Oklahoma Senate passes anti-smoking bill

Wednesday, May 28th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- The state Senate Wednesday passed legislation that places new restrictions on smoking in public places.

Senators voted 36-to-9 for the bill after Senator Ben Robinson of Muskogee said it will protect Oklahomans from the dangers of second-hand smoke.

An opponent, Senator Charles Ford of Tulsa, says the measure will hurt businesses where smoking is allowed.

Under the measure, smoking would be barred in most public places, with a few exceptions, including stand-alone bars, charitable bingo halls and cigar bars.

Restaurants could have a smoking room if it is well-ventilated and enclosed.

The rules won't go into effect until March of 2006. Robinson says the delay arose during negotiations with the Oklahoma Restaurant Association. The wait would give restaurants time to procure a smoking room.