Tag Archives: ban

Clearing the Air on the Oklahoma E-cigarette War

Kaye Beach

Feb. 11, 2014

Recently I wrote an article for The Oklahoma Constitution on the politics and money behind the e-cigarette bans in our state.

Many credible health experts have also noted a curious imbalance regarding the claims made by some public health advocates about
e-cigarette health dangers. . . .  Judging from the reaction to the sudden spate of prohibitions on vaping in our state, the public t buying the hype either. What most people want to know is,  why are they being banned? Who is being hurt by the use of an electronic cigarette? . . . This innovative technology is not a threat to public health but is a grave threat to the entire multi-billion tobacco industry as it exists today.

. . .You’ll find TSET grant funding everything from OETA to bike racks, but let’s look at the “Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control” incentive grants that are driving the vapor bans.

You can read the article ‘Clearing the Air on the Oklahoma E-cigarette War’ in its entirety  at The Oklahoma Constitution.

Also, you may want to see this rebuttal to the OK. State Dept. of Health’s alarmist e-cigarette advisory. FINAL OSDH rebuttal 2 9 2014

And if you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to The Oklahoma Constitution!


‘Vape Ban Warning’ Issued for 26 Oklahoma Counties

super cell 1

Kaye Beach

Jan. 25, 2014

Feb 11, 2014 UPDATE: On Feb. 10th the TSET apparently decided to revamp their entire website and all of the informative links below were rendered dead.  THANKFULLY the Internet has a very long memory and all links were restored on Feb 11th via The Wayback Machine.


An electronic cigarette or personal vaporizer (affectionately known by its fans as a ‘vape’) is a battery-operated device that heats a liquid containing nicotine (but not always) and various flavors to produce,  not smoke, but vapor, thus eliminating tar and toxins associated with burning tobacco cigarettes.   Thousands of Oklahomans have switched from smoking to vaping, potentially improving their health and longevity.

The good news about this safer alternative to smoking is being clouded by a potent mix of financial and political interests making conditions ripe in 2014 for potentially disastrous vaping bans and other dangerous political phenomena such as unreasonable taxation of vaping products.

Oklahomans should be advised that the political environment may turn treacherous at any moment.

At 4:59  PM CT AxXiom for Liberty’s Nanny State Prevention Service has issued a Vape Ban Warning for the following Oklahoma counties:

vape ban watch

The previous  state-wide Vape Ban Watch is now upgraded to a Vape Ban Warning for these counties.

TSET funds at work

Residents of these twenty-six Oklahoma counties are advised to expect a whirlwind of TSET funded anti-tobacco coalition agitation at the city level, accompanied by media saturation of anti-electronic cigarette propaganda, local political maelstroms, and SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) team activation.

Immediate city level organization is necessary to  protect life and property from dangerous government overreach.

Don’t wait until the vape ban is on top of you – take your  big government precautions now!   

Oklahoma TSET Communities of Excellence In Tobacco Control

Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control FY 13 budget: $6 million (Source: TSET Program Fact Sheet)

A Vape Ban Watch means that conditions are favorable to the formation of e-cigarettes and vaping bans.  85% of Oklahoma has been under the Vape Ban Watch since last fall when the same political influences that threaten areas in 2014 produced damaging bans in Oklahoma communities such as Shawnee, Ada and others.

Sporadic outbreaks of vaping bans and e-cigarettes prohibitions this fall prompted vigilant vapers and other Oklahomans leery of the nanny state  to take action on impending bans.  Oklahoman’s may feel overwhelmed by sudden storms produced by the explosive combination of cold cash and hot air but as the residents of Tahlequah demonstrate, citizen preparedness and quick action can save the day.

Be proactive.  Call your city council member now and tell them that TSET bribes are not a good reason to ban vaping!

Please remain vigilant.  Under normal circumstances, community health coalitions are relatively benign and even helpful entities but when fueled by tobacco settlement funds granted by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these entities can coalesce becoming supercells that produce twisted efforts that can devastate opportunities for Oklahomans to improve their personal health.

tobacco free coalitions TSET

Right now these coalitions are primed to start firing off  Vaping Bans in cities that fall under the 26 county (highlighted in green pg 31-33)Vape Ban Warning area.

Detail is as follows:

These twenty-six Oklahoma counties are part of a ‘Communities of Excellence’ coalition/consortium and are  eligible for TSET Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding for  fiscal year 2014.

In 2014, flush with tobacco settlement cash extracted from predominately low-income smokers, the TSET has doubled the grant funds available to communities as part of the Healthy Communities Incentive Grant for Tobacco Control.

If you live within one of these twenty-six  counties, chances are good that your city will be targeted by one or more TSET funded anti-tobacco groups operating in your area in over the course of this year.  TSET has set aside 4.1 million dollars in 2014 just to fund the anti-tobacco coalitions that you will find agitating for the Vape Bans.  (Page 3 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf )

‘Additional grant money of $42,000 would be granted to Choate’s group as part of TSET’s Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control.

An amount of $200,000 is received annually by her group from the tobacco settlement.

She emphasized that it is not money that motivates them to push ecig ban.’

(Reported by North West Watch http://www.northwestwatch.org/news/speculations-that-money-push-council-to-ban-ecigarettes/)

These health related coalitions work within our communities to promote public health education and policies that many of us welcome and support but the TSET and it’s partners have decided to focus in on eradicating the imaginary scourge of e-cigarettes and are funding the coalitions to be the tip of the spear in this misguided effort.  Given the well established and devastating effects of smoking, redirecting health activists’ efforts away from this and other pressing health concerns can only be described as perverse.

turning point coalition e cigarette

Coalition applicants must develop work plans to address five (required) Core Indicators defined in TSET’s 2014 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control funding. (Page 24 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf)

Required “Core Indicator 1” is a city-wide tobacco-free policy which is defined to include e-cigs/vapor products.

CI red lined

Pg 25 http://www.ok.gov/tset/documents/RFPCXTC_1_Nov_25.pdf

Oklahomans fed up with the ever encroaching nanny-state would do well to inform themselves by spending a little time perusing the TSET’s website http://www.ok.gov/tset/    (Well, not so much now since they have removed MANY public information links!) You should get to know these coalitions that are getting their paychecks and marching orders from TSET while professing to represent ‘the community’ and thus YOU!

Each of the twenty-six  counties eligible for TSET tobacco control grants in 2014 are listed below.  They are linked with their respective TSET funding pages that identifies the lead coalition as well as their most recent yearly and cumulative total TSET funding to date.

End Advisory.
When the political weather heats up, stay tuned to AxXiom for Liberty, we’ll keep you advised.

Gov. Fallin Banishes E-cigs, Promotes Dangerous Drugs Instead

fda approved

Kaye Beach

Dec. 30, 2013

On Dec. 23, 2013 Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order (Executive Order 2013-43) banning the use of e-cigarettes or personal vapor devices on any and all property owned, leased or contracted for use by the State of Oklahoma “including but not limited to all buildings, land, and vehicles owned, leased or contracted for use by agencies or instrumentalities of the State of Oklahoma.”

There are many problems with this approach and as a result a backlash is brewing in Oklahoma.

Many are outraged by the action itself apart from the issue of e-cigarettes entirely. Oklahoma is a decidedly populist leaning state and the public generally frowns upon unilateral, un-deliberated decision making such as the edict issued by Governor Fallin in 2012 banning all tobacco use on state property and her most recent arbitrary addition of e-cigarettes (which contain no tobacco)  to the previous ban. It is also arguable that this executive order exceeds the scope of power of the Governors office.

The order becomes effective on Jan 1st, a mere ten days after the governor issued it and despite the order being announced right before Christmas when it could have been overlooked entirely, it has prompted a cadre of Oklahoma citizens (many of whom neither smoke or ‘vape’) to answer the call for an assembly at the state Capitol on Jan. 1st at 1PM to express their disapproval of her unilateral lawmaking and poor reasoning for issuing the e-cigarette ban.

If you want to know more about this event, follow this link to Snuff Out the BAN! 

As of today about 100 (and rising!) Oklahomans have committed to demonstrating their ire with the Governor by showing up at the Capitol on Jan. 1st.  Some of the participants plan to go as far as actual civil disobedience but all will stand in evidence of their disapproval of the governor’s stroke-of- the pen, unilateral lawmaking.

One thing that makes the e-cigarette prohibitions so politically explosive at this time is that the devices are now used widely enough that many people have had some direct or indirect experience with them and have witnessed the benefits.  We have used the devices ourselves or have friends and loved ones, otherwise hopeless smokers, that have succeeded in reducing or quitting smoking with vapor products where all else has failed.  Many have experienced close contact with vapor users and have appreciated the absence of any noxious odor associated with cigarettes and they have shared the enthusiasm of those that have freed themselves from the health burdens of smoking.  We have asked our doctors about using e-cigarettes and have most often been told that ‘vaping’ is far safer than continuing to smoke.

These alarmist statements being made by our public officials regarding vapor devices directly contradict our own experiences as well as defy common sense and as a result, many are beginning to smell a rat. I don’t know if these officials realize it, but their overwrought reactions to the rise in popularity of these relatively benign vaporizing devices is causing them to lose public confidence and personal credibility.

Fallin’s executive order lays out the reasoning behind the ban.  I find the reasoning weak.   A lot of this has been covered in a rebuttal to the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Public advisory on E-cigarettes which can be accessed here.

One faulty point that Fallin uses to justify the need for a ban is the result of an embarrassing misreading of existing e-cigarette research by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.  Executive Order 2013-43 states that secondary e-cigarette vapor contains formaldehyde.


The actual research that the Oklahoma State Department of Health is basing this claim on (see footnotes for their sources) did show a minute increase in formaldehyde that began when the subjects entered the testing room and BEFORE they even began using the e-cigarette.

In the study cited by OSDH the researchers themselves note that the increase in formaldehyde might be caused by the person in the chamber itself, because people are known to exhale formaldehyde in low amounts”

If you want to know more about this, Dr. Farsalinos, a Greek cardiologist and researcher does a great job covering the actual findings of the German study that Fallin and the OSDH are basing their formaldehyde claims on here

Protecting Public Health?

Governor Fallin, by acting in what may appear to be an overabundance of caution, chose to limit the ability to utilize technology that is already helping thousands of Oklahomans successfully reduce or quit cigarette smoking altogether.  She did this without public discussion or debate and without the input of our elected representatives and she did so even though there is little disagreement among scientists, whether for or against, that ‘vaping,’ is much safer than smoking.

 “We have every reason to believe the hazard posed by electronic cigarettes would be much lower than 1% of that posed by (tobacco) cigarettes . . .if we get all tobacco smokers to switch from regular cigarettes (to electronic cigarettes), we would eventually reduce the US death toll from more than 400,000 a year to less than 4,000, maybe as low as 400.” –Joel Niztkin, MD, MPH, DPA, FACPM, Chair, Tobacco Control Task Force, American Association of Public Health Physicians

As pointed out by The McCarville Report, there is no reason to believe that electronic cigarettes present a public health hazard.  Nevertheless, Governor Fallin implemented this ban under the guise of safety and protection of public health.

Given this fact,  it is interesting to note that implicit in Governor Fallin’s new (and ALL tobacco control) policy that deters smokers from using vapor devices as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, is promotion for pharmaceutical smoking cessation products including Chantix which, unlike e-cigarettes, is actually implicated in some truly dangerous adverse side-effects.

OSDH pushing pharma

(Read the resource page for policy implementation for Executive Order 2012-43 at OK.gov. Promotion of the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline that recommends and provides pharmaceutical smoking cessation products is part and parcel of the policy. http://www.ok.gov/health/Wellness/Tobacco_Prevention/E-cigarettes_and_Other_Vapor_Products/E-cigarettes_and_State_Property/)

Chantix is FDA approved but does that mean it is safe?

The FDA itself warns that this drug can cause serious psychiatric problems, including suicidal thinking.  In addition a wide range of side effects attributed to Chantix have been reported including cardiovascular events, diabetes and renal failure.   Source  In 2009, the FDA approved smoking cessation drug, Chantix, was deemed to require a ‘black box’ warning on the label to alert users to dangerous possible side-effects.

chantix black box

As of March 2012 there were approximately 2,500 lawsuits filed against Pfizer over adverse effects of Chantix.

How does banishing a product like electronic cigarettes that have no indication of significant adverse effects and instead promoting a drug like Chantix protect the public’s health?

What we are finding when we take the time to research the facts about vapor devices and products, is that something is awry.  E-cigarette bans are not in the best interests of public health. Banning them through executive order is an example of poor policy-making that undermines representative government at best and blatant protectionism for established corporate government partners at worst.


Oklahoma SB36 – This is NOT What Local Control Looks Like!

Big Momma Tells a Story

Big Momma Tells a Story

Kaye Beach

Feb. 18, 2013

In my earlier post on this subject yesterday, I urged you to send emails and make calls to the General Government Committee before 10:30 AM Monday Morning.

Oklahoma Action Alert!  Big Momma Gov. Wants ‘Local Control’ SB36

Please do send those emails and make those calls because no matter how you slice it, this bill does not pass muster.

Take for example, the fact that this bill is being sold to us as a “local control” bill.  That sounds great!  We are all for local control right?

Well, Big Momma Gov. knows that, baby!  She knows how your little mind works and thats why Big Momma went and reframed this issue for you in a way that was sure to go down sweet.

Reframing is a nice word.  Since there is no way that casting a FEDERAL INITIATIVE into state law equals LOCAL CONTROL, some might call it a LIE!

Here’s the bottom line;

SB36 is really a FEDERAL INITIATIVE marketed to you as “LOCAL CONTROL”! 

Isn’t that neat?  If your intelligence isn’t insulted, it should be.

federal initiative local control sb36 2

links from graphic

“Healthy People 2020 objective (TU-16) calls for eliminating state laws that preempt any type of local tobacco control law”


Healthy People 2020 State Specific Plans http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/implement/StateSpecificPlans.aspx

Healthy People 2020 Oklahoma Plan http://www.ok.gov/strongandhealthy/documents/OHIP-viewing.pdf

Once again contact the General Government Committee before 10:30 AM and tell them that SB36

-Violates rights of property owners
-Violates consumers right to choose

State standards already protect health of non smokers. (by requiring businesses to install what amounts to a BSL 3 area for smokers.  These are expensive, negative pressure, separate ventilation system rooms for smoking patrons!)


“Private property owners should be free to allow smoking or not.
Those who wish to smoke can patronize places that cater to smokers.
Those who don’t will have places that seek their business. That’s how
the free market works.”
(Hat tip to Rob Abeira from Oklahomans for Individual Rights https://www.facebook.com/OKRights )



Please contact the members of the General Government Committee by email and phone if you can and tell them NO on SB36!


Email grouping for Gen. Gov. Committee

Treat@oksenate.gov; ballenger@oksenate.gov; aldridge@oksenate.gov; Dahm@oksenate.gov; ellis@oksenate.gov; johnsonr@oksenate.gov ; loveless@oksenate.gov; marlatt@oksenate.gov

Phone Numbers

  • Senator Greg Treat – R – Chair   – 405-521-5632 –
  • Senator Roger  Ballenger – D – Vice Chair  405-521-5588
  • Senator Cliff  Aldridge – R – 405-521-5584
  • Senator Nathan  Dahm – R – 405-521-5551
  • Senator Jerry Ellis – D  – 405-521-5614
  • Senator Rob Johnson –  R – 405-521-5592
  • Senator Kyle  Loveless – R – 405-521-5618
  • Senator Bryce  Marlatt – R – 405-521-5626

If you care to watch the General Government Committee meeting where they will debate and vote on SB36, you can do so here http://oksenate.gov/meetingview-511a.htm at 10:30 AM.

Three More Cities Vote to Ban Red Light Cameras

Kaye Beach

Nov. 8, 2012

A little post-election good news for liberty lovers.  3 cities vote to ban the scameras!

From the Newspaper.com Nov. 7, 2012

Tuesday proved to be another bad day for photo enforcement firms as they lost further ground at the ballot box. Questions on whether red light cameras or speed cameras ought to be banned came before municipal voters in California, New Jersey, Texas and Washington state.

Voters in League City, Texas spoke loudest against the use of red light cameras. At the end of the evening, 77 percent of the electorate sent a message to the city council that they wanted the automated ticketing machines removed.

“There is absolutely no doubt now that voters in Texas have resoundingly rejected the entire premise of photo enforcement,” Byron Schirmbeck, director of League City Camera Scam, told TheNewspaper. “Five out of five times that voters in diverse cities and towns have been given a chance to have their say at the ballot box the cameras have been rejected by as much as 77 percent.”

The message was reinforced with photo enforcement foes pulling off a clean sweep against incumbent city council members. Heidi Thiess defeated the number-one camera supporter, Councilman Mick Phalen, and Geri Bentley ousted Councilman Phyllis Sanborn who had voted to approve the camera contract. Todd Kinsey opposes cameras heads to a run off after landing 49.9 percent of the vote against two other candidates for an open council seat.

The most hotly contested battle took place in Murrieta, California where Tea Party activist Diana Serafin worked a continuous, door-to-door campaign to secure enough signatures to put a red light camera ban on the ballot. ATS and arch-rival Redflex Traffic Systems teamed up to defeat her effort, spending heavily on campaign mailers designed to convince people to support photo ticketing. It did not work.

“People told me they don’t believe anything on the five flyers sent out,” Serafin wrote in an email to supporters. “I made sure to tell everyone how much money the camera companies invested to fight me. They spend $105,000 to my $2000!”

Read more

Fifty Bucks or Your Life

Kaye Beach

Oct. 8, 2011



“If we can prevent someone from being killed, that’s the intent,” City Councilman Brad Egbert said.

If it can possibly save one life…then we should do it, right?

Do what?  You are probably wondering.  Well, pass another law outlawing stupidity. In this particular case caring lawmakers want to prevent idiots from walking out into traffic because they are more absorbed in their phones than they are in living.

Never mind the fact that no one has even died from this particular form of idiocy in Rexburg. . it’s .all in the name of safety.   If you are caught risking your life by texting and walking in Rexburg,  prepare to cough up 50 bucks.

I don’t know about you but the desire to avoid being flattened by a vehicle motivates me more than the fear of a fifty dollar fine.  But what do I know?

Small town in Idaho says if you text while crossing a street, you’ll pay a fine.


Men fight for freedom, then they begin to accumulate laws to take it away from themselves.  ~Author Unknown



Stop Reckless Lawmaking-Morgan’s HB 1316

Where is the emergency?

Kaye Beach

March 15, 2011

Rep. Morgan’s bill, HB 1316, banning texting while driving is scheduled to be heard on the House Floor.

Please call your Reps and tell them to vote NO on HB 1316

House Switchboard: (405) 521-2711 or (800) 522-8502

Find your Representative’s email address: http://www.okhouse.gov/Members/Default.aspx (Unsure who your Representative is?  Click here and fill out the form in the lower left corner of the page.)

We should not support this bill because it is simply poor lawmaking.  Read more about why in Oklahoma Legislative Lu Lu’s

The major problems with HB 1316:

HB 1316 is not necessary.  There are already several laws on the books that already cover distracted driving.

  • Minors are already prohibited by law from using their cell phone while driving.
  • Oklahoma law mandates that every driver give full attention to the act of driving
  • Oklahoma law allows law enforcement officers to stop and cite (100 dollar fine) inattentive drivers not limited to the source of the distraction.

HB 1316 is not enforceable and will burden law enforcement

“The bottom line is, we had enough laws on the books to handle the results of bad driving from text messaging, eating a burger or changing the radio station anyway,” Cook said. “And to just keep enumerating new distractions to outlaw don’t really give us any new tools.” –State Police Sgt. Lance Cook, a former traffic law expert 

Law enforcement would be asked to enforce this law while being denied the legal and technological tools necessary to do so. According to law enforcement:

  • The only way to prove that a person was texting while driving is by accessing the data on the cell phone.
  • Without there being some crime committed, officers do not have probable cause to access that data.

Transportation Sec Ray Lahood suggests  “Maybe the police could take the phone when they stop you and see if you were texting,” link

30 states have passed laws specifically banning texting while driving and police are complaining that they have written few if any tickets because law is very hard to enforce.  What police say they are doing instead is issuing tickets for distracted driving, a law that was already in effect before the texting ban was issued. Link.

HB 1316 is incomplete.

  • It will require future additional measures to be implemented in order for law enforcement to have the ability to actually enforce HB 1316 should it become law.

Here is the kind of thinking that knows no limits and produces bills like HB 1316;

“You almost have to put it out of control of the driver,” Rockefeller said. He said there needs to be “some kind of technology the FCC could come up with next week so as soon as you enter your car, texting will be disabled by some electronic impulse. I don’t know how else it gets done.”
This is do-gooder tyranny!  What will they protect us from next?

Fueled by incidents of distracted people stepping — or cycling — smack into vehicular traffic, the legislation would restrict or ban non-motorists from operating their mobile devices while navigating streets. link


Oklahoma 2011 House email addresses:

donarmes@okhouse.gov; garybanz@okhouse.gov; john.bennett@okhouse.gov; lisajbilly@okhouse.gov; gusblackwell@okhouse.gov; mikebrown@okhouse.gov; david.brumbaugh@okhouse.gov; ed.cannaday@okhouse.gov; dennis.casey@okhouse.gov; mike.christian@okhouse.gov; josh.cockroft@okhouse.gov; donnie.condit@okhouse.gov; anncoody@okhouse.gov; mariancooksey@okhouse.gov; dougcox@okhouse.gov; david.dank@okhouse.gov; leedenney@okhouse.gov; david.derby@okhouse.gov; daledewitt@okhouse.gov; joedorman@okhouse.gov; john.enns@okhouse.gov; rusty.farley@okhouse.gov; george.faught@okhouse.gov; will.fourkiller@okhouse.gov; larryglenn@okhouse.gov; randy.grau@okhouse.gov; elise.hall@okhouse.gov; rebeccahamilton@okhouse.gov; tommy.hardin@okhouse.gov; jwhickman@okhouse.gov; weshilliard@okhouse.gov; corey.holland@okhouse.gov; chuck.hoskin@okhouse.gov; scott.inman@okhouse.gov; mikejackson@okhouse.gov; dennis.johnson@okhouse.gov; fred.jordan@okhouse.gov; charlie.joyner@okhouse.gov; sallykern@okhouse.gov; charles.key@okhouse.gov; dan.kirby@okhouse.gov; steve.kouplen@okhouse.gov; guyliebmann@okhouse.gov; james.lockhart@okhouse.gov; scott.martin@okhouse.gov; stevemartin@okhouse.gov; al.mcaffrey@okhouse.gov; mark.mccullough@okhouse.gov; jeanniemcdaniel@okhouse.gov; randy.mcdaniel@okhouse.gov; skye.mcniel@okhouse.gov; jerrymcpeak@okhouse.gov; lewis.moore@okhouse.gov; dannymorgan@okhouse.gov; richardmorrissette@okhouse.gov; glen.mulready@okhouse.gov; jason.murphey@okhouse.gov; jason.nelson@okhouse.gov; tom.newell@okhouse.gov; jadine.nollan@okhouse.gov; charles.ortega@okhouse.gov; leslie.osborn@okhouse.gov; pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov; ronpeters@okhouse.gov; pampeterson@okhouse.gov; anastasia.pittman@okhouse.gov; eric.proctor@okhouse.gov; rcpruett@okhouse.gov; marty.quinn@okhouse.gov; brian.renegar@okhouse.gov; mikereynolds@okhouse.gov; philrichardson@okhouse.gov; mike.ritze@okhouse.gov; paulroan@okhouse.gov; dustin.roberts@okhouse.gov; sean.roberts@okhouse.gov; waderousselot@okhouse.gov; todd.russ@okhouse.gov; mike.sanders@okhouse.gov; colby.schwartz@okhouse.gov; seneca.scott@okhouse.gov; earl.sears@okhouse.gov; tw.shannon@okhouse.gov; mikeshelton@okhouse.gov; bensherrer@okhouse.gov; jerryshoemake@okhouse.gov; jabarshumate@okhouse.gov; krissteele@okhouse.gov; aaron.stiles@okhouse.gov; danielsullivan@okhouse.gov; randyterrill@okhouse.gov; todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov; suetibbs@okhouse.gov; johntrebilcock@okhouse.gov; steve.vaughan@okhouse.gov; emily.virgin@okhouse.gov; purcywalker@okhouse.gov; weldon.watson@okhouse.gov; paulwesselhoft@okhouse.gov; cory.williams@okhouse.gov; harold.wright@okhouse.gov

Legislative Lu Lu Alert! Texting Ban Bill goes to Committee Wed March 3rd

Kaye Beach

Feb 28, 2011

Rep. Morgan’s bill, HB 1316, banning texting while driving will be heard in the Public Safety Committee on Wed. March 3 at 10:30 am at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Room 432A. (Located on the 4th floor of the OK. State Capitol)

Committee meetings are open to the public and present a very good opportunity to see lawmaking in action. (Be warned-the old adage about watching the sausage making does apply!)

We should not support this bill because it is simply poor lawmaking.  Read more about why in Oklahoma Legislative Lu Lu’s

The major problems with HB 1316:

Question? Do we need a law that would make it illegal NOT to read a newspaper while driving?  I’m sure you probably saw someone doing it, and I assure you, it is illegal.  You see, there are already laws against driving while distracted.

HB 1316 is not necessary.  There are already several laws on the books that already cover distracted driving.

  • Minors are already prohibited by law from using their cell phone while driving.
  • Oklahoma law mandates that every driver give full attention to the act of driving
  • Oklahoma law allows law enforcement officers to stop and cite (100 dollar fine) inattentive drivers not limited to the source of the distraction.

HB 1316 is not enforceable and will burden law enforcement

“The bottom line is, we had enough laws on the books to handle the results of bad driving from text messaging, eating a burger or changing the radio station anyway,” Cook said. “And to just keep enumerating new distractions to outlaw don’t really give us any new tools.” link

Law enforcement would be asked to enforce this law while being denied the legal and technological tools necessary to do so. According to law enforcement:

  • The only way to prove that a person was texting while driving is by accessing the data on the cell phone.
  • Without there being some crime committed, officers do not have probable cause to access that data.

30 states have passed laws specifically banning texting while driving and police are complaining that they have written few if any tickets because law is very hard to enforce.  What police say they are doing instead is issuing tickets for distracted driving, a law that was already in effect before the texting ban was issued. Link.

HB 1316 is incomplete.

  • It will require future additional measures to be implemented in order for law enforcement to have the ability to actually enforce HB 1316 should it become law.
  • The additional measures it will take to make HB 1316 a viable law open up a whole other legal can of worms relating to the Fourth Amendment which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure.

In a nutshell, HB 1316 is a cure that is worse than the disease!

HB 1316 is a bad bill.  Please contact the members of the Public Safety Committee and let them know that they should vote NO on HB 1316.

The Members of the Public Safety Committee

Rep. Sue Tibbs, 405-557-7379     suetibbs@okhouse.gov
Rep. Steve Martin, 405-557-7402 stevemartin@okhouse.gov
Rep. John Bennet, 405-557-7315 john.bennett@okhouse.gov
Rep. Ed Cannaday, 405-557-7375 ed.cannaday@okhouse.gov
Rep. Josh Cockroft, 405-557-7349 josh.cockroft@okhouse.gov
Rep. Doug Cox, 405-557-7415      dougcox@okhouse.gov
Rep.Tommy Hardin, 405-557-7383 tommy.hardin@okhouse.gov
Rep. Chuck Hoskin 405-557-7319  chuck.hoskin@okhouse.gov
Rep. Fred Jordan 405-557-7331     fred.jordan@okhouse.gov
Rep. Charlie Joyner 405-557-7314 charlie.joyner@okhouse.gov
Rep. Al McAffrey 405-557-7396      al.mcaffrey@okhouse.gov
Rep. Pat Ownbey 405-557-7326     pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov
Rep. Pam Peterson 405-557-7341 pampeterson@okhouse.gov
Rep. Brian Renegar 405-557-7381 brian.renegar@okhouse.gov
Rep. Paul Roan 405-557-7308        paulroan@okhouse.gov
Rep.Todd Thomsen 405-557-7336 todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov
Rep.Steve Vaughan 405-557-7355 steve.vaughan@okhouse.gov

(To send a group email copy and paste the group below:
suetibbs@okhouse.gov, stevemartin@okhouse.gov, john.bennett@okhouse.gov, ed.cannady@okhouse.gov, josh.cockroft@okhouse.gov, dougcox@okhouse.gov, tommy.hardin@okhouse.gov, chuck.hoskin@okhouse.gov, fred.jordan@okhouse.gov, charlie.joyner@okhouse.gov, al.mcaffrey@okhouse.gov, pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov, pampeterson@okhouse.gov, brian.renegar@okhouse.gov, paulroan@okhouse.gov, todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov, steve.vaughan@okhouse.gov )

Contact House members at 1-800-522-8502, or 405-521-2711

Here is the entire agenda for the Public Safety Committee meeting on Wed.

When: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 10:30 AM
Where: ROOM 432A
1. Welcome and Introductions
2. HB1061 – Motor vehicles; use of flashing red and blue lights – Sanders*
3. HB1229 – Motor vehicles; escort vehicle requirement – Ownbey*
4. HB1235 – Adding pseudoephedrine to Schedule III – Sherrer*
5. HB1255 – Authorizing United States Attorneys to carry firearm under certain circumstances – Rousselot*
6. HB1316 – Motor vehicles; using electronic communication devices while driving – Morgan, Tibbs, Brown, Cannaday, Condit, Denney, Glenn, Liebmann, McDaniel (Jeannie), Pittman, Shumate*
7. HB1352 – Death investigation; next of kin request cause of death – McAffrey*
8. HB1485 – Commissioner of Public Safety attempt to negotiate certain compacts – Roberts (Dustin), Blackwell*
9. HB1637 – Clarifying procedure for serving arrest warrant – Ortega*
10. HB1652 – Concealed handguns; deleting technology center schools from list of prohibited places – Enns*
11. HB1690 – Clarifying who may carry firearms – Russ*
12. HB1796 – Legislative referendum; open carry of firearms – Tibbs*
13. HB1797 – Motor vehicles; commercial driver licenses – Tibbs*
14. HB1849 – Prompt death investigations – Blackwell*
15. HB2087 – Crimes and punishments; concealed carry on college campuses – Terrill*
16. HB2120 – Modifying Corporation Commission duties – Hickman*
17. Other business and adjournment

State Lawmakers Rally to Oppose Photo Enforcement

Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Washington and Virginia legislators consider banning automated ticketing.

In the face on an onslaught by the insurance and traffic camera lobbyists to convince the public that red light cameras and speed cameras save lives, state lawmakers around the country are fighting back.

Representatives in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Washington and Virginia from both the Democratic and Republican parties have noted the lack of effectiveness of automated ticketing machines in their respective states and have proposed severe restrictions or outright bans on their use. Later today, the Virginia House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee will discuss legislation that places a moratorium on further red light camera deployment in the commonwealth.

“No locality shall implement or expand a traffic light signal violation monitoring system on or after July 1, 2011,” House Bill 2327 states.

Read More

Oklahoma Texting and Driving Could Become Illegal

Kaye Beach
Feb 19, 2011
Notice that Officer Craig Murray says that even though the bill has not yet become law, police can cite you for inattentive driving if you are fooling with your cell phone and not paying proper attention  to the task at hand-driving.
So, one more time.  Can someone explain why this new law is needed???
Oh!  I remember now.

Feb 18, 2011
Texting and driving could soon be illegal in Oklahoma. The State Senate will look a bill banning texting and driving for all drivers, regardless of age. 

If the bill passes and you get caught texting and driving twice it could cost you up to $500.

We’ve all heard that texting and driving is dangerous and we can see drivers all around us constantly using their cell phones. 

“Although they are not illegal yet if you do something to cause your attention to an officer then he can stop you and write you a ticket for that,” says Tulsa Police Officer Craig Murray. (Emphasis mine)

Right now in the State of Oklahoma you can get pulled over while you are texting or talking on the phone, but the ticket will read inattentive driving, soon that may change.

You could be fined $175 for a texting and driving ticket.
How hard will it be to enforce for police officers?
“But if someone is down and there head is like this and you can tell that you are doing something or even one handed it’s pretty obvious that an officer is going to be able to determine, yeah you are not paying attention to the road, you are inattentive,” says Murray.
I believe what the officer is alluding to is that while it is not hard to determine that a driver is not paying attention it may be more difficult to determine what exactly the source of the distraction is.  In this most common case, the ticket would still be for inattention.  I will call officer Murray for clarification but one thing is certain-unless we give  law enforcement the ability to access time/date stamp data on the cell phone, in most cases they will be unable to cite the driver for texting.  This opens up a whole new can of worms and will likely require further alterations to existing law.

[. . .]Regardless of if you are reading a text or typing a text you still can get a ticket. It may be an inattentive citation, or if the bill passes, a texting and driving ticket.

Read more

also see Oklahoma Legislative Lu Lu’s or “Lets Play Cell Phone Follies!”

Okla. Texting Ban: The questions we weren’t supposed to ask (but did anyways)

and just for fun!