The Norman Transcript

Headlines

February 19, 2013

Local control denied

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma Senate panel snuffed out efforts Monday to allow cities to enact stricter smoking bans, despite strong support from the governor and state health officials.

The Senate General Government Committee voted 6-2 against the proposal that was endorsed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin in her State of the State address. The legislation would have allowed local governments to adopt stricter smoking ordinances than state law. Currently, municipalities are prohibited from having more restrictive smoking policies.

“This is a victory for tobacco lobbyists and the tobacco industry,” Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said in a statement. “It’s a defeat for the state of Oklahoma and anyone who cares about improving our health. Moving forward, Gov. Fallin will be pursuing alternative measures aimed at reducing deaths and illnesses caused by smoking and second hand smoke.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Ardmore, said legislation was about local control. But opponents argued it was unfair to businesses that had spent tens of thousands of dollars complying with current state law that allows, for example, separately ventilated smoking rooms in restaurants.

“I wish nobody would smoke. Everybody knows it’s not good for you,” said Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Kingfisher. “But this is not about local control. This is about taking away the rights of businesses.”

According to a website that tracks political contributions from tobacco-related groups and lobbyists, Johnson has received more than $10,000 in campaign contributions from such interests since 2004, the most of any state lawmaker. But Johnson said those contributions have “absolutely nothing to do with” his opposition to the bill, and that many of those donations came from contract lobbyists who represent multiple clients.

Each member of the committee, with the exception of freshman Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Tulsa, has received at least $250 in contributions from tobacco-related interests, according to the website. Dahm was among those who opposed the bill.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food

    What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....

    July 22, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • 18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured

    Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...

    July 22, 2014

  • New AP program to begin in Norman

    NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....

    July 22, 2014

  • Rebels release train with bodies from jet

    HRABOVE, Ukraine — Bowing to international pressure, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gaza death toll passes 560

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A high-level attempt by the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state to end deadly Israel-Hamas fighting was off to a rough start Monday: Gaza’s Hamas rulers signaled they won’t agree to an unconditional ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Moore City Council paves way for Sam’s Club location

    MOORE — The Moore City Council approved a $5 million bond Tuesday to be repaid with sales tax and utility revenues. “A good amount of street improvements needs to be done,” Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said. “This will be paid for with ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Perry sending Guard troops to border

    AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally. ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Better weather to aid in fire fight

    SPOKANE, Wash. — Calmer winds and cooler temperatures were allowing firefighters to go on the offensive Monday against a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles of terrain in Washington State and is the largest in ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gay, transgender workers gain U.S. bias protection

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees who work for the federal government or for companies holding federal contracts, telling advocates he embraced the “irrefutable ...

    July 22, 2014