Less SmokeEven with exemptions from the compromise bill...


April 05, 1995

Less Smoke

Even with exemptions from the compromise bill announced March 28, Maryland has taken a giant step toward safer work places free of involuntary exposure to second hand smoke. Gov. Parris Glendening came out smelling like a rose. He demonstrated real leadership by taking a position that was not politically easy -- because it was the right thing to do.

We know the governor got the best deal he could from this General Assembly, which threatened a veto override.

Marylanders are upset with legislators, primarily because they insisted on including restaurants among the list of exemptions to the smoking regulation. Most Marylanders feel that smoking should not be allowed at all in restaurants, and the record is crystal clear that there is no negative economic impact whatsoever in places where restaurants and bars have gone 100 percent smoke free.

Hundreds of cities and counties, and even whole states (California, Utah, and soon Vermont) have implemented 100 percent smoke free ordinances which include restaurants. Wild predictions of economic calamity made by the tobacco industry have never materialized.

We still have a long way to go to allow thousands of Maryland workers in the food service industry the same basic protections already enjoyed in all judicial and executive facilities.

Joseph Adams, M.D.


The writer represents Smoke Free Maryland.

Save Constitution

There is nothing wrong with the U.S. Constitution that a dose of respectful adherence would not cure.

Federal power has indeed become oppressive. But the fault lies with the federal officials who have over-stepped constitutional limitations and with state leaders and the people who have let it happen.

Let's fix what needs fixing, and leave the Constitution alone.

Danger is lurking in the new proposal designed to create an official Conference of the States. This is a deceitful approach to organizing a constitutional convention (con-con).

There has never been a con-con in the life of the present Constitution, because no one wanted to open up the Constitution for full-scale change or elimination. This is exactly what a con-con is empowered to do.

History shows that the Articles of Confederation were abandoned at a con-con called as a conference of the states. Supposedly, delegates assembled merely to amend the articles.

Rather, that did not happen. Those delegates present in 1787 scrapped the Articles and gave us a whole new Constitution. This is the most nearly perfect document for government in all of history.

Important to note, there are forces in our nation seeking to legalize the many unconstitutional federal usurpations of power already burdening the states and the people.

They have tried for several years to get the state legislatures to call for a con-con under Article V of the Constitution. State legislatures have refused to be pressured into that trap.

The conference of the states is seen by its promoters as a way to skirt the present Constitution's intentionally difficult requirement for a con-con. The organizers aim to persuade 26 state legislatures to pass resolutions of participation calling for the conference.

This is exactly the route taken in 1787 that amounted to a con-con. If this back-door con-con approach is successful, unconstitutional federal power will be made legal through numerous amendments to the Constitution, or even by creating an entirely new supreme law of the land.

The scheme is the handiwork of Utah Gov. Michael O. Leavitt and a quasi-official organization, the Council of State Governments, both past supporters of a con-con. Their plans must be blocked in state legislatures . . .

Douglas J. Knox


Some Democracy

The letter by Shahid Mahmud, "Plight of the Islamic Movement," March 27, is seriously flawed.

The writer bemoans the lack of democracy in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. What he fails to point out is that he would substitute that with the "democracy" of Iran.

Have we so soon forgotten how the "terrible" conditions of Iran under the shah were improved under the democracy which followed?

Marion Friedman


Abortion Costs

Restricting Medicaid funding for most abortions makes the procedure more dangerous and expensive for those women still able to exercise their right to choose.

The Sun's March 16 article on the vote on this issue in the House of Delegates reported without rebuttal Delegate Nancy Jacobs' inaccurate claim that the state cannot prove that limiting Medicaid funding for most abortions results in second trimester abortions. The facts are otherwise, as was stated during the floor debate.

The most recent data show that 28 percent of all Medicaid-funded abortions were performed on an inpatient basis in hospitals, compared to less than 10 percent of non-Medicaid abortions.

Second trimester abortions are far more expensive and dangerous than first trimester abortions. Therefore, they must be performed in hospitals on an inpatient basis which involves higher costs than those for outpatients at either hospitals or clinics.

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