OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A group is working to get State Question 816 on the ballot. They’re hoping to overturn a law giving immunity to drivers who run over protesters if the driver fears for their life.
The petitioners are gathering signatures, hoping to overturn HB 1674, which would take effect in November.
“I believe there is not enough consensus on this subject for us to allow that decision to stand, and that’s why it should go on the ballot,” Joshua Harris-Till, State Director of the ‘No on 816’ campaign, said.
To get on the ballot, petitioners have to get 59,320 signatures by Aug. 26. That’s 90 days after the legislative session ended.
The 59,320 required signatures comes from five percent of the votes cast for the governor in the last election.
Harris-Till says his motivation to do this comes after a time when he was trying to separate protesters from a car trying to get through an intersection.
“That moment right there reminds me that when someone does decide to run over somebody, it’s not going to be the agitator, or rioters, or somebody who’s breaking the window, it’s going to be somebody like me who’s in the front, trying to keep the peace, trying to keep everything orderly, trying to make sure there is not a difficult situation,” he said.
The bill’s author, Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, says it’s the right of citizens to challenge laws and thinks the results could go either way.
“I one hundred percent support the way everything is set up here in Oklahoma,” he said. “It is a pretty high bar to get a law overturned. We’ll see if that will happen or not.”
He also says it’s a misconception that drivers can just run over anyone.
“If a case like this were to happen, whoever the district attorney is for that area would review all of the evidence and make a determination if it was justified or if it wasn’t justified,” West said.
Gov. Kevin Stitt said when the bill was signed, “We sent a message that Oklahoma will not tolerate rioters who threaten the safety of law-abiding citizens.”
If the group gathers enough signatures to get the State Question on the ballot, it could go up for vote in November 2022.