Editorial: Fallin joins crusade for local tobacco controls
BY World's Editorials Writers
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
2/06/13 at 7:04 AM
Gov. Mary Fallin has joined the growing chorus of voices supporting the right of cities in Oklahoma to adopt tobacco controls that are stricter than state laws.
Anti-tobacco advocates for years have called for repeal of the so-called pre-emption statute that prevents cities from adopting their own tobacco restrictions. And now, even some city councils have come forward asking for that right, apparently based on the belief they might have a better feel for what their constituents want than someone in Oklahoma City.
City councils in Sand Springs, Oklahoma City, Seminole, Tahlequah, Muskogee, Elk City, Hulbert, Prague, Clinton and Cordell have adopted resolutions asking the Legislature to adopt the local-control measure.
We couldn't help but notice that the Tulsa City Council is not among those seeking local control. What about it, councilors? Don't you think Tulsans might like the right to decide this matter for themselves? Or do you think someone else should decide it for them?
Fallin's support for local control is most welcome, but the measure still faces an uncertain fate (at best) in the Legislature, which in the past has sided with the tobacco industry and those businesses that don't like the prospect of facing different regulations from city to city.
Obviously, dealing with differing ordinances is not that big of a problem because most states do allow cities to adopt their own tobacco restrictions, and that practice doesn't seem to have hurt business.
We applaud Fallin's support of local control, but we still have to reiterate our disagreement with her refusal to expand Medicaid, as called for in the federal Affordable Care Act. Fallin is calling for an "Oklahoma Plan" to address the state's health issues, and local control is one of the elements of her plan, along with measures to address infant mortality and mental-health issues.
She also is calling for a study into alternatives to providing health insurance to those in Oklahoma who need it - many of whom would be covered by the Medicaid expansion she has rejected.
Studying that issue is fine and dandy, but it's probably not going to produce a solution for providing insurance for thousands of Oklahomans. The federal expansion would do just that. It's that simple.
Original Print Headline: Healthy step