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H.R. 2118, Prohibit Smoking in Federal Buildings

 

STATEMENT OF DAVID BIBB
DEPUTY ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR

OFFICE OF GOVERNMENTWIDE POLICY
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
BEFORE THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

OCTOBER 23, 1997

 

GOOD MORNING, MR. CHAIRMAN, AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE. THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME TO APPEAR BEFORE YOU TODAY TO DISCUSS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S SMOKING P0LICY IN FEDERAL BUILDINGS.

MR. CHAIRMAN, NEARLY ELEVEN YEARS AGO, THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION SET FORTH A P0LICY IN THE FEDERAL PR0PERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS FOR GSA-CONTROLLED BUILDINGS THAT DECLARED THE WHOLE BUILDING NON-SMOKING EXCEPT WHERE DESIGNATED SMOKING AREAS WERE IDENTIFIED BY AGENCY HEADS. CONSISTENT WITH THIS POLICY, SEVERAL OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES, INCLUDING THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, AND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, VOLUNTARILY ISSUED INTERNAL POLICIES BANNING SMOKING IN WORKSPACE OCCUPIED BY THEIR AGENCIES. DURING THIS PROCESS ISSUES WERE RESOLVED THAT WERE RAISED BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC, SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS, UNIONS, AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES RELATING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SUCH POLICIES.

RECENTLY, ON AUGUST 9 OF THIS YEAR, THE PRESIDENT ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DEALING WITH SMOKING IN ALL EXECUTIVE BRANCH FACILITIES. ON OCTOBER 9, 1997, THE GSA OFFICE OF GOVERNMENTWIDE POLICY ISSUED GSA BULLETIN FPMR D-245, TO PROVIDE GOVERNMENTWIDE POLICY GUIDANCE CONCERNING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER SO THAT FEDERAL AGENCIES MAY BENEFIT FROM GSA'S REAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE.

THE PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE ORDER PROHIBITS THE SMOKING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN ALL INTERIOR SPACE OWNED, RENTED, OR LEASED BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTIONS:

?SIGNATED SMOKING AREAS THAT ARE VENTILATED DIRECTLY TO THE OUTSIDE AND MAINTAINED UNDER NEGATIVE PRESSURE.

?SIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATIONS OWNED, LEASED OR RENTED BY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

?RTIONS OF FEDERALLY OWNED BUILDINGS PROVIDED TO NONFEDEPAL PARTIES.

?ACES OF EMPLOYMENT IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR SERVING AS DUTY STATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.

?ERE AN AGENCY HEAD DETERMINES THAT AN EXCEPTION IS NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THE AGENCY MISSION.

WHILE THE PREVIOUS POLICIES DID NOT APPLY TO ANY OUTDOOR AREAS, THE NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER ALSO APPLIES TO OUTDOOR AREAS UNDER EXECUTIVE BRANCH CONTROL IN FRONT OF AIR INTAKES; AND PROVIDES THE HEADS OF AGENCIES WITH THE AUTHORITY TO EVALUATE THE NEED TO RESTRICT SMOKING AT DOORWAYS AND IN COURTYARDS UNDER EXECUTIVE BRANCH CONTROL IN ORDER TO PROTECT WORKERS AND VISITORS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE. I WOULD NOTE THAT THE EXECUTIVE ORDER DOES PROVIDE FOR DESIGNATED SMOKING AREAS, SO LONG AS THEY ARE EXHAUSTED TO THE OUTSIDE, ARE KEPT UNDER NEGATIVE PRESSURE, AND DO NOT POSE SECONDARY SMOKE DANGER TO OTHERS IN THE BUILDINGS.

THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER APPLIES TO ALL EXECUTIVE BRANCH FACILITIES, INCLUDING GSA-CONTROLLED BUILDINGS THAT ARE DELEGATED TO ANOTHER EXECUTIVE AGENCY. HOWEVER, THE EXECUTIVE ORDER DOES NOT APPLY TO BUILDINGS CONTROLLED BY THE JUDICIAL OR LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER POLICY MUST BE ACHIEVED NO LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER AUGUST 9, 1997. ACCORDINGLY, GSA WILL AMEND THE FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS IN THE NEAR FUTURE TO REFLECT THE NEW POLICY IN THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER.

THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION HAS REVIEWED YOUR BILL, H.R. 2118, TO PROHIBIT SMOKING IN FEDERAL BUILDINGS. AS IT PERTAINS TO EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICE FACILITIES, THE BILL ESTABLISHES A STRICT PROHIBITION POLICY ON SMOKING IN THE FEDERAL WORKPLACE, MORE RESTRICTIVE THAN THE ADMINISTRATION'S POLICY AS PROVIDED IN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER AND WITHOUT CONSIDERATION TO THE UNIQUENESS OF PUBLIC BUILDING SPACE, SUCH AS OUTLEASES TO PRIVATE BUSINESSES AND RESTAURANTS. IN THIS REGARD, PRESENTLY WE BELIEVE THAT THE
LANGUAGE IN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER SUFFICIENTLY PROTECTS FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND THE VISITING PUBLIC FROM EXPOSURE TO TOBACCO SMOKE AND, AT THE SAME TIME, PROVIDES THE NECESSARY FLEXIBILITY IN A POLICY OF THIS NATURE. ANY LEGISLATION SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE SUCH FLEXIBILITY.

HOWEVER, GSA IS CONCERNED THAT WE ARE THE NAMED AGENCY TO ENFORCE THIS LAW IN EXECUTIVE BRANCH BUILDINGS SINCE THERE IS NO ENFORCEMENT GUIDANCE PROVIDED IN THE BILL. WE BELIEVE THAT AGENCY HEADS WOULD BE MORE SUITED TO ENFORCE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS LAW.

I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT WE AT GSA ARE FIRMLY COMMITTED TO PROTECTING FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND THE VISITING PUBLIC FROM EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE. ALTHOUGH YOUR BILL HAS THE SAME OBJECTIVE AND EXTENDS TO THE OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, PRESENTLY THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ADDRESSES CERTAIN ISSUES WHICH THIS BILL DOES NOT AND WE WOULD LOOK TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE TO MAKE THIS BILL CONSISTENT WITH THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU AS WE STRIVE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS ENDEAVOR.

AGAIN, MR. CHAIRMAN, I APPRECIATE HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAR BEFORE YOU TODAY, AND I WOULD BE PLEASED TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THE SUBCOMMITTEE MAY HAVE.