Link to main pageLink to SenatorsLink to LegislationLink to ScheduleLink to CommitteesLink to PublicationsLink to NewsLink to Staff

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: April 16, 2014

Sen. Frank Simpson
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 1, 2014.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

April Press Releases | Press Releases