Oklahoma City - Legislation that would ban smoking in state owned and state leased buildings, including the State Capitol, gained the final approval from the Senate today and is now headed to the Governor's desk for consideration.
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 week. Before the bill even progressed to the House, the Senate removed original language that banned smoking in many other public places, including restaurants.
"I'm encouraged that we were able to get this legislation to the Governor's desk. It's been a long battle, and this is a good, strong step in the right direction to promote a healthy environment for Oklahomans to live and work in," said Senator Robinson. "People should be entitled to live and work in areas that are free from elements that could jeopardize their health, including smoke."
If approved by the Governor, 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 bill would ban smoking within 25 feet of any entrance, or fresh-air vent to the building.
"I'm pleased with the cooperation we saw in moving this legislation through the system," said Robinson. "I hope this is the first step toward making Oklahoma a healthier place to live."