Managing Alcohol Sales at Municipal Golf Courses, Country Clubs, or Marinas

This Loss Bulletin is intended to help municipalities reduce their risk of civil liability in connection with offering alcoholic beverages at Municipal Golf courses, Country Club or Marinas.  Understanding current case law and the changes in state regulation of alcoholic beverage sales and acting accordingly should greatly reduce the risk to cities and towns.

On November 8, 2016 the voters of the State of Oklahoma approved a State Question 792 that modified the regulation of alcohol sales throughout the state.  The law was not effective until October 1, 2018 to allow time for transition.  For the most part Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution was repealed and Article 28A was put in its place to govern Alcoholic Beverage Laws and Enforcement.  Under the prior regulations, beer or beverages containing 3.2% or less alcohol by volume were not considered to be alcoholic beverages.  Under the new regulations “alcoholic beverages” are defined as “All beverages that contain alcohol, unless otherwise defined by law, shall be considered alcoholic beverages by this state and therefore governed by this Article and all other applicable laws.”[1]

How does this change affect cities and towns across the state?  While municipal golf courses, Country Clubs, or Marinas in the past have been licensed by a county or a city to sell non-alcoholic beverages (3.2% or lower in alcohol by volume) several have asked how the new law might impact beer sales with a greater volume of alcohol in those beverages. 

Implementing statutes to this Constitutional provision can be found in Title 37  and 37A Okla. Stat. Section 1-101 et seq.  During its second session, the 55th Oklahoma Legislature enacted substantial amendments to Title 37 (Intoxicating Liquors) of the Oklahoma Statutes and added a new Title 37A (Alcoholic Beverages). The enactments from the 2016 Session affected over 400 sections in the Oklahoma Statutes relating to alcoholic beverages, including about 370 sections in Titles 37 and 37A.  Most of these amendments from the 2016 Session were effective on October 1, 2018.[2]

During the 2019 legislative session additional clarifications to the law were made by the passage of Senate Bill 728 which passed with an emergency clause becoming effective upon its signing by the Governor on April 10, 2019.  Among other things, SB 728 provided that an alcohol beverage “licensee may sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption if it meets the classification of a golf course, country club, or marina” [3]

First, it is important to know that cities, as political subdivisions of the State, are prohibited from the retail distribution of alcoholic beverages. [4]  If cities and towns are determined to serve alcoholic beverages at golf courses and other qualifying recreational facilities, then one approach is to consider contracting with an independent contractor to provide that service.  An independent contractor would need to apply with the ABLE Commission for the appropriate license(s) to sell both on premises and off premises if the desire is to sell beer that can then be consumed on the golf course.  The licensing process is somewhat detailed and can be accessed on the ABLE website.[5] Some of the advantages of using an independent contractor to provide wine and beer on the public golf course or another qualifying recreational facility are:  1) requires the independent contractor to navigate the applicable ABLE regulations; 2) requires the independent contractor to properly train and supervise their own employees to ensure proper handling of risks associated with serving alcoholic beverages to patrons[6]; 3) minimizes a town or city’s investment needed to provide this amenity for its patrons.  

Another option for a city or town that would like to serve alcoholic beverages at a city golf course or qualifying recreational facility may be to utilize a public trust of which the city or town is a beneficiary.  A public trust is a separate legal entity than a city or town and thus would not fall within the prohibition of selling alcoholic beverages that applies to a city as a political subdivision.  The license from the ABLE Commission could be held by a Public Works Authority, a Municipal Authority, or other public trust organized under the Oklahoma Public Trust Act. [7]  The licensing process through the ABLE Commission would need to be followed. (see footnote #5).  The land or property upon which the alcoholic beverage dispensing would occur would need to be under ownership, lease or control by the Public Trust and all Trustees of the Public Trust will need to execute the appropriate background investigation documents.  In addition, for OMAG member towns and cities who carry General Liability or Property Damage Policies, under Section VI, Exclusion 14 there is no coverage under those policies for serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages for a charge.[8] 

Should a City or town desire to extend coverage to its public trust that would be involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages at our municipal golf courses or other qualifying recreational facilities, then a special rider or waiver of this exemption would need to be considered.[9] Please contact OMAG if you need additional information or guidance.  The information provided in this bulletin is not intended to be legal advice.  Specific facts and circumstances unique to your town or city should be discussed with your City Attorney for legal guidance. 

 

[1]Okla. Const. Article 28A, Section 1

 [2] OSCN has prepared a table that lists all sections in Titles 37 and 37A affected by the 2016 enactments. This table shows the disposition of all affected sections in Title 37 (amendments, repeals, and renumberings), and it shows the source of all sections added to the new Title 37A. This table should help OSCN users to determine which sections in Titles 37 and 37A have been affected. OSCN Dispositional Table – 2016 Acts Affecting Titles 37 and 37A   (PDF, 21 pages)

 [3] Golf course, Country Club or marina pursuant to the most recently adopted North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). 37A Okla. Stat, sections 2-110 (2), 2-128(2).

 [4] Okla. Const Art. 28A § 8. State and other governing entities prohibited from engaging in alcoholic beverage business

The State of Oklahoma, or any political subdivision thereof, or any board, commission or agency thereof, is hereby prohibited from engaging in any phase of the alcoholic beverage business, including the manufacture, sale, transportation or distribution thereof, at wholesale or retail, and the maintenance, ownership or operation of warehouses or alcoholic beverage stores; except that if the voters of a county in which a state lodge is located approve retail sale of alcoholic beverages by the individual drink for on-premise consumption, and if the State Legislature enacts legislation approving such sales in any such lodges located in any such counties, then such sales are authorized. The Legislature may enact laws restricting the involvement of officers and employees of the state and political subdivisions thereof in the alcoholic beverage business.

Provided, that nothing herein shall prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages legally confiscated as provided by law.

 [5] https://www.ok.gov/able/documents/ABLE%20Form-Beer%20%20Wine%20Application.pdf

 [6] Brigance v. Velvet Dove Restaurant, Inc. 1986 OK 41, 725 P.2d 300 “At common law a tavern owner who furnishes alcoholic beverages to another is not civilly liable for a third person's injuries that are caused by the acts of an intoxicated patron. Such rule is principally based upon concepts of causation that, as a matter of law, it is not the sale of liquor by the tavern owner, but the voluntary consumption by the intoxicated person, which is the proximate cause of resulting injuries, so that the tavern owner is therefore not liable for negligence in selling the liquor.” @301 “We hold today that public policy is better served by holding that the common law principles of negligence are applicable where a commercial vendor for on the premises consumption is shown to have sold or furnished intoxicating beverages to a person who was noticeably intoxicated from which a jury could determine that such conduct creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others who may be injured by the person's impaired ability to operate a motor vehicle. Based upon compelling reasons we, thus, reject the common law doctrine of tavern owner nonliability in Oklahoma.” @305-306.  Oklahoma Courts, since Brigance, have declined to extend the common law modification beyond the factual circumstances of that case, i.e. an innocent third party injured as the proximate cause of the negligence of the commercial server who knew or should have known by their observation that the person being served was too intoxicated to safely operate a motor vehicle. See BATTLES v.  COUGH, 1997 OK CIV APP 62, 947 P.2d 600, Wrongful death action was brought against alleged social host and restaurant for serving alcoholic beverages to motorcyclist subsequently involved in collision that killed passenger. The Court of Civil Appeals, held that the alleged social host was not liable for serving alcoholic beverages to motorcyclist under the facts of that case including there is no duty on vendor to deny service of alcoholic beverages to persons who will or might become intoxicated thereby; evidence that motorcyclist drank three beers and two mixed drinks in one hour and five minutes did not permit inference that restaurant served him alcohol when he was noticeably intoxicated; evidence of loud talking in restaurant by member of group that included motorcyclist also did not permit such an inference.  See OHIO CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. Todd's Tavern et al., 1991 OK  54, 813 P.2d 508.  Question was certified from Federal District Court regarding possible cause of action intoxicated driver had against tavern owner. The Supreme Court held that tavern owner has no liability to intoxicated adult who voluntarily consumes alcoholic beverages to excess and sustains injury as result of his intoxication.  See TEEL v. WARREN, III, et al., 2001 OK CIV APP 46, 22 P.3d 234. Guest brought action against fraternity for personal injuries he allegedly sustained when he was assaulted by fraternity member while attending a party at the fraternity house. The Court of Appeals held that any action by fraternity which violated statute barring the furnishing of alcohol to a person under the age of 21 could not be proximate cause of injuries suffered by guest at fraternity house when 19-year-old fraternity member became intoxicated and assaulted him; fraternity was not commercial seller of alcoholic beverages, but a social host. 37 Okl.St.Ann. § 537; See also SMITH v. TEEL, et al, 2008 OK CIV APP 7, 175 P.3d 960.  Spouse of car passenger killed in collision with vehicle driven by intoxicated patron of restaurant and dance club brought wrongful death action against restaurant, which was a limited liability company, and two of its alleged managers and owners.  The Court of Civil Appeals held that alleged managers and owners could not be personally liable for death of passenger.

 [7] See Oklahoma Public Trust Statutes - Title 60 Okla. Stat. Section 176 et seq

 [8] OMAG MPPP & MLPP Policies – “VI. EXCLUSIONS. We have no obligation to pay nor do we have any obligation to defend any claim against a plan member on account of:  . . . 14. Loss for which any plan member, if serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages for a charge, may be held liable by reason of:   a. causing or contributing to the intoxication of any person; or  b. the furnishing of alcoholic beverages to a person under the legal drinking age or under the influence of alcohol.”

 [9] Thirty-five OMAG members cities have been identified as having properties described as golf courses in the MPPP. Those members in the MPPP using that criteria are: Altus, Ardmore, Blackwell, Boise City, Buffalo, Cedar Valley, Clinton, Edmond, Enid, Fairview, Guymon, Hobart, Hooker, Kingfisher, Lindsay, Medford, Midwest City, Okeene, Owasso, Pawnee, Ponca City, Prague, Pryor Creek, Purcell, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Sayre, Seminole, Shattuck, Stroud, Tahlequah, Walters, Watonga, Wewoka and Woodward.  In addition, any city or town that OMAG provides general liability coverage (MLPP) to that are not afforded property coverage by OMAG has the same exclusions contained in that policy. That portion of the reported expenditures on the forms provided by our members to the State Auditor report expenditures for Culture & Recreation could include expenditures for parks, playgrounds, golf courses, swimming pools, museums, marinas, community music, Drama, celebrations, and zoos.  So, some additional effort would be needed to poll other cities to see if they are anticipating selling alcoholic beverages at golf courses or other qualifying recreational facilities.

 

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Safety Considerations When Using Lawn-Care Equipment

Workers operating riding mowers face serious safety issues. Their employers need to make sure the equipment in use is designed and maintained with safety in mind. Employers must make sure that workers are trained to avoid hazardous surroundings. Finally, the employer must ensure that mowing operations are performed safely.

Employers Must Ensure Equipment Safety

Use and maintain all available safety equipment. Pay attention to the following points:

  • Some riding mowers are designed by their manufacturer to be equipped with a roll-over protective system (ROPS). The ROPS can either be standard or optional equipment.

  • If the mower a worker will be using does not have a ROPS, look for unused bolt holes or brackets near the seat or frame to see if the mower has the capacity to be equipped with a ROPS. Do not operate any mower that was intended to be equipped with a ROPS without the ROPS in place. In many cases, retrofit kits are available. Contact the manufacturer to see if there is a kit for the mower you are using.

  • Mowers with a ROPS should also be equipped with seat belts. Provide and use approved seat belt assemblies on all riding lawn mowers on which a ROPS has been installed.

  • Where vertical clearance does not allow for a ROPS to be in the raised position, the ROPS may be temporarily placed in the lowered position. Also, workers should not wear a seat belt while operating a mower with the ROPS in the lowered position. Return the ROPS to the raised position as soon as the mower is in an area where the vertical clearance allows its use and reconnect the seat belt.

  • Equip riding mowers with an “operator presence control system”. This system shuts off the blades when the operator dismounts the machine or rises out of the seat.

  • Equip riding mowers with interlocks that ensure the engine cannot start while the mower is in gear or if the blade is engaged. Inspect mowers to ensure the “operator presence control system” and all safety features are always in place and operable.

  • Keep riding mowers in good working order, and inspect them periodically for insecurely or incorrectly attached ROPS and seat belts.

  • Mower operators should use a standard checklist to do a general inspection of the equipment before use. For example, the checklist should include checking tire pressure and check for missing or damaged safety guards.

  • Experienced service personnel should inspect mowers for necessary safety features and overall maintenance at least annually. Only qualified personnel should service and repair riding mowers.

While it is essential to have the proper safety equipment in place on riding mowers, you should think of that as just the beginning of your safety program. 

Determining the Safety of the Surroundings 

Employers should be familiar with the conditions of the terrain on which their mowers are being used. They should ensure their workers take the following precautions:

  • Do not operate mowers on slopes that exceed the “angle limits” specified by the manufacturer. Look for a label on the mower for this information or check the owner’s manual.

  • When the manufacturer’s instructions are not available or do not specify the angle limits for operating on slopes, evaluate the terrain and slope conditions to ensure the mower is operated in a safe manner. Avoid mowing on slopes that exceed 15 degrees if there is no other information available.

  • Use a slope indicator, aka clinometer or inclinometer, if you need one. These are used to determine slope angles and can be attached to equipment or used as an application on a mobile device.  There are also printable versions that can be downloaded online.

  • Always remove the key when you are leaving a mower unattended, but never leave mowers unattended on a slope. After turning off the mower, the operator should set the brake, remove the key, and wait to make sure all moving parts have stopped before leaving the area. The operator should not assume moving parts will stop.

  • Do not operate mowers in areas where the drive wheels are within five feet, as measured from the outside wheel edge, of unprotected edges of retaining walls, embankments, levees, ditches, culverts, excavations, or similar locations that present an overturn or roll-over hazard. Use a string trimmer or push mower in these areas.

  • When it is necessary to operate riding mowers near ponds, creeks, lakes, canals, sloughs, golf course water hazards, or similar bodies of water, evaluate the terrain and any slope conditions. Establish a safety zone to ensure the mower is operated at a safe distance from such hazards. 

Training Workers 

Employers are responsible for providing workers with training before they can operate any lawn mowing/landscaping machinery. Training ensures each operator is competent to operate the machinery safely. Training must be provided in a language and vocabulary that workers can understand. Training should cover topics on the safe operation of specific riding mowers and other equipment that worker will be using. Never assume a worker knows how to use a piece of equipment or take their word for it that they know how to use it - train them and make sure they are competent with operating the equipment. Training topics include:

  • A review of all safety devices to ensure that ROPS, guards, seat belts, and shields are securely in place and properly used.

  • The importance of surveying the terrain and picking up hazards before mowing.

  • How to identify obstacles in the mowing path, such as large immovable rocks, man-made hazards like signs and trash receptacles, tree stumps, etc., and areas where the use of riding mowers is prohibited.

  • Reading and understanding the operations, maintenance, limitations, and warning sections of the operator’s manual.

Speed control, steering, and maneuvering such as:

  • Decrease speed when the mower is traveling down slopes or around sharp corners to prevent tipping

  • Be particularly alert when backing up or while operating in low-light conditions

  • Do not mow from side-to-side when operating mowers on unlevel or sloped ground. Always mow slopes in the up-and-down direction.

  • A review of stability and roll-over hazards associated with operating mowers on surfaces, terrain, or areas that could pose a risk. Locations that present a roll-over risk include loading ramps, wet surfaces, slopes, and areas near drop-offs, retaining walls, embankments, streams, bodies of water, unprotected ditches, culverts, and excavations.

  • Employees should be trained to:

    • Use all required personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times: hearing and head protection, safety glasses, work boots, etc. Avoid wearing jewelry and loose-fitting clothing that could be entangled in moving parts, wear long pants.

    • Never carry passengers. Riding mowers are one-person machines.

    • Always start the mower from the driver’s seat. Never start the machine while standing beside it. Keep both feet on the machine at all times while it is running.

    • Never place the mower in motion until the operator is ready. Putting the mower in gear unintentionally could jerk it forward without warning.

    • Never mount or dismount a mower while it is running, as there may be enough space for the operator’s toes to pass under the housing and be struck by the blade. Properly shut down the mower before dismounting.

    • Never stop or start a riding mower suddenly when it is going up or down hill. Avoid all sudden stops, starts, or turns.

The safe operation of a riding mower is similar to the safe operation of a car/truck – drive defensively and expect the unexpected. Employers should train workers to operate the mower as if there were no ROPS in place. A protective structure is not unlimited in its ability to protect the operator, the best safety guard is using your head and making safe decisions.  

Retraining and evaluation are necessary to ensure workers maintain their competency to operate mowers safely. Provide refresher courses to workers when:

  • An operator has been observed operating a mower in an unsafe manner.

  • An operator has suffered and injury or been involved in a near-miss incident.

  • An operator receives a new job assignment that includes operating a mower or machinery with which the operator is unfamiliar.

  • An operator receives a new job assignment that includes mowing on terrain or surfaces that present unfamiliar hazards.

As an administrator or supervisor, it is your responsibility to make sure your employees know the hazards of the job and how to do the job safely. Remember to properly train and evaluate your workers. 

Lawn Mower & Weed Eater Safety

(based on a Loss Control Bulletin from the American National General Insurance Company)

Operating lawn mowers or weed eaters is a necessity for municipalities.  At the same time, they present certain dangers if the operator doesn’t know how to properly operate them or the proper precautions necessary to protect themselves and the people around their work area.

General Safety Precautions

Prior to operating a mower or weed eater, operators should first read and understand the operator’s manual. This will give them a basic knowledge of how the tool works and proper operating instructions. Operators should also take time to consider the appropriate protective clothing. These items include:

  • Ear and eye protection

  • Gloves to protect hands

  • Thick footwear with good traction (approved work boots is preferred)

  • Long pants and long sleeved shirts that are somewhat tight fitting 

Prior to starting the machine, make sure other people and animals are a safe distance away. Next, make sure there are no sticks, stones, wire, or other objects in the lawn that could become projectiles. Inspect the machine to ensure all of the guards, shields, and belts are in the proper place and in good working condition. Fuel equipment cautiously, and make sure the fuel is stored in an appropriate container away from ignition sources. Never attempt to fuel a weed eater while it is running or still hot (Allow 5 minutes for parts to cool down before refueling.) Remember, no smoking while fueling. Keep all body parts away from exhaust areas to prevent burns. 

If you make any repairs or adjustments, make sure the engine is turned off and pull the sparkplug before you begin. If anyone else will be operating the equipment, make sure they have been properly trained and deemed competent to use the machines. 

Mower Safety Precautions 

There are 4 main types of mower accidents of which operators should be aware: overturns, propelled objects, contact with rotating blades, and running over a victim with a riding mower. To help avoid accidents, there are some simple precautions the operator can take.

  • Before engaging the blade, make sure you know how to operate all aspects of the mower. This may include taking a practice run with the blade disengaged first.

  • Never allow passengers on a riding mower. This is true even for larger commercial riding mowers/tractors.

  • When possible, move forward, not backward. Many new mowers have a safety device that disengages the blade when traveling in reverse. If you go backwards pay special attention to potential hazards such as holes, drop-offs, buildings, and other obstacles in and around the mowing area.

  • Never leave the mower running and unattended.

  • Disengage the blade before getting off the machine. Many new models have safety devices that automatically disengage the blade or shuts off the mower when the operator gets up from the seat. Do not disengage this safety device.

  • Turn the mower off and pull the sparkplug wire prior to repairs or maintenance.

  • When mowing on a slope, use caution, slow down, and avoid making sharp turns. It is best to mow steep slopes up and down rather than across the slope on a riding mower. Use a push mower across slopes, never up and down. Never mow a slope that is so steep your tires and feet have no traction.  Use a weed eater if it is necessary to mow that area.

  • Only operate a riding mower from the driver’s seat. Do not attempt to walk beside or behind it and push over difficult terrain.

Weed Eater Safety Precautions

  • When fueling the weed eater, make sure you have the correct fuel mixture. Most weed eaters take a mixture of fuel and two-cycle engine oil.

  • When you start the weed eater, make sure you have good balance and footing. Hold the machine with two hands, and make sure you are in an open area away from other people.

  • The cutting part of the weed eater should never be raised above waist height.

  • The speed of the string should never be faster than what is required to cut vegetation.

  • Do not operate a weed eater in the immediate vicinity of others; debris can fly over 30 feet from your location. Give at least 50 feet when people or pets approach your work area. Stop the machine until they are safely past.

  • Keep in mind it is better to weed eat an embankment or slope, rather than trying to mow it.

  • When you have completed weed eating, let the machine idle a few minutes to cool down before shutting it off.

  • Supervisors must make sure operators understand the machines they are using and are competent in their operation and safety issues.

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Medical Marijuana Unity Bill

House Bill 2612, the “Unity Bill,” passed the House and the Senate and was signed by Governor Stitt into law on March 14, 2019.  The effective date of the new law is August 29, 2019.  This bill clarifies and fills in gaps in the regulatory framework for medical marijuana in the State of Oklahoma.  A number of questions are addressed by the bill, however, there is still discussion at the State Capitol regarding further refinement of the regulatory scheme.  Additional modifications may be made before the legislative session ends in May.  We will update our information as needed after the legislature adjourns.


Governmental officials have been working diligently to solidify the regulatory framework within which medical marijuana allowed by the voters of the state with passage of State Question 788 (SQ788) last summer.  In August 2018, OMAG provided information on its website based on the regulatory efforts of the State Department of Health and others.  These attempts, through regulation, to add details to SQ788 were met with much opposition resulting in some of the earlier efforts being withdrawn.  Since that time, a working group of state legislators and others began meeting last fall to discuss the parameters of legislation that could be sponsored and supported to fill in some of the unknown gaps in the regulatory framework for medical marijuana in the State of Oklahoma. 

This legislative session House Bill 2612, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act, more commonly called the “Unity Bill” was introduced in early February.  The measure passed the House by the end of the month and was introduced in the Senate in early March.  The measure passed the Senate on March 11th and was sent to Governor on March 12th.  Governor Stitt signed the measure into law on March 14, 2019.  The effective date of the new laws is August 29, 2019. 

Provisions contained in HB2612 include the following: 

  • State issued patient or caregiver license only.  Municipal and county governing bodies may not enact medical marijuana guidelines which restrict or interfere with the rights of a licensed patient or caregiver to possess, purchase, cultivate or transport medical marijuana within the legal limits set forth in this act or Section 420 et seq. of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes or require patients or caregivers to obtain permits or licenses in addition to the state-required licenses provided herein.

  • Rights to firearms protected. A medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee shall not be denied the right to own, purchase or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories based solely on his or her status as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee. No state or local agency, municipal or county governing authority shall restrict, revoke, suspend or otherwise infringe upon the right of a person to own, purchase or possess a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories or any related firearms license or certification based solely on their status as a medical marijuana patient or caregiver licensee.

  • Patient or caregiver license holder not subject to prosecution. A medical marijuana patient or caregiver in actual possession of a medical marijuana license shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner or denied any right, privilege or public assistance, under state law or municipal or county ordinance or resolution including without limitation a civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business, occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with this act.

  • Reimbursement as medical expense not required.  A government medical assistance program shall not be required to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana unless federal law requires reimbursement.

  • Statute does not require an employer, a government medical assistance program, private health insurer, worker's compensation carrier or self-insured employer providing worker's compensation benefits to reimburse a person for costs associated with the use of medical marijuana; or

  • Medical marijuana licensee job protections.  No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of such applicant's or employee's status as a medical marijuana licensee; and

  • No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless: a. the applicant or employee is not in possession of a valid medical marijuana license, b. the licensee possesses, consumes or is under the influence of medical marijuana or medical marijuana product while at the place of employment or during the fulfillment of employment obligations, or c. the position is one involving safety-sensitive job duties.

  • Employers are not required to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana on the property or premises of any place of employment or during hours of employment;

  • Statute does not prevent an employer from having written policies regarding drug testing and impairment in accordance with the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act, Section 551 et seq. of Title 40 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

  • An applicant or employee aggrieved by a willful violation of this section shall have, as his or her exclusive remedy, the same remedies as provided for in the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act set forth in Section 563 of Title 40 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

  • "Safety-sensitive" means any job that includes tasks or duties that the employer reasonably believes could affect the safety and health of the employee performing the task or others including, but not limited to, any of the following:

  1. the handling, packaging, processing, storage, disposal or transport of hazardous materials,

  2. the operation of a motor vehicle, other vehicle, equipment, machinery or power tools,

  3. repairing, maintaining or monitoring the performance or operation of any equipment, machinery or manufacturing process, the malfunction or disruption of which could result in injury or property damage,

  4. performing firefighting duties,

  5. the operation, maintenance or oversight of critical services and infrastructure including, but not limited to, electric, gas, and water utilities, power generation or distribution,

  6. the extraction, compression, processing, manufacturing, handling, packaging, storage, disposal, treatment or transport of potentially volatile, flammable, combustible materials, elements, chemicals or any other highly regulated component,

  7. dispensing pharmaceuticals,

  8. carrying a firearm, or

  9. direct patient care or direct child care; and

  • A "positive test for marijuana components or metabolites" means a result that is at or above the cutoff concentration level established by the United States Department of Transportation or Oklahoma law regarding being under the influence, whichever is lower.

  • Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces. All smokable, vaporized, vapable and e-cigarette medical marijuana product inhaled through vaporization or smoked by a medical marijuana licensee are subject to the same restrictions for tobacco under Section 1-1521 of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes, commonly referred to as the "Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Act".

  • Municipal regulatory authority recognized. All relevant local licenses and permits must be issued by the municipality, including but not limited to, an occupancy permit or certificate of compliance.

    • In the event that an applicant has not received the necessary permits, certificates or licenses from a municipality, but the applicant has fulfilled all other obligations required by this act, the Authority shall grant a conditional license. A conditional license shall remain valid for a period of one (1) year or until the applicant obtains the necessary local permits, certificates or licenses. An applicant shall not transfer any medical marijuana, concentrate or products to a medical marijuana business, patient or caregiver until approval is received from the Authority.

    • A licensed medical marijuana business premises shall be subject to and responsible for compliance with applicable provisions for medical marijuana business facilities as described in the most recent versions of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code, the International Building Code and the International Fire Code, unless granted an exemption by the Authority or municipality.

      • No city or local municipality may unduly change or restrict zoning laws to prevent the opening of a retail marijuana establishment.

      • The location of any retail marijuana establishment is specifically prohibited within one thousand (1,000) feet from any public or private school entrance.

Although the Unity Bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the Governor, there continues to be discussion at the State Capitol regarding further refinement of the regulatory scheme.  Until the legislative session ends, normally before Memorial Day, additional modifications to the law could be considered and passed.  The Website will be updated as needed after the legislative session has adjourned.

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2019 Municipal Budget Act Checklist

MUNICIPAL BUDGET ACT ANNUAL CHECKLIST 

IMPORTANT DEADLINES

  •  Before June 1st – Budget Prepared by CEO & Presented to the Governing Body [11 O.S. §17-205]

  •  Before June 16th – Public Hearing [11 O.S. § 17-208]

  • Publish Notice of Date, Time, & Place of the Hearing and the Budget Summary at Least 5 Days Before the Public Hearing [11 O.S. §17-208]

  • Published on the Municipal Website & in a Newspaper of General Circulation [11 O.S. §17-208]

  • Copies of the Budget Available with the Municipal Clerk [11 O.S. §17-208]

  • Before June 24th – Adopt the Budget by Resolution [11 O.S. §17-209(A)]

  • July 1st – Beginning of the Fiscal Year

  • July 30th – Adopted Budget Transmitted to the State Auditor [11 O.S. §17-209(B)]

 BUDGET BY FUNDS & DEPARTMENTS

  • Does Not Apply to Budgeting by Purpose [11 O.S. §17-217-218]

  • Includes a Budget Summary [11 O.S. §17-206(B)(1)]

  • Includes a Budget Message – Explains the Budget and its Important Features [11 O.S. §17-206(B)(2)]

  • Tabular Form for Each Fund, Itemized by Department & Account Showing:

  • Actual Revenues & Expenditures for the Immediate Prior Fiscal Year [11 O.S. §17-206(B)(4)(a)]

  • Revenues & Expenditures for the Current Fiscal Year as Adopted or Amended [11 O.S. §17-206(B)(4)(b)]

  • Estimates of Revenues & Expenditures for the Budget Year [11 O.S. §17-206(B)(4)(c)]

 IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS OF THE BUDGET

  • Resolution That the Governing Body Elects to Come Under the Provisions of the Municipal Budget Act [11 O.S. §17-203]

  • Budgeted Expenditures Cannot Exceed the Estimated Revenues [11 O.S. §17-206(C) & 11 O.S. §17-209(A)]

  • No More Than 10% of any Fund can be Budgeted for Miscellaneous Expenses [11 O.S. §17-206(C)]

  • Expenditures Cannot Exceed 90% of Appropriations for Any Fund Until Actual Revenues Equal to Estimate are Received [11 O.S. §17-211(B)(2)]

  • Determine Needs of the Municipality for Sinking Fund Purposes & Include Those Requirements in the Debt Service Fund Budget [11 O.S. §17-207]

  • File the Estimate of Needs with the County Excise Board (11 O.S. §17-209(B))

  • Budget Shall Present a Complete Financial Plan (Past & Anticipated Revenues & Expenditures) [11 O.S. §17-206(A)]

 FISCAL YEAR REVIEW

  • Submit All Contracts That Require Annual Approval

  • Submit Annual Contract Renewals for Approval

  • Determine if Sales Tax Pledges Need to be Renewed or Appropriated

 BUDGET AMENDMENTS/TRANSFER OF FUNDS

  • CEO as Authorized by the Governing Body May Transfer Unexpected/Unencumbered Appropriations from One Department to Another Within the Same Fund (so Long as no Appropriation for Debt Service or Other Appropriation Required by Law or Ordinance is Reduced by Minimums Required) [11 O.S. §17-215(A)]

  • Governing Body May Transfer Enterprise Funds to Another Fund [11 O.S. §17-215(B)]

  • Governing Body May Transfer Funds When the Necessity for Maintaining a Fund Has Ceased [11 O.S. §17-215(C)]

  • Budget Amendments Must be:

    • Adopted by the Governing Body [11 O.S. §17-216(A)]

    • Filed with the Municipal Clerk & the State Auditor [11 O.S. §17-216(C)]

    • Used for Revenues Received or Not to be Received [11 O.S. §17-216(B)]

    • Used for Unexpended or Unencumbered Fund Balances at the End of the Fiscal Year [11 O.S. §17-216(B)]

    • Used if Insufficient Revenues or Emergency Expenditures to Transfer Funds [11 O.S. §17-216(B)]

    • Also Used to Reduce Appropriations [11 O.S. §17-216(B)]

 CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

  • Ensure Taxes Are Being Levied & Collected for Public Purposes Only [Art. X, Okla Const. §14]

  • Ensure Taxes Levied & Collected for One Purpose Are Not Devoted to Another Purpose [Art. X, Okla Const., §19]

  • Ensure No Appropriations for any Corporation, Association or Individual (No Appropriations for Private Enterprises) [Art. X, Okla Const. §17]

  • Ensure Not Pledging or Loaning its Credit to Any Individual, Corporation, or Association [Art. X, Okla Const. §15]

 REMINDERS

  • Taxpayer May File Protest Against the Levy of Ad Valorem Taxes Within 15 Days  [11 O.S. §17-210]

  • If No Protest is Filed, the Budget & Any Appropriations Thereof Are Legal & Final Unless Amended by the Governing Body [11 O.S. §17-210]

  • Expenditures Incurred, Made, or Authorized Which Exceeds the Fund Balance [11 O.S. §17-211(C)]:

    • Becomes the Obligation of the Officer or Employee

    • Is Not Enforceable Against the Municipality

    • Forfeits Their Office

    • Subject to Civil & Criminal Penalties

    • Expenditure is Void

    • Budget as Appropriated Constitutes an Appropriation for Each Fund [11 O.S. §17-209(C)]

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7 Myths About Dehydration

Myth #1: Dehydration is uncomfortable, but not dangerous.

  • Fact: While most of us will only ever experience mild dehydration symptoms like headache, sluggishness, or decreased urine/sweat output, it can become severe and require medical attention. Serious complications include swelling of the brain, seizures, kidney failure, and even death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Myth #2: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

  • Fact: It’s not too late. In fact, thirst is the body’s way of telling you to drink water, and you are not at risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated the minute you feel parched. When you get thirsty the deficit of water in your body is trivial because your body is a very sensitive gauge. You might actually have only about a 1% reduction in your overall water. The solution is to drink some fluid, preferably water.

Myth #3: Everyone needs to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

  • Fact: This general rule of thumb is outdated, influenced today mostly by bottled water companies. So how much do you need to drink? Men roughly need to drink 3 liters (102 oz.) every day, and women require about 2.2 liters (78 oz.) per day. However, body weight has a lot to do with it. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by 2 and drink that many ounces of fluid per day (example: 200 lbs. = 100 ounces).

Myth #4: Clear urine is a sure sign of hydration.

  • Fact: While keeping an eye on your urine output maybe isn’t the most pleasant summer activity, it really can provide a measure of how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are. But it’s not clear urine that you are looking for, rather a pale yellow. (Dehydration Urine Color Chart)

Myth #5: There is no such thing as drinking too much water.

  • Fact: Over hydrating can be extremely dangerous – but it is relatively rare. Drinking too much water leads to hyponatremia, when levels of sodium in the body are so diluted your cells begin to swell. This usually causes nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion and fatigue, and can escalate to seizures and coma.

Myth #6: Exercise and hard work need sports drinks.

  • Fact: If you are working out for less than an hour, water will do just fine. You don’t deplete electrolyte and glycogen reserves until you’ve been exercising intensely or performing moderate-hard work in heat and humidity for more than an hour.

Myth #7: Coffee, tea, and soft drinks dehydrate you.

  • Fact: Only if you overdo it. While caffeine is dehydrating, the water in coffee, tea, and soda more than makes up for the effects, ultimately leaving you more hydrated than pre-coffee or pop. Consuming more than 3-5 cups of coffee or 40 ounces of soda could put you at risk for dehydration. Just remember to limit your caffeine input, drink in moderation and supplement with good old water. (see 5 Healthy Hydration Tips)

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Using OMAG's SL-RAT - Feedback From 2 Cities That Have Used It

Last Fall, OMAG purchased 3 Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tools (SL-RATs). The reason for the purchase of this equipment was to loan them to our member municipalities to update and develop sanitary sewer maintenance programs. Following are some questions OMAG’s Risk Management Department asked these cities, with their responses. We thought the rest of our member municipalities might like to see what was said about participating in the SL-RAT program. Here are the responses from Jay Neal, City of Durant and Matt Duke, City of Muldrow.

Question: Why did you choose to participate in the OMAG SL-RAT programs

  • Durant: We have an aging wastewater distribution system. We are seeing an increase in the amount of sewer related issues. Having been in my position only 2 years, at that point, I felt it was incumbent upon us to do a “fitness” report on our sewer system. The SL-RAT tool provided the means to do that.

  • Muldrow: We knew we had problems in our collection system and wanted to isolate the problems. We also have inaccurate and outdated prints that do not show all of our manholes, or the manholes were not in the correct location on the prints.

Question: Did the SL-RAT meet your expectations as to its usefulness? If so, how?

  • Durant: It exceeded our expectations. As with all newer technologies, it’s easy to be reluctant to accept its usefulness. However, the SL-RAT proved up to the challenge. Once we figured out its limitations and the best time of day to put it to use, it gave us an accurate picture of our sewer infrastructure and provided the data necessary to analyze it.

  • Muldrow: Yes, we have a great idea on where our problems are and we now have a good working print (map).

Question: What will you do with the information you acquired from using the SL-RAT?

  • Durant: When possible, we are keying in on the lines that were substandard to determine which, if any, need replaced or repaired. If we are able to use it again after we have serviced those lines, we will be able to start trending problem areas and creating work-arounds.

  • Muldrow: We will now be able to jet our problem areas and use the camera we obtained through an OMAG grant to find out why the lines are having problems. We will also be able to make prints of our collections system and have accurate locations of our manholes.

Question: What are some of the positive aspects of using the SL-RAT for improving your sanitary sewer inspection and maintenance program?

  • Durant: The biggest advantage the SL-RAT provides is to afford our department a proactive way to deal with sewer problems instead of putting us in a more reactive posture.

  • Muldrow: We have isolated problem areas that were unknown and eliminated other areas we suspected had blockages. We found that just physically opening all or our manholes was also a great benefit, because we were able to find some that were in need of rehabilitation and sources of I & I.

Question: What, if any were some of the complications you encountered while using the SL-RAT?

  • Durant: There are some variables that you have to contend with when using the SL-RAT. However, these issues are systemic to the environment and less to do with the equipment itself. Satellite hindrances, such as cloud and tree cover, inclement weather, and undulations in the sewer lines that lead to improper or inaccurate ratings did occur. There were a few instances where the two components would not synchronize. Some of those were user error and the others were undetermined in origin.

  • Muldrow: None, it was a very efficient system.

Question: Would you recommend that other Oklahoma municipalities  take advantage of OMAG’s SL-RAT program? What advice would you give them to take full advantage of their time using the SL-RAT?

  • Durant: I would highly recommend that other municipalities take advantage of what the SL-RAT can provide, in regard to their wastewater distribution system. The integration into Google Earth and the ability to export to Microsoft Excel for in depth analysis is worth the price of admission in and of itself. Furthermore, it provides an excellent form of accountability for the department and a quantifiable way of determining problem areas and justifying repairs. As far as advice to other municipalities, I would say, “know the general pulse of your town; meaning, know your off-peak times of the towns sewer usage. The tool will provide a more accurate read during low usage times on your respective lines. Have a dedicated team assigned to this project with little or no distractions to take them away from the project. Have a plan that provides the most coverage possible for the time you will be using the SL-RAT. Lastly, work with your upper management to ascertain their goals for the usage of this product.”

  • Muldrow: Absolutely. This tool gives you a chance to quickly assess what areas of your collection system are needing maintenance and makes you locate manholes that could have been lost over time. I found that having a three-man team made the process move along as quickly as possible. By having two guys working the machines and one in front of them locating manholes and popping lids, we were able to move through town at a quick pace. This tool gave us the same information we had previously paid for, at a fraction of the price.

For more information about the SL-RAT or to schedule having one brought to your municipality to assess your sewer system, contact William Sheppard at (800) 234-9461 ext. 138 or wsheppard@omag.org.

 

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Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac - Myth vs Fact

Myth:                Poison Ivy rash is contagious.     

Fact:                  Rubbing the rash won’t spread poison ivy to other parts of your body or to another person. You spread the rash only by transferring the urushiol oil from the plant to other body parts or individuals.


Myth:               You can catch poison ivy simply by being near the plant.

Fact:                  Direct contact is needed to release the urushiol oil. Stay away from wildfires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc. There is a danger of inhaling the oil into your lungs, which can result in catastrophic consequences.


Myth:                “Leaves of 3, let them be”

Fact:                  Poison sumac has 7-13 leaves on a branch, although poison ivy and poison oak do have 3 leaves per cluster.


Myth:               Do not worry about dead plants.

Fact:                  Urushiol oil stays active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.


Myth:               Breaking the blisters releases urushiol oil that can then spread.

Fact:                  Not true. Wounds can become infected and you may make scarring worse. In very extreme cases, excessive fluid may need to be withdrawn by a doctor.


Myth:               I’ve been in poison ivy many times and never broken out. I’m immune.

Fact:                  Not necessarily true. Upwards of 90% of people are allergic to urushiol oil, it’s a matter of time and exposure. The more times you are exposed the more likely you will break out with an allergic rash. For the first time sufferer, it generally takes longer for the rash to show up – generally 7 to 10 days.


Help to prevent poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac is available. Though there are many products which claim to work, the following product has proven to work for about 95% of people who have used it.

Best practice for preventing Poison Ivy/Sumac: Dawn Dishwashing Soap

Within two hours of working outside around trees and bushes, thoroughly wash exposed body areas with Dawn dish soap and a wash rag. Wash and rinse thoroughly 3 times. Wash down tools and equipment with Dawn and water. Wash your clothing immediately and don’t just throw it in a hamper where it could expose others. Taking time to do these simple tasks will prevent most poison ivy/sumac rashes and reduce the number of claims pertaining to poison Ivy exposures for your municipality.

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6 Things to Consider Before You Jet a Pipe

High-pressure water cleaning systems have become the tool of choice for maintaining sanitary sewer systems, because of their effectiveness in dealing with grease and sludge, along with their ability to partner with pipe inspection cameras. However, before you fire up your jetter and go off to battle underground monsters, there are six things to keep in mind.

1.    What the heck is down there?

  •  Jetters do a great job on soft stoppages like grease, sand sludge, and even ice. However, when it comes to roots, they are not the preferred tool for the job. If you’re not sure what is happening in the line, you can try to send an inspection camera down to take a look, but if the line is blocked you won’t be able to see much. Remember, cameras can’t see underwater any better than you can. So how can you tell what the blockage is?

  •  First, if the line in question has anything to do with food service, there is a better than even chance that grease is the problem. Using your powers of deduction, you can conclude that blockages in lines leading from restaurants, multi-family dwellings, and any kind of institution involving food service (schools, nursing homes) are likely to be made by grease and maybe rags. The same is true if the pipe in question originates in a factory or industrial facility that flushes lubricants, solvents, or any type of organic material down the drain. Also depending on where you are, sand can be a persistent problem.

 2.    Shake, Rattle, and Roll

  •  Does your jetter unit have a way to vibrate the hose while it is in the pipe? The vibration function is used to break up the surface friction between the hose and the pipe, so you don’t get the hose stuck. One of the first things contractors noticed when they invented jetting some 40 years ago, was that when you connect a hydraulic hose and rear facing nozzle to a pressure washer and shove it down a pipe, there is a chance of getting the hose stuck. And anytime that happens it’s the beginning of a long day, because you’re going to need to get the excavator out. That is why every legitimate manufacturer of high-pressure jetters today has a feature that allows you to vibrate the hose while in use.

 3.    Yes, size matters

  •  Are you using the correct size of hose for the pipe, you are trying to clear? Another excellent way to get your hose stuck in a pipe is by using the wrong size hose, which is surprisingly easy to do. When working with high-pressure water, the philosophy is to use the largest hose that will fit into the pipe. This is because hoses with a larger inside diameter don’t have as much pressure loss due to water friction. All things being equal, the larger the hose, the more pressure at the nozzle. The more pressure at the nozzle the easier it is to do the job.

 4.    Check your water

  •  Since high-pressure water is doing the work down the line, it makes sense that you have enough of it. If you happen to be using a large device with a holding tank, such as a trailer jetter, your only challenge is to make sure the tank doesn’t run dry. Most of these units have an automatic shut-off that keeps this you from making this mistake. However, if you are using a jetter that draws water from a garden hose, a little more attention is required. Most municipal and well water systems in North America deliver approximately 5-6 gallons a minute in flow, but it is recommended that you make no assumptions. Get a 2-gallon bucket and measure how much time it takes to fill it. If you’re close, don’t take the chance, because you could accidentally starve the pump of water and cause cavitation. Cavitation is the second most popular way to kill your pump, so pay attention to details.

 5.    It don’t mean a thing if you don’t have that swing

  •  Keep your hose moving. The preferred technique for jetting a line is to work the hose back and forth: push the hose 2 feet forward, then pull it back a foot, then push forward 2 feet and back a foot. The maximum cleaning action comes when you pull back the hose, not pushing it. As you pull back, the angle of water flow exiting the nozzle scours the sides of the pipe, magnifying your cleaning efforts. If you keep the hose moving, you’ll do a better job and do it in less time.

  •  There is another reason to keep it moving. Because of the fluid dynamics of high-pressure water flow, turbulence can cause vortices to form just behind the nozzle when you are doing the job. These vortices, if stationary for any length of time, can suck sand, loose dirt, grease, or sludge in behind the nozzle, causing it to plug up and trap the hose down in the pipe. Getting your hose stuck in the pipe, no matter what the cause, is a bad thing. Digging it up is usually the only viable option. Again, very time consuming.

 6.    Don’t freeze up

  •  Statistically, freezing is the number one way to kill your pump. If you live in a place with four seasons, you’ll find it surprisingly difficult to keep your pump from freezing when you are doing work on a frigid day. The damage can take place before, during, or after the job, and can affect your hose as well as your pump. If your unit has an antifreeze tank, please get in the habit of using it whenever temperatures are close to freezing. If your unit does not have this feature, introduce antifreeze to keep it from freezing when you are driving to and from the job. Just disconnect the hose that runs from the output valve to the hose reel swivel. Then pour antifreeze into the inlet as you start the motor on the unit, which will draw the fluid through the pump. When you notice antifreeze exiting the output valve, turn off the motor. Then, using an air compressor to blow the water out of the hose (remove the nozzle). Make sure this has been done before you drive to the job, and again before going back to the shop. During the job, limit the amount of time the units sits without water flowing through the pump. Turn the unit on frequently, running water through the bypass system to keep it warm. If you make it someone’s job to pay attention to the pump, then you’ll improve the odds of it surviving till spring.

  •  You probably noticed that most of the points can be summarized by “paying attention to what you are doing” and “do your homework”. Jetters are fantastic tools for our industry, able to address most modern sewer line problems better than other tools at our disposal. But, like everything else in life, greater power comes hand in hand with greater responsibility. If you sweat the details, a jetter is an incredibly versatile and profitable tool that can transform your sewer maintenance program.

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Accidents Involving Municipal Vehicles - Do Your Employees Know the Proper Actions to Take?

How does your municipality handle a vehicular accident when one of your employees is involved and operating a municipal vehicle? Being prepared and knowing what to do if this happens BEFORE it happens is key to promoting a successful outcome.

Do you have your employee contact their department supervisor? Police Department?  OMAG would certainly suggest a police report be filed, no matter how minor the accident. 

Do they know how to contact an ambulance service if needed?

Do they provide the information on your insurance verification card to the investigating officer?

Have they been advised to make no statement regarding fault at the scene?

Do they know how to assist the other party with the proper method to file a claim with the city?

If appropriate, do they take photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved?

Are they advised not to make suggestions or recommendations on repair facilities? Making suggestions or recommendations on repair facilities can present uncomfortable situations if that repair facility does not meet the needs of the third party.

These things are very important to be sure that the investigation can be handled correctly. Regardless of whether the city employee feels they are at fault, a thorough investigation should take place to determine liability.  

If you have questions about how to handle a situation like this, or if you need help developing a plan, please contact Underwriting Director Chris Webb at cwebb@omag.org or Member Services Director Dorie Spitler at dspitler@omag.org.

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May 2019 Risk and Safety Newsletter

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