A federal judge in Oklahoma City is siding with the Comanche Nation in a dispute with the governor's office over the state's tobacco compact with the southwest Oklahoma tribe.
U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron issued a temporary restraining order on Thursday that allows the Comanche Nation to enjoy the same tobacco compact the state has with the Chickasaw Nation. Under that deal, the $1.03 state tax rate per pack of cigarettes is distributed with 70 percent of the revenue to the tribe and 30 percent to the state.
A Tulsa-based convenience store chain is welcoming negotiations on tobacco compacts between the state and Oklahoma tribes.
Gov. Mary Fallin earlier this year rejected a request that the current compacts be extended and instead opened negotiations. Fallin's office says agreements have been reached with seven tribes and negotiations are continuing with 20 others.
QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh calls the previous compact a "debacle" that drove customers away from non-tribal retailers.
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.
Last month, Gov. Mary Fallin announced her plans to support an initiative petition in 2014 to change the way tobacco is regulated in Oklahoma.
“A direct vote to the people is very new, and is a dramatic new tactic to repeal tobacco control preemption in Oklahoma,” said Michael Givel, a University of Oklahoma political scientist and the co-author of the upcoming book Heartland Tobacco War, out this summer.