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Oklahoma lawmakers make cigarette companies look like noble heroes…

OOOOk-lahoma, where the absurdity comes sweepin' down the plain.

Earlier this week, R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris – two of the most evil companies in the history of humanity – filed a lawsuit to prevent a recently passed unconstitutional tax disguised as a fee on cigarettes from taking effect.

Yeah, that's right. Things have gotten so bad in Oklahoma that we now have to depend on heroic tobacco companies to hold our elected officials accountable, and make sure they follow the rules set forth in the state constitution. Is this a great state or what?!

Here are the details via KGOU:

Two of the largest tobacco companies in the U.S. are suing Oklahoma over the state’s new cigarette fee.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. filed a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Wednesday, along with several Oklahoma companies and individuals.

In the brief, plaintiffs argue the $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee, or the “Smoking Cessation Act,” “flagrantly violates” the Oklahoma constitution...

The lawsuit argues the cigarette fee should have been passed with a three-quarters supermajority, rather than the simple majority vote it received.

The state constitution requires revenue-raising measures, like tax increases, be approved by three-quarters of legislators.

The suit asserts the cigarette fee is really a tax, and was relabeled only because lawmakers struggled to pass revenue-raising measures requiring three-quarters of lawmakers--76 House votes--to vote in favor.

Tobacco companies are evil, greedy corporations that profit from selling deadly and highly addictive products to consumers, but they have a point here. Even on something as reviled as tobacco, you can't call a tax a a fee just because it's easier to pass and become law. Not to get all slippery slope on you, but if we let lawmakers get away with that, what other taxes disguised as fees will they slap on us? Before you know, I bet we'll have to pay fees that penalize us for not owning guns or going to church.

Anyway, now that the tobacco companies are coming to the rescue, I wonder what's next? Are we going to have to count on drunk drivers and DUI attorneys to protect us from good-hearted but overzealous laws that infringe on our basic rights? The answer is "yes."


It will become illegal for a drunken driving suspect to refuse to take a breath test in Oklahoma if the governor signs a bill passed in the last week of the Legislative session.

Senate Bill 643 also would abolish the civil administrative appeals process that suspects currently use to challenge the revocation of their driver's licenses...

"Without question, it is an overnight death penalty to the constitutional rights of Oklahomans," said Thomas Hosty, a longtime Oklahoma City DUI defense attorney. "It totally vitiates reasonable, administrative due process. ... The lack of due process in this new law is shocking."

Hosty said the proposed law would remove administrative safeguards designed to protect individuals who have be wrongfully accused.

Some attorneys have dubbed the measure the "DUI lawyers retirement bill" because of all the court challenges it is expected to produce, he said, adding it will likely cost the state "millions of dollars in needless litigation."

Court challenges to the way Oklahoma's DUI laws have been administered would be nothing new.

DUI attorneys have repeatedly and successfully changed Oklahoma's administrative appeals process through which Oklahomans can challenge their license revocations.

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety had to return thousands of driver's licenses to drunk driving suspects after the Oklahoma Supreme Court last September upheld a lower court ruling that the gas cylinder and mouthpiece used in breath testing equipment had not been properly approved.

Thank you tobacco companies, drunk drivers, and even glass shops for standing up to the idiots we elect to run this state. You're on the the clock, drug dealers, gang members and registered sex offenders. It's time to step up and help us out.

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