Judge denies temporary restraining order on smoking rules

Monday, July 1st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ New rules limiting smoking in public places went into effect Monday despite a legal challenge from a Sapulpa restaurant and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Tulsa-based U.S. District Judge James H. Payne denied a plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order to block the rules.

Freddie's Barbecue and Steakhouse and VFW Post 1320 are suing Gov. Frank Keating and the state Health Department.

Last week, Keating signed the department's rules requiring restaurants with no-smoking sections and seating capacities of 50 or more to enclose and ventilate areas where smoking is allowed.

The rules apply only to food and drinking establishments with no-smoking sections. Those that allow smoking throughout the business or ban smoking altogether are not affected.

The lawsuit claims that Keating and the department lacked the authority to enact the rules and that they violate state law governing smoking in public places.

The restaurant industry has said the rules will be a financial hardship for its members and other affected businesses.

Keating has said they will improve public health.