MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

February 19, 2013

State panel approves rejection of health care law

— OKLAHOMA CITY — A state legislator called on his colleagues Tuesday to formally reject federal health care reform, arguing that Oklahoma should add its voice to a growing chorus of opposition to the law.

Legislation from Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, would essentially declare President Barack Obama's health care law unconstitutional and void in the state. Although it would carry little weight, Ritze argued that approval of the measure would add Oklahoma to the list of states showing they oppose the law, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

"Basically it's a political message that's sent to Congress and this government that the states are the master, the federal government is the servant," Ritze said.

He added that his bill is directed at the law's mandate that employers provide birth control coverage in health insurance plans.

The legislation was approved 7-3 by the House Public Health Committee, though several members asked whether the bill was necessary.

Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa, supported the bill but said a House Joint Resolution, which has less legal force, might be better. Other committee members said if the federal law is to be fought, this method wouldn't work.

"The only thing that this is going to accomplish is wasting the time of staff," said Democrat Rep. Mike Shelton, who voted against the proposal. "We need to figure out how to fight this battle a different way."

But Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City, called the bill a matter of religious freedom. She referred to groups that have fought the birth control mandate, including Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby. The arts and crafts retail chain is owned by a Christian family.

"If we can, by making a statement of any sort, throw our support behind those people ... then I'm certainly going to support that," she said.

Ritze's bill originally tried to make enforcement of the federal law in Oklahoma a felony. An amendment removed that portion.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks