Oklahoma City - Legislation banning smoking in state owned and state leased buildings, including the State Capitol, was signed into law by the Governor today, making the new restrictions effective July 1st, 2002.
Senate Bill 1553, authored by Senator Ben Robinson (D-Muskogee) and Representative Ray Vaughn (R-Edmond) passed in the Senate after the House approved a committee substitute earlier this month. Before the bill even progressed to the House, the Senate removed original language that banned smoking in many other public places, including restaurants.
"This is a big step in the right direction for a healthier Oklahoma. I'm thrilled that we were able to get this legislation to the Governor's desk for his signature," said Robinson. "It's been a long battle, but well worth the fight. People should be able to live and work in areas that are free from elements that could jeopardize their health, including smoke."
Under the new law, people will only be allowed to smoke in public buildings inside a designated smoking lounge that is ventilated to the outside using negative pressure and an isolated ventilation system. Also, the law now bans smoking within 25 feet of any entrance, or fresh-air vent to the building.