Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`Safety Pays' Ad Campaign OK with AG

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`Safety Pays' Ad Campaign OK with AG

Article excerpt

If the Department of Labor's "Safety Pays" television campaign publicizes its workplace safety consultation services, it is an authorized expenditure of public funds, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Thursday.

But whether the TV ads publicize the consultative services is a question of fact that must be decided by the courts, not an attorney general's opinion, he continued.

Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau said Edmondson's opinion is a reaffirmation that she is performing her duties lawfully. "We always strive to do the right thing," Reneau said. "The opinion is right and our message is right -- safety pays. The request for the AG's opinion was nothing more than a political attack. As long as I'm labor commissioner, this agency will continue to do what's right and in the best interest of wage earners." Sen. Brad Henry, D-Shawnee, had asked the attorney general if the television campaign was a proper expenditure of funds received from the Special Indemnity Fund. Edmondson noted that the senator's request raised the question of whether it was proper for Reneau to appear in the television ads or whether the action violated state ethics rules. The attorney general noted that the question focused on the release of the television campaign during an election cycle in which Reneau was seeking re-election. He expressed no opinion on that issue, however, since the Ethics Commission has primary jurisdiction over interpretation of ethics rules. The ad campaign comprises four television spots chronicling the transformation of an employer's workplace as a result of an employee's on-the-job injury. The ads included statistical information pertaining to work-related injuries and promoted the department's occupational safety and health consultative services. Reneau appeared at the conclusion of each television spot, stating, "I'm Brenda Reneau, your Oklahoma labor commissioner. …

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