Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 24, 2012

Roberts Seeks Local Control on Meth Issue

Rep. Sean Roberts
Oklahoma House of Representatives

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Legislation filed by state Rep. Sean Roberts would allow local communities to impose ordinances designed to reduce meth crime.

            House Bill 2802, by Roberts, would allow towns to decide if the meth ingredient pseudoephedrine should require a prescription.

            “This measure would allow communities most affected by meth crimes to directly address the issue locally,” said Roberts, R-Hominy. “By placing control of the issue at the level of government closest to the people, I believe it will soon become clear that Oklahoma citizens truly want us to prevent meth dealers from obtaining pseudoephedrine.”

            Several communities have already attempted to enact similar ordinances, but an opinion issued by the Office of the Attorney General indicated those ordinances would be illegal without a change in state law.

            During comments made at a Tulsa Metro Chamber breakfast today, Roberts noted that the meth problem hurts Oklahoma’s national image and serves as a drag on economic growth.

            “When a business owner sees stories about Oklahoma children dying in meth lab fires, or a child dying in a washing machine because his mother is on meth, or the discovery of a homemade meth lab in a Wal-Mart, it reflects poorly on our state,” Roberts said. “How many business officials see those reports and immediately scratch Oklahoma off their list of potential business sites? Meth crime deters job creation and those who say it doesn’t are kidding themselves. We have to get this problem under control.”

            Roberts was among the lawmakers who voted this week to enact a state law requiring prescriptions for pseudoephedrine products. During debate, he said the bill would save innocent lives, noting the tragic death of 15-month-old Ayden Jennings, who was found dead in a Tulsa duplex last November when firefighters responded to a meth lab fire.

            However, that bill failed committee passage and a similar measure has also died in a state Senate committee.

            Roberts said House Bill 2802 provides a compromise alternative.

            “If you live in the western half of the state where meth crimes have not been a big problem, your local government won’t need to require a prescription for pseudoephedrine products in your community,” Roberts said. “But if you live in an area overrun with meth labs, you will now have the ability to do something about it.”

            House Bill 2802 is scheduled for a vote in the House Public Health Committee next Tuesday, February 28. Roberts urged citizens who support the measure to contact their state representatives and senators.

            “Meth crimes are taking a real toll on our state. Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has predicted our overall crime rate would plunge up to 30 percent if we take this one simple step,” Roberts said. “These criminals are destroying lives and crippling economic opportunity. It’s time we became more aggressive fighting them.”