Henry rejects smoking rules

Saturday, May 17th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A set of smoking rules devised by the Oklahoma State Department of Health has been rejected.

Gov. Brad Henry declined on Friday to sign off on the rules, which were the subject of a lawsuit filed last year.

``As I have said before, this issue should be addressed by the Legislature in state law rather than agency rule, and I call on state legislators to move quickly to enact reasonable but tough restrictions on smoking in public places,'' Henry said.

Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie M. Beitsch said he was surprised that Henry refused to sign off on the rules, but said he was glad the governor supported a change in public smoking policy in Oklahoma.

``The good news is that he shares our perspective that this is an important health issue,'' Beitsch said.

The Health Department adopted the emergency rules last year after the legislative session ended. The agency made the rules permanent in hopes Henry would approve the administrative law banning smoking in restaurants.