Bill suggested to stiffen smoking bans

Wednesday, February 6th 2008, 10:06 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

Smoking will be banned in all Oklahoma restaurants and bars if one state senator has his way.

Senator David Myers of Ponca City said the current smoking law has too many loopholes and that's why he's filing Senate Bill 1875.

The senator said it's not just his opinion. In fact, he's backed by several restaurants and bar employees who support the anti-smoking bill.

A law passed in 2003 limits smoking to bars, veteran's halls, and smoking rooms in restaurants, but the senator says second-hand smoke still threatens employees and children who are taken into those smoking rooms.

Chad Bleakley owns VZD's a smoke-free establishment:

"For those bar owners and those who have some hesitation, I can only ensure you, you'll be happy and you're employees will be happier," Bleakley said.

Larry Miller and his buddies are not happy to hear Senator Myers' idea to ban smoking in all workplaces including bars.

"He can't make the decision for all of us; It's one person's opinion," Miller said.

Some argue the law would be bad for businesses who allow smoking inside.  When asked why not put it to a public vote, this was Senator Myers response:

"I don't think it's necessary that we put this to a public vote."

Senator Myers said if passed, he'd be willing to give business owners three or four years to prepare for the new law before enacting it.

Tribal gaming facilities and casinos in Oklahoma are sovereign and would not be covered by the new law.