HR Strange But True!
December 04, 2008

If you are going to break a workplace law, it's probably wise not to do it in front of a state trooper--or a reporter. Iowa First Lady Mari Culver found this out when she was caught smoking in a state vehicle and violating her husband's new smoking ban.

The new Smokefree Air Act, effective on July 1, 2008, and endorsed by Governor Culver, prohibits smoking in most public places and all indoor and outdoor places of employment, which include employer-owned vehicles, as well as all buildings and vehicles owned and leased by the state or its political subdivisions.

According to a report in the Des Moines Register, one of its reporters saw Mrs. Culver, in the state-owned black SUV assigned for her family's use and driven by a state police officer, with her hand out an open window and holding a lighted cigarette. Of course, the story was picked up by several news outlets.

Perhaps Mrs. Culver should know better since she holds a law degree from the University of Iowa and is a founding member of a Des Moines law firm, according to her biography on the state's website (

“Like many Iowans, I have struggled to quit smoking. I successfully quit last year, but unfortunately started again a few months ago,” she wrote. “I did smoke in a state vehicle, which I regret, and I promise that it will not happen again,” said Mrs. Culver in a statement. There was no word at publication time if she would be given a $50 fine.

With the new president-elect admitting that he has been having trouble with his promise to his wife to stop smoking, perhaps Mrs. Culver has a good chance of getting a presidential pardon for her “workplace” violation.

Source: Des Moines Register

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