Senate Committee Kills Drug Bill

Tuesday, April 11th 2017, 6:54 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A bill that some lawmakers think gives the state too much power and overturns the will of the people is DOA.

House Bill 1122 was created in response to a DUI bill last session that showed that some offenders would be caught drinking and driving in different towns but only be charged as first-time offenders because those towns weren’t sharing information.

What House Bill 1122 would have done is make sure that drug convictions are reported statewide.  

The bill would have required all drug cases, except marijuana possession, to be heard in a court of record, like Oklahoma City or Tulsa city courts, or in county courts but not municipal courts.

“We are basically wiping out any sort of local control and the state legislature is taking complete control of this, is this what this language said?” said Sen. Kay Floyd, D-District 46.

“This bill is making sure that we have a criminal record so that supervision does occur,” bill author Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-District 6, said.

Opponents say the bill would also reverse some of the principles of State Questions 780 and 781, which voters passed last November to reduce the prison population by lowering the penalties for some offenses.  

Sen. Julie Daniels, R-District 29, said "voters didn’t understand what they were voting for.”

“There seems to be an attempt to try and fix what may be a problem where voters may not have known the full implications of this state question but we’re going to live with that,” she said.

When asked if the bill modifies the provisions of 780, Brecheen replied,  “I appreciate the opportunity to try to drive a wedge on the issue but I don’t believe we’re going against the intent of 780 with this bill.”

In the end, the vote was tied 5 to 5, killing the bill in committee.  

“For a legislature that talks so sincerely about local control this bill flies in the face of that,” Floyd said.