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Bill hopes to disclose candidates’ criminal past

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OKLAHOMA CITY—After receiving a “D” from a recent study on public information, the Oklahoma Senate announced that it approved a measure that would make sure residents know who they are voting for during election season.

Senate Bill 287 would require additional information, like criminal background, on the declaration of candidacy forms.

Currently, application forms for positions appointed by the governor require far more information than forms required for those seeking public office.

“A citizen seeking gubernatorial appointment for a board or commission has to fill out an in-depth four page questionnaire asking if they’ve ever been investigated or had complaints filed with local, state or federal law enforcement, if they’ve ever been arrested and how it was resolved,” said Sen. Susan Paddack. “But if you are running for office, the form doesn’t ask much more than a candidate’s name, address, age and what office they’re seeking.  I think the public has a right know if that candidate has been in trouble with the law.”

Under SB 287, the declaration of candidacy form would require those seeking office to disclose if they’d ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense or if they were currently named in an outstanding warrant in any state.

They would also be required to disclose additional information about any convictions or warrants.

SB 287 is headed to the House of Representatives for further consideration.