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New Bill Strikes Out Laws That Protect Smokers' Rights
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-- A new bill could strike out laws that protect a smoker's rights in Oklahoma.
"What's to say that because you smoke, you can't have a job?" said Jason Cole, a smoker.
If Senate Bill 327 passes, an employer could gain the right to turn down job candidates, even fire employees, just because they light up.
"I think it's wrong," said Cole.
Senator David Holt (R-Oklahoma City) wrote the bill, he says with employers required to provide insurance coverage under the President's Healthcare Plan, they should have a right to say no to smokers.
"I think that's entirely justifiable," Holt explained, "because if you're a smoker, you're costing thousands of dollars in health care to that person on average."
Holt says smoking is a choice, and a choice that affects a company's bottom line.
"I don't think it's fair to employers," said Holt, "I don't think it's fair to the free market."
Fox-25 Legal Analyst, David Slane says while the bill could save employers money, they must exercise their best judgment.
"Just because you smoke, doesn't make you a bad employee," said Slane.
Although smokers like Cole argue the bill is discriminatory, Holt says smoking is a choice.
"I understand the addiction," said Holt, "and I understand how hard it is to beat, but there are programs out there and every smoker can make the choice to quit."
Despite Holt's arguments against smokers, Cole says employers should not judge employees based on their use of tobacco.
"You're basing this on your own opinion, your own beliefs,and that's not right," said Cole.
The legislative session begins February 4.
Posted: Sunday, January 20 2013, 09:21 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Teen in devastated Okla. town handing out hugs
May 25, 2013 02:26 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The people of the Oklahoma town where a deadly tornado struck could use just about everything -- cleaning supplies, food, water, shelter.
Thirteen-year-old Halle Carr thought residents of her hometown could also use a hug after the twister Monday that killed 24 people in Moore.
Halle has been standing on a corner with a white sign that reads: "Need a hug? I am here!" And people are taking her up on the offer.
On Friday, people in work trucks, cars and vans loaded with belongings rolled down their windows and reached out their arms to the girl. Some shouted words of encouragement.
Halle said it makes her feel good to spread a little cheer. She said she'll come out every day, as long as she thinks she's needed.
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