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Oklahoma

Lawmaker intros bill to ban LGBTQ+ books & offers bounty if not removed

Prohibits school districts from having or promoting books that address the study of sex, sexual identity or gender identity

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State Sen. Rob Standridge Facebook page

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican State Senator introduced legislation that gives parents in the state power to ban books in Oklahoma schools. The law also provides for a pathway for parents to collect up to $10,000 as a bounty for each day a book is not removed.

State Sen. Rob Standridge (R-District 15) announced in mid-December that he had filed two bills for the 2022 legislative session, which begins in February, to address what Standridge characterized as “the indoctrination of children in school classrooms and on college campuses.” The first bill,  Senate Bill 1142, “prohibits public school districts, public charter schools, and public school libraries from having or promoting books that address the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, gender identity, or books that contain content of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know about or approve of before their child was exposed to it.” 

The legislation; “allows a student’s parent or legal guardian who believes a book violates this bill to submit a written request to the school district superintendent or charter school administrator to remove it within 30 days. If not removed during that time, the employee tasked with the book’s removal would be dismissed or not reemployed, subject to due process provisions, and he or she could not be employed by a public school district or public charter school for two years. The measure further creates a cause of action for a parent or legal guardian against a public school district or public charter school that violates the bill’s provisions, allowing the individual to seek monetary damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and court costs.” 

The second bill, Senate Bill 1141, “prohibits institutions within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education from requiring students to enroll in a course that is not a core requirement of their chosen curriculum addressing any form of gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion curriculum beginning with the 2022-23 academic year.”

The legislation also provides that; “Students could not be financially penalized for choosing not to enroll in such courses. It also prohibits institutions from including or making part of a course that is a core requirement for a degree program certain concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion. The bill clarifies that its provisions do not prohibit concepts related to gender, sexual, or racial diversity, equality, or inclusion that align to a degree program focused on gender, sexual, or racial studies.”

Standridge is a long time opponent of LGBTQ+ rights in Oklahoma. On July 15, 2015, a couple of weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, (576 U.S. 644), he said the U.S. Supreme Court’s position in upholding same-sex marriage was just the latest example of an out-of-control judiciary that has taken aim on traditional American values. He said the ruling has “put more nails in the coffin of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights.”

He also backed Oklahoma House Bill 1775, signed by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt last May.

House Bill 1775 prohibits mandatory diversity training for students in Oklahoma’s public universities regarding gender identity, sexual orientation, race stereotyping and sex stereotyping for students – into law. HB 1775 is the first piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation that has been advanced by the Oklahoma state legislature the last (2021) session.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools begin requiring ‘biological sex’ affidavits for sports

The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” restricts transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity

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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (Screenshot/YouTube)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The state of Oklahoma began enforcement of the law Monday that requires sports teams in the state’s public schools and including colleges or universities be designated solely based on athletes’ “biological sex,” or sex assigned at birth.

Republican Governor Kevin Stitt in March signed into law Senate Bill 2, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which restricts transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.

In early July, NBC Oklahoma City affiliate KFOR-TV reported that some school districts were beginning to distribute “biological sex affidavits” to student athletes to enforce the law.

An activist tweeted a picture of one school district’s affidavit:

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma City township gay mayor resigns citing homophobic threats

In his letter of resignation, he wrote that some of the alleged harassment stemmed from an incident between himself and Nichols Hills police

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Adam Graham/Twitter

THE VILLAGE, Ok. – The openly Out gay Mayor of this enclave city of 9,564 residents, surrounded by Oklahoma’s capital city, sent a letter to its city manager Monday informing him that the Mayor was stepping down immediately.

According to now former Mayor Adam Graham in a tweet accompanying his letter of resignation, “For almost five years, I’ve proudly served The Village as Councilmember and Mayor. It’s been an honor to serve and it’s been my great privilege to break boundaries. I no longer feel safe to serve in my capacity here. It’s with a heavy-heart that I tender my resignation.”

In his letter Graham cited escalating homophobic threats including ones indicating violence, his property vandalized, and his discomfiture with the situation in the community.

The city’s largest daily newspaper, The Oklahoman, reported The Village City Manager Bruce Stone, to whom Graham’s letter was addressed, did not return The Oklahoman’s phone calls, but city officials confirmed via phone Monday that Graham had resigned.

In his letter of resignation, Graham wrote that some of the alleged harassment stemmed from an incident between himself and Nichols Hills police. Graham did not respond to the paper’s request for an interview.

Nichols Hills Police Chief Steven Cox told The Oklahoman he has not heard from Graham regarding the incident, which Cox said happened during a traffic stop initiated within Nichols Hills city limits. The vehicle being pulled over drove a few blocks before stopping in The Village city limits, Cox said.

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Oklahoma

Multiple victims in shooting at Tulsa hospital; Gunman ‘Down,’ police say

Police say a man with a rifle entered a local hospital in Tulsa, Okla., and shot multiple people. The shooter is down.

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Screenshot via NBC News

UPDATED from The Associated Press:

A man who blamed his surgeon for ongoing pain after a recent back surgery bought an AR-style rifle hours before opening fire at a Tulsa medical office, killing the surgeon and three other people before fatally shooting himself, police said Thursday.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin says the gunman had recently undergone back surgery and had called a clinic repeatedly complaining of pain. Franklin says the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Preston Phillips, was killed Wednesday, along with another doctor, a receptionist and a patient.

Original Story:

TULSA, Ok. – Four people were killed Wednesday afternoon after a shooting at a doctor’s office in Tulsa. A fifth person believed to be the suspect, died by suicide after a shooting at a medical complex a Tulsa Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple media outlets Wednesday evening.

Officers were called to the Natalie Building, located in the area of 61st Street and Yale Avenue, at St. Francis Hospital regarding a man armed with a rifle.

“This turned into an active shooter situation,” a Tulsa police captain said in a released statement.

“Officers are currently going through every room in the building checking for additional threats. We know there are multiple injuries, and potentially multiple casualties,” the spokesperson said.

KOTV-DT News 6 Tulsa reported that a representative from Governor Kevin Stitt’s office says he has talked with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum to express his condolences and offer any state resources that may be needed.

The White House notified reporters that President Biden has been briefed on the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The White House is closely monitoring the situation and has reached out to state and local officials to offer support.

This is a developing story.

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