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Oklahoma voters to decide whether to approve ban on federal health care mandate

The House of Representatives passes a measure that gives voters the opportunity to change the state constitution to let Oklahomans opt out of the national health care system.

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: May 26, 2010 at 4:25 am •  Published: May 26, 2010
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Oklahoma voters will have an opportunity in November to express how they feel about national health care reform.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives easily approved a measure Tuesday that allows voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would render unconstitutional any law or rule that would require any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.

Senate Joint Resolution 59 won House approval 88-9. Republicans voted 61-0 in favor while Democrats voted 27-9.

It now goes to the secretary of state’s office, which will place it on the Nov. 2 state ballot.

Democratic Gov. Brad Henry earlier this year vetoed a measure to create a state law prohibiting any law or regulation requiring any Oklahoman to have individual insurance coverage. It also would have banned any state resident from being fined for failing to have health insurance. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate failed to muster enough votes to knock out the veto.

Paul Sund, Henry’s spokesman, said passage of SJR 59 "just sets the stage for yet another lawsuit against the state and more unnecessary legal fees for Oklahoma taxpayers.”

"No state has the authority to selectively ignore federal laws of its choosing, and any attempt to do so will be ruled unconstitutional by the courts,” Sund said.