OK Senate to Dilute Ban
BYLINE: By MICK HINTON, Associated Press Writer
SECTION: STATE AND REGIONAL
LENGTH: 351 words
DATELINE: OKLAHOMA CITY
"It's going to happen," said Senate author David Myers, R-Ponca City.
Myers said only about 120 of the 7,000 restaurants and bars in the state still have the special rooms.
The issue was referred Thursday to an eight-member task force comprised of House and Senate representatives along with others concerned, like the state health department, associations dealing with cancer and lung problems and also bar and restaurant representatives.
Myers said in future years, Oklahoma undoubtedly will join 27 other states in instituting the total ban which is gaining momentum in Texas.
"This bill is not in the form I would like to have seen it, but that is the only way I could get it heard," Myers said later.
There was no discussion during the committee hearing. But Myers said the tobacco lobby obviously prevailed in this issue. He noted that last year, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association took a neutral stance on the bill, but was opposed this year.
A restaurant spokesman said the association did not have time to poll its members on the issue.
A similar bill was introduced in the House, but Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, chairman of the House Public Health Committee, has said he is not inclined to give the bill a hearing because restaurants have made investments in these smoking rooms.