Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oklahoma State Board of Health seeks to repeal pre-emption

No, just no! This move would be absolutely awful, from a property rights viewpoint, especially for Oklahoma bars and clubs that freely choose to be smoking establishments on their own accord, and for the 100-200 restaurants statewide that invested their hard-earned money to accommodate smokers by building physically separate smoking rooms, as allowed by Oklahoma's existing smoking law. How would it be fair for bar and restaurant owners throughout the state to never know when their establishment is suddenly under attack by a local community smoke-free coalition that would violate their property rights?

I remember very well when Illinois passed a law repealing pre-emption for all Illinois communities in 2005, and beyond something like the 15-20 that were permanently exempt from Illinois' pre-emption law passed around 1989/90(?), due to the fact they had some kind of smoking ordinance in place at the time pre-emption passed(including Chicago, Skokie, Evanston, Galesburg, etc.). I only bet if Oklahoma foolishly goes down the path, they'll only end up down the same path Illinois did in whatever number of years it takes to shove this down the throats of Oklahoma bars and restaurants(a total statewide smoking ban with virtually no exceptions, even for bars/clubs and likely casinos. IL casinos are covered by our state ban, since NONE of them are Indian casinos). Not to mention, there's no doubt that the restaurant and bars that'd be under the greatest risk by anti-smoking coalitions would obviously be in the more populated cities, where anti-smoking groups(i.e. ACS, ALA, AHA, but especially the former 2) would especially target city/town/etc. councilmembers to propose comprehensive smoking bans without any exemptions. If you ask me, pre-emption is great, since it ensures private property owners in both the very populated cities and small towns have equal property rights to set their smoking or non-smoking policy in any way they wish, and a vocal minority of anti-smoking zealots(many who let's face it, will never step foot in a bar, EVEN if all were to be theoretically smoke-free on their own without a government mandated smoking ban) aren't able to suddenly take it away from all businesses against their will.

Also, screw Oklahoma lawmakers for passing a wasteful restaurant smoking room rebate program this past summer for any Oklahoma restaurant choosing to eliminate their smoking room, and go smoke-free. Why were Oklahoma lawmakers even wasting their time on this proposal that eventually got the governor's signature this past summer? Not to mention, this will inevitably end up wasting tons of Oklahoma state taxpayer money that this state could've better spent elsewhere.....

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