OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A group of protesters were kicked out of the Oklahoma House of Representatives after they disrupted proceedings to object to a slew of bills they called egregious and oppressive to Oklahomans.
“There’s just so much going on in this session that’s wrong and it’s inherently hurtful to the people of Oklahoma and we’re not going to stand for it,” said Adriana Laws, the president and founder of the Collegiate Freedom and Justice Coalition.
Her group organized in the face of what they described as anti-protest bills, like HB 1643, a bill that makes it illegal to film police as they perform their duties, or HB 1674, a bill that protects drivers who hit protestors if they feel threatened. Both of which have been signed by the governor.
“You cannot just run somebody over and it be okay because your justification is you felt you were threatened,” Laws said. “I feel threatened everyday as a black woman in society.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt responded with a statement that said, “We are sending a message today in Oklahoma that rioters who threaten law abiding citizens’ safety will not be tolerated. I remain unequivocally committed to protecting every Oklahoman’s First Amendment right to peacefully protest as well as their right to feel safe in their community.”
But Laws said they were speaking out against other legislation as well, including a bill that would ban transgender athletes from school-age sports teams, and anti-abortion bills, six of which are now on the governor’s desk.
Laws said she and others have tried to communicate their opinions about these bills, but legislators would not engage in conversations, so a disruption like Wednesday’s was their last resort.
“It is our civic duty and our constitutional right to be able to stand up against our oppressor and be able to advocate in our legislature,” Laws said.
KFOR tried to reach out to House leaders on both sides of the aisle for this story. So far, we have not heard back.