The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 29, 2014

State knows best?

NORMAN — Oklahoma lawmakers usually take the high road and say local control is the best policy. However, on several issues this session, legislators believe the state knows best.

The tone follows previous rulings that forbid cities and towns from enacting tobacco legislation that is more strict than state law. State health officials have tried to let cities step up anti-tobacco efforts for years.

Legislation forbidding cities and towns from enacting their own mandatory minimum or “living” wages was passed in April. Cities around the country have raised minimum wages to what is deemed a “living wage.”

Lawmakers feared legislation allowing higher wages would be troubling to businesses that have multiple locations throughout the state.

The bill, signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, in April also forbids cities and towns from establishing sick-day or vacation requirements.

An initiative was under way in Oklahoma City to establish a minimum wage higher than the federal wage. It follows a push by President Obama and some Congressional Democrats to seek a minimum wage increase from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour.

Lawmakers also passed legislation that forbids cities and towns to require property owners to register their buildings. Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2620 this past week.

Opponents say it will be a hindrance to cities and towns that are trying to clean up blighted areas. It’s not believed that the legislation will have an impact on Norman’s three unrelated persons ordinance, which is being challenged by a group of property owners.

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