While the smoking ban debate in Alabama was heated, nothing got as hot as the statement by state Senator Charles Bishop defending personal rights on private property.
The smoking prohibition bill, which originally would have banned smoking in most public places, including restaurants and bars and places of employment, generated numerous amendments, many based on the right of business and property owners to determine what goes on in their facilities.
While colleagues offered exemptions for private clubs, private homes, and designated hotel rooms, Senator Bishop, a pipe smoker who runs his own company, offered an amendment to allow smoking in offices occupied by only one person.
“When someone can't smoke or have sex in their private office, we're in bad shape,” he said on the Senate floor.
Sensing the reaction to his statement, Bishop said it was only “an attempt at humor, and maybe the wrong kind of humor,” but added that he was serious about the smoking.
The amendment was blocked by the bill's sponsor, Senator Vivian Davis Figures, and her supporters, as was another amendment to exempt family-owned businesses from the workplace smoking prohibition.