As chairman of the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Brian Crain refused to hear a bill allowing local control of smoking regulations. Crain, R-Tulsa, has argued lawmakers should either debate a comprehensive statewide ban on smoking or nothing, decrying a piecemeal approach.
Yet he then granted a hearing to a bill to legalize the “medical” use of marijuana. That measure failed, with Crain among the opponents.
Crain said he allowed the vote because of the persistence of the bill’s author, Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City.
But advocates of local control of smoking regulations have been pushing the issue for years; supporters include everyone from the governor to health officials to local mayors. In comparison, Johnson is a legislative gadfly. It’s disturbing that a committee chair appears more receptive to the fringes than to than state leaders and the broad Oklahoma electorate.