Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: April 16, 2014
Sen. Frank Simpson
Bill addressing smoking at veterans centers
sent to Governor
The House gave final approval to legislation Wednesday
putting into statute an agreement made in 2013 between the Governor
and the War Veterans Commission addressing smoking in Oklahoma’s
veterans centers. Senate Bill 1777, by Sen. Frank
Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey, will permit smoking by the residents
of the centers until January 2018.
“I again want to thank the Governor, the Secretary of Veterans
Affairs, the War Veterans Commission and the Oklahoma Department
of Veterans Affairs for working together to come up with this plan
that accommodates our veterans who smoke while still being considerate
of the health of the other residents and employees at the centers,”
said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “We have to remember that these centers
are home for these veterans and we wanted to make sure that they
were treated fairly and had adequate time to prepare for the change.”
SB 1777 requires state operated veterans centers to be designated
nonsmoking effective January 1, 2015. At such time, a center may
establish an outdoor designated smoking area for residents only.
All state operated veterans centers must be entirely nonsmoking
by January 1, 2018.
Of the more than 1,400 residents at the center, less than 250 smoke.
Ownbey said the legislation is about fairness.
“This legislation was put together based on discussions we
had with Governor Fallin and several veterans’ organizations,”
said Ownbey, R-Ardmore. “Senator Simpson and I thought it
was unfair to force veterans who are residents at the veterans’
centers to immediately give up smoking. The compromise we worked
out was to give them until 2018. Only residents will be allowed
to smoke until that date at those locations.”
The need for SB 1777 arose after Gov. Fallin banned smoking on all
state property, including the state’s veterans centers, on
February 6, 2012, with executive order 2012-01. On April 13, 2012,
the governor requested guidelines from the War Veterans Commission
for implementation of her executive order but no agreement was reached.
In May 2013, SB 501 was signed into law placing the Governor’s
executive order into statute. However, since no agreement had been
reached between the governor and the War Veterans Commission in
2012, no provisions for the veterans centers were provided in SB
501. SB 1777 reflects the agreement reached in October 2013 between
the Governor, the ODVA, the War Veterans Commission and the Secretary
of Veterans Affairs.
Once signed by the Governor, the new law will go into effect November
For more information, contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607