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Cities cannot mandate smoke-free parks, Oklahoma attorney general opinion rules

Publication Date: 2/12/2013
  • Author:Jaclyn Cosgrove
  • Publication:NewsOK.com

Drive to a local city park in Oklahoma, and you might see a sign letting you know you're banned from smoking in that park.

These signs are apparently irrelevant, as are the ordinances they help enforce.

An Oklahoma attorney general opinion released Feb. 5 ruled that cities cannot ban smoking in outdoor areas that they own or operate.

The ruling was based on the fact that Oklahoma's state law bans cities from passing smoking laws that are stricter than state law.

Edmond is one of the many cities across Oklahoma that have passed an ordinance related to smoking in public places. In 2009, the city of Edmond passed an ordinance related to smoking in city parks and playgrounds, Edmond city attorney Steve Murdock said.

“I'm aware of the attorney general's opinion that came out last week, and we're reviewing that as it relates to our particulars ordinance,” Murdock said.

But there's a growing movement to change the state law restricting cities from passing smoke-free ordinances.

Terry Cline, state health commissioner, said Monday that Senate Bill 36 is the single-most important piece of health-related legislation that the Legislature will see in his time as commissioner.

The bill would change state law and allow cities to pass their own smoke-free ordinances...