OKC leaders criticize state lawmakers over smoking bill defeat
OKLAHOMA CITY – Hypocritical, corrupt and behind the times is how some on the Oklahoma City council described some state legislators.
The criticism comes one day after a proposal for tougher smoking bans was killed at the State Capitol.
“I’m heartbroken,” councilman Ed Shadid said.
Councilman Shadid criticized some lawmakers for accepting tobacco industry money and then killing the bill that would have let cities craft their own anti-smoking laws.
Shadid said, “It makes it difficult to understand, are they owned by someone or just misguided and hypocritical?”
“It’s sickening,” councilman Pete White said.
Councilman White mocked the Oklahoma statehouse for trailing even Mississippi which just recently ratified the 13 Amendment abolishing slavery.
“They may have been slow on slavery but they’re way ahead of use on the smoking issue because they have local control,” White said.
Gov. Mary Fallin also expressed disappointment in the Senate vote.
“The tobacco industry may have won a battle but they didn’t win the war,” Fallin said.
Gov. Fallin kicked off a petition drive to get a new anti-smoking measure put on a statewide ballot by launching a new website, Don’tSmokeOnMe.com.
“Our goal is to give Oklahomans the chance to voice whether they breathe smoke-free air,” Fallin said.
“This is an issue of business rights,” Sen. Rob Johnson said.
Johnson opposed the anti-smoking bill and points out many bar owners had also publicly criticized the bill.
“It had six people voting no,” he said. “That tells me it’s not something the legislature want to consider.”
The governor said she’d like to put the petition on the ballot in 2014 but she admits right now the exact language of the petition hasn’t been drawn up.
Forty-eight states have laws similar to the one the senate committee killed this week.