Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 501 into law Monday, giving municipalities and counties the authority to ban smoking on property they either own or control. The bill was written by Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) and Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) and was approved overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate.
Simpson said the bill was resurrected with a committee substitution. The resurrection became necessary after the Oklahoma Attorne y G eneral ’s office ruled a prior law giving the cities and counties the ability to prohibit smoking on their property was unconstitutional. Simpson said the governor’s executive order was also placed in the statute, making it part of the state law.
The bill will affect parks, little league ballparks and similar properties. “It gives counties and communities more control to what happens in their own community,” Simpson said. “It’s a step in the right direction.” Simpson said the Oklahoma Municipal League supported the bill as did several municipalities, which visited him that included Ponca City and Oklahoma City. Senate Bill 629, by both Simpson and Rep. Tommy Hardin (R-Madill) is also on the verge of becoming law. The bill will give the Oklahoma Health Department oversight on inspections at Oklahoma Veterans Centers. Simpson said the house added some amendments and they were looked over in the Senate committee. The bill is going to conference as a formality to adjust a technicality found in committee.