Public Official Ad Bill Stalls in Committee

By Price, Marie | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Public Official Ad Bill Stalls in Committee


Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD


A bill that would prohibit the use of a public official's or employee's name, face or voice in any type of advertising or promotion scheme using public funds stalled on a 15-15 vote in the House Rules Committee Thursday after several members questioned whether it might ban some public-service efforts.

Rep. Debbie Blackburn, D-Oklahoma City, said the committee substitute for her House Bill 1481 contains an exception that would permit the governor to appear in television commercials for the State Tourism and Recreation Department, if they are broadcast out of state, and to have the governor's picture on state maps.

Violations would be a misdemeanor. Rep. Richard Phillips, R-Warr Acres, asked whether the bill would prohibit the appearance of Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers in public service campaigns promoting use of seat belts. Blackburn said it would apply in such cases, because troopers are state employees. She said the same would be true of the state insurance commissioner appearing in"buckle-up" ads. Some members asked whether the measure would block lawmakers from talking about issues with the press. "It would not prohibit interviews or anything like that," Blackburn replied, "just promotional spots." When Rep. Betty Boyd, D-Tulsa, pointed out that her business sometimes requires her to appear on camera, Blackburn said that would not be affected, as it does not involve the use of public funds. …

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