.

Posted by: bperk420 | November 20, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm a former smoker but still I chafe at what the smokers have to go through for a few puffs. Leave 'em alone! Soon enough all the taxes on their smokes will have them quitting or smoking fewer and fewer!

Posted by: MILWI | November 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

have a solution for all the whiners.ban the manufacture and sales of tobbaco products in the country.it will than eliminate the problem,along with jobs created by this legal product,and the reulting billion of $$$$ in tax revenue.of course this was tried with prohibition.hypocritical fools

Posted by: pofinpa | November 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

MILWI, the jacket I wore to work this morning has a cigarette burn on the sleeve.

None of the smokers congregating outside buildings or swinging lit cigarettes around on crowded sidewalks has ever even offered to compensate me for burns they have inflicted on my clothing or stuff over the years. Yet if I sauntered around with an open can of paint, recklessly splattering it on other people's clothing and stuff, I'm pretty sure there would be consequences.

Why should smokers alone be allowed to damage other people's health and property with such impunity?

Posted by: Itzajob | November 20, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It's not about second hand smoke, it's about exerting power over people. I will never forget watching a guy jogging along the road next to a bus spewing black smoke for a block while 3 of us were smoking in a designated spot. When he got to us, he began waving his hands and giving us a diatribe on polluting his air. He then complained at the front desk we were too close to the doors...the guard came out and asked us to please move so the guy would leave him alone. We did because the poor guard was being browbeaten by the holier than thou jogger.

Posted by: datdamwuf2 | November 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

as a federal employee, we have mnore important things to do then complain about someone elses smoking. shut up and get back to work.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | November 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company