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Town hall meeting heated about SQ 780, 781

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OKLAHOMA CITY - More than 200 people packed into a town hall meeting with a clear message: don’t mess with their vote on State Questions 780 and 781.

“We, the people of Oklahoma, believe that the issues of addiction and mental illness are better addressed through treatment rather than punishment,” said one attendee.

SQ 780 allows certain non-violent drug and theft crimes to become misdemeanors, easing growing problems in prisons.

SQ 781 would apply the savings toward rehab services for inmates in an effort to end drug-related crime.

Senator Ralph Shortey said he is mostly concerned with possession of certain drugs being treated as a misdemeanor instead of a felony, specifically a drug used in date rape.

“If you are caught with a date rape drug, then you should not just get a simple misdemeanor. There is only one reason why you have a date rape drug,” Shortey said.

His second concern deals with proximity crimes or crimes committed near schools, parks or around children in general.

But, most everyone in the room took issue to making any changes to the legislation approved overwhelming by voters.

By the end of the meeting, Shortey was asked to rescind his proposal.