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Smoking bill erupts in battle at the Capitol


OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill aimed at regulating smoking fails to pass the Oklahoma State Senate.

This week that set off a war of words between members of the Oklahoma City Council and those elected to serve at the State Capitol.

In this case, one lawmaker from Tulsa dictated how Oklahoma City regulates itself.

That’s why several city leaders, both Republican and Democrat, called the state senate an embarrassment and a blight on the state’s reputation.

Restricting the right to light up sparked the house bill at the heart of the controversy.

The bill would grant city’s the power to curtail smoking.

“What I saw this as was another attempt to curtail individual liberties,” Republican Sen. Brian Crain said.

As a result, before the bill even reached the senate floor, Crain singlehandedly killed the idea by refusing to let it come up for a vote in his committee.

“All we’re asking for is what they want all the time, more local control. They say they’re for it but they don’t mean it,” Oklahoma City councilman Pete White said.

White and several other Oklahoma City councilmen see the smoking bill death as the latest in a long line of troubling decisions being made at the State Capitol.

“This is just another embarrassing action from our state legislature,” OKC councilman David Greenwell said.

“I mean, how many times have we been on TV for some crazy law we’re trying to get passed,” White said.

In the last two weeks alone, we’ve been nominated for the stupidest state on the HBO show Real Time.

The state’s “Personhood” bill has also been mocked on The Daily Show.

“If you’ve watched that and you’re not embarrassed, I don’t know what to tell you,” White said.

“Every legislator I know, Democrat and Republican, is here to make Oklahoma a better place,” Crain said.

One councilman even suggested it may be time to call for a Constitutional Convention to revise the senate rules.

Only two states in the country don’t allow cities the power to regulate where people can smoke, Oklahoma and Tennessee.