Oklahoma Republicans pass bill to protect drivers who hit protesters

A pickup drives through a group of protesters who shut down Interstate 244 during a rally May 31 in Tulsa, Okla. The march was to mark the anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 and to protest the death of George Floyd, who was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer.

In a rare, early-morning vote, Republican lawmakers in the Oklahoma House approved legislation to grant immunity to drivers who hit protesters.

On a party-line vote Wednesday, the House passed a bill that grants civil and criminal immunity for drivers who unintentionally injure or kill protesters while “fleeing from a riot.”

House Bill 1674 from Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, is just one of a handful of GOP-sponsored bills in the Oklahoma Legislature this year designed to crack down on protests

The bill came under fire from legislative Democrats who said the Republican majority was looking to lash out at protesters instead of taking steps to address systemic racism and police misconduct that have spurred widespread Black Lives Matter protests.

Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa, called the bill draconian and accused legislative Republicans of intentionally bringing the measure up for the vote around 12:30 a.m., after more than 14 hours of voting on legislation, in order to avoid public scrutiny. 

Source: USA Today – Breaking News

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