Oklahoma Senate bill calls for database of people seeking abortions

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Republican state senator has introduced legislation that gives state parents the power to ban books in Oklahoma schools. The law also provides a pathway for parents to collect up to $10,000 as a bonus for each day a book is not removed.

State Senator Rob Standridge (R-District 15) announced mid-December that he had introduced two bills for the 2022 legislative session, which begins in February, to address what Standridge called the “indoctrination of children in classrooms and on college campuses.” The first invoice Senate Bill 1142prohibits public school districts, public charter schools and public school libraries from having or promoting books that deal with the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, classifications based on sex, sexual identity, gender identity, or books that contain content of a sexual nature that a parent or reasonable legal guardian would want to know about or approve of before their child is exposed to it.”

The legislation; “allows the parent or legal guardian of a student who believes a book violates this bill to submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to have it removed within 30 days . If not fired during this period, the employee responsible for removing the book would be terminated or not re-employed, subject to the provisions of due process, and he could not be employed by a public school district or a public charter school for two years. The measure further creates a cause of action for a parent or legal guardian against a public school district or public charter school that violates provisions of the bill, allowing the individual to seek damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs..”

The second invoice Senate Bill 1141“prohibits institutions in the Oklahoma State Higher Education System from requiring students to enroll in any course that is not a core requirement of the chosen program that addresses any form of diversity, d gender, sexual, or racial equality or inclusion beginning with the 2022-23 Academic Year.

The legislation also provides that; “Students could not be financially penalized for choosing not to enroll in such courses. It also prohibits institutions from including or integrating into a course that is a basic requirement for a curriculum certain concepts related to gender, sexual or racial diversity, equality or inclusion. The bill clarifies that its provisions do not prohibit concepts related to gender, sexual or racial diversity, equality or inclusion that align with a degree program focused on the studies of gender, sexual or racial..”

Standridge is a longtime opponent of LGBTQ+ rights in Oklahoma. On July 15, 2015, weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (576 US 644), he said the United States Supreme Court’s stance in favor of same-sex marriage was just the latest example of an out-of-control justice system that has taken aim at traditional American values. He said the decision had “put more nails in the coffin of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights.”

He also supported Oklahoma House Bill 1775, signed by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt last May.

House Bill 1775 prohibits mandatory diversity training for students at Oklahoma public universities regarding gender identity, sexual orientation, racial stereotypes, and sexual stereotyping for students – in the law. HB 1775 is the first piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation that was brought forward by the Oklahoma State Legislature in the last session (2021).

Norman D. Briggs