Oklahoma has a chance to be a leader in a national movement and a local representative is playing a key role in making that happen.
Rep. Justin Wood (R-Shawnee) is pushing a bill in the legislature that would ensure that no state money is going to benefit countries that are state sponsors of terrorism.
The primary target of the bill is Iran.
"When I was approached to author this house joint resolution, I jumped at the opportunity,” Rep. Wood said. “Oklahoma will be a beacon for the rest of the union, choosing freedom and liberty over the almighty dollar."
The bill would not interfere with the free market. However, this legislation would prevent any state contract spending taxpayer money on goods and services from any nation the State Department has named a sponsor of terrorism.
Any current contract would have to be canceled by the end of 2018 and no new contracts would be allowed.
It simply makes sense not to spend taxpayer funds where some of those funds could be used to harm American soldiers, citizens or allies.
“Oklahoma has the unique opportunity to lead where the Federal government has failed,” Wood said. “We have a responsibility to stand up for our friends in Israel and others across the world that live in fear of the possibility of state sponsored terrorist attacks.”
Several other states, like Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Arizona and Colorado are considering similar measures. It is hard to imagine why any state government would enter agreements where the funds could be used to support acts of terror.
This measure makes sure that won’t happen.
Lawmakers protect off-duty officers
Oklahoma lawmakers made headlines with their anti-texting and driving law that went into effect Nov. 1. That bill was passed after one Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper was killed and another seriously injured by a man who sent texts and update social media pages while driving more than 70 miles per hour all the way from Arkansas into the Shawnee area before the fatal crash.
But another bill that helps protect police officers is getting less notice. Thanks to a law that just took effect, assaulting an off-duty officer is now a felony.
Some worry that this law would give off duty offers the freedom to incite altercations and then arrest anyone who engaged them in a confrontation.
I’m sure there are a few anecdotal pieces of evidence of this happening. However, every day, officers face threats from the worst criminals in our society that they will find the officers or their families when the officers aren’t on duty.
This is a problem as old as Allan Melvin on the Andy Griffith Show when he told Barney Fife he would see him later when he didn’t have the badge to hide behind. Barney just stayed in uniform constantly until he finally confronted the man who would become Sam the Butcher on the Brady Bunch.
But today’s officers aren’t dealing with sitcom characters. They stare down gang members and hardened criminals that make our society less safe every day.
Because of their work on duty, we can all sleep better at night. It is the least lawmakers could do to help them rest easier, too.
Hopefully, this law achieves that goal.