It was a busy week for lawmakers at the Oklahoma State Capitol making up ground lost during last week’s winter weather and a Thursday deadline to pass most bills out of their home committee.
The House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee advanced bills on topics ranging from flag burning and protests to chemical castration of people found guilty of rape.
“If you intend to burn a flag then you should get a permit like anything else that you would,” Committee Chairman Rep Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, said. “If you want to burn your leaves, you’ve got a right to burn leaves go get a permit to burn those.”
HB 1644 passing 3-1 with the committee’s lone Democrat present voting no, would require a city or county permit to burn a flag.
“I’m unsure of how to obtain the permit, do they cost money?” Rep. Mauree Turner asked.
“City permits normally cost money,” Humphrey said.
“This is called chemical castration,” Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, said moving on to House Bill 1115.
The bill by West also advanced along party lines makes testosterone depletion drugs voluntary after a first sexual assault conviction, then mandatory after a second conviction.
“When these pedophiles get out of prison, 75% of them get caught and come back,” West said. “With this program, it’s been proven in states that less than 2% come back.”
“Are you worried this could be seen as a violation of the eighth amendment or cruel and unusual punishment or privacy violations due to force medical procedures?” Turner said.
West reiterated he is confident the bill is conditional because the medication has been used in other states.
“Even a 3-year-old knows to get out of the way of a vehicle, off the street,” Humphrey said continuing to HB 1674.
Following protests over the summer like one blocking traffic in Tulsa, the bill by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, passed 3-1 would make it illegal to obstruct traffic during a riot and holds the rioters liable for damages to the vehicle.
“It gives the right to the people who happen to be driving on that street if they feel like they are in danger that they can take measures to get away from that riot,” West said.
The bills are now able to be heard before the full House.