Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Monday allowing cities and counties to restrict tobacco use at parks, libraries, golf courses, baseball fields and other properties beginning Nov. 1.
The bill by State Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) and State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) also formalizes Fallin’s executive order issued last year banning tobacco use in state-owned buildings and on state property.
Ownbey says putting the governor’s executive order into statute needed to be done, and local control is something lawmakers always talk about.
“Why should the state be setting those policies when the counties and cities own the properties?” Ownbey says. “Let’s let them do that. They’re close to the people. They can make those decisions.”
Simpson says Oklahomans want to be able to take their children to local parks or Little League fields without having to worry about people smoking or using tobacco in those areas.
“I think it sets a bad example for them if we allow adults to be using tobacco products in the presence of their children,” Simpson says.
Earlier this session, a Senate committee killed a measure that would have let local governments pass stricter tobacco ordinances than what’s currently allowed under state law.
Fallin says she wants to put that question to a vote of the people, and plans to support an initiative petition in 2014.