Smoking in the outdoor seating areas of Michigan restaurants has been illegal since 2010, but it will be reinstated if a recently introduced bill that is gaining bipartisan support is passed.
House Bill 5159, which was introduced by state Rep. Tom McMillin, a Republican from Rochester Hills, would grant restaurants the choice to allow smoking in an area of the establishment that is less than 50 percent enclosed.
Currently, the bill is being co-sponsored by 10 other Republicans and two Democrats.
McMillin, who is a nonsmoker, told the Detroit Free Press that many bar and restaurant owners have complained that the current outdoor smoking policy is "blatant over-regulation" that removes "the rights of the business owners to make their own rules on their own property."
Supporters of the bill, including McMillin, plan to gather in The Godfather Cigar Martini Lounge in Rochester Hills on Wednesday night.
In May 2010, the state's blanket smoking ban went into effect, prohibiting lighting up in most public businesses, with the exception of casino gaming floors, tobacconists and cigar bars.