OKC Mayor Lauds Plan To Leave Public Smoking Rights Up To Cities

Wednesday, February 6th 2013, 5:21 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Oklahoma City city leaders want the option to ban smoking in all public places including bars. Now Governor Fallin had agreed that the individual cities should have that power.

Last year, a proposed statewide smoking ban didn't even make it out of committee because a single lawmaker, Senator Brian Crain, wouldn't give it a hearing.

4/17/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Lawmaker Kills Smoking Ban Bill

"It didn't seem right for so many people to be working on it and there not be a vote at the legislative level," said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

Mayor Cornett, however, says the city council would welcome a vote on the measure.

That's why he is praising Governor Mary Fallin, who during her State of the State address said she supports a proposal to give local cities and towns local control over tobacco laws.

2/4/2013 Related Story: Governor Calls For Lower Taxes, More Money For Education In State Of State Address

But at Buffalo Wild Wings on Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City, an Oklahoma City smoking ban would snuff out any smoking in the restaurant.

Owner Ed Lynn worries what would happen, if nearby cities didn't do the same.

"There are five Buffalo Wild Wings in the Oklahoma City Metro area in four different municipalities and you could see different rules at different stores within the same system," said BWW Owner Ed Lynn.

Mayor Cornett agrees and has pledged to state officials to work with other nearby municipalities in the region to work together.

"What I would not want to see happen is a series of smoking regulations to be implemented that are different between Oklahoma and Bethany and Edmond and Norman."

Lynn says the Restaurant Association is also against such a proposal.