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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.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma bill would ban trans adults transition healthcare

Republican State Senator David Bullard’s Senate Bill 129 would to ban all gender reassignment surgeries for people under 26 years old

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Oklahoma State Senator David Bullard (R-Durant) (Photo Credit: Official Oklahoma state senate portrait)

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Republican Oklahoma State Senator has introduced a bill that would ban healthcare and transitions for transgender adults in their late teens into their early 20s.

Republican State Senator David Bullard’s Senate Bill 129 would to ban all gender reassignment surgeries for people under 26 years old. Bullard is telling media outlets most medical intervention for transgender people violates the Physician’s Hippocratic Oath, which requires doctors to do no harm. [It’s] “a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” the senator said.

“We want to make sure that if we’re going to do a procedure like this that is irreversible, then we want to make sure an individual is at their full maturity when it comes to cognitive development,” Bullard said.

The Oklahoman reported Bullards’ Senate Bill 129, makes it illegal for doctors to provide “gender transition procedures” to anyone younger than 26. The bill includes exceptions for individuals with ambiguous biological characteristics, those with abnormal hormone development, people who have been injured by a previous gender transition surgery, or those in imminent danger of death or impairment because of a physical disorder, injury or illness.

The bill also prohibits direct or indirect use of public funds for gender transition procedures.

Oklahomans legally become adults at 18, and the law places few age-based restrictions after this point. So why 26 years old?

“At the age of 18, you can vote but a vote is not a permanent change in your body that cannot be reversed,” Bullard told The Oklahoman. “At the age of 21 you can drink, but at the end of the day if you decide to put the alcohol down, you can put the alcohol down. But with this surgery, there is no going back.”

The American Medical Association has taken a stance on the availability of gender-affirming care for individuals. On the group’s website, the AMA said it “supports everyone’s access to quality evidence-based health care regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”

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Oklahoma

Tulsa donut shop firebombed after hosting LGBTQ+ event

The shoppe had recently sponsored an art exhibition The Queens Dirty Dozen; An art installation run by drag queens

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City Glass by J&B replacing smashed front door in arson case (Photo Credit: The Donut Hole Tulsa/Facebook)

TULSA, Ok. – Tulsa Fire Department arson investigators are looking for a person of interest caught on a Ring.com door cam smashing a hole in a glass door and tossing a Molotov cocktail into a donut shop earlier this week.

Screenshot/Youtube News On 6/KOTV

The surveillance video shows a person placing a letter that investigators said contained anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on the door of a neighboring business, then uses a bat to smash through the glass door. The person then lights the arson device and tosses it through the hole. Tulsa Fire officials told local News On 6/KOTV that the damages to ‘The Donut Hole‘ shoppe were fortunately minimal.

The shoppe had recently sponsored an art exhibition The Queens Dirty Dozen; An art installation run by drag queens. This had caused the business to be vandalized in a previous incident according to the shoppe’s Facebook page.

Sarah Swain, the owner had the front door and windows smashed and her register and electronic equipment stolen the first incident. In a Facebook post Swain noted:

“We had the privilege of being able to be a part of the vision of The Queens Dirty Dozen; An art installation donut shop run by drag queens. The event was an enormous success with over 500 guests attending, and an overwhelming reaction of laughing, jokes, fun and good times were had by all.

Unfortunately, there was also a reaction of hate and we were the victim of somebodies malicious acts. But in ones attempt to rain on our parade, the community answered by showing overwhelming support. From the GoFundMe that was started by Queens Dirty Dozen, goals were surpassed in less than one hour.

Repairs will be made and all extra proceeds will be given to the Tulsa Equality Center to help spread acceptance, tolerance and love. These malicious acts have resulted in thousands of dollars going towards the cause this entire event was meant to support. Love wins.”

Sarah Swain, owner The Donut Hole (Photo Credit: GoFundMe campaign)

The GoFundMe campaign was extended to cover the damages from the firebombing/arson attack.

The local business association, Brookside Business Association, reacted in a statement:

“Over the last few weeks, right here in Brookside, we have watched as a destructive anger has played out against one of the businesses in our district.

Overnight, The Donut Hole was vandalized for the second time in just a matter of weeks. This time, instead of just breaking out glass, the perpetrator threw a Molotov cocktail through the broken glass in an attempt to destroy one of our local businesses.

We are heartbroken.

This type of action does not represent who we are as Tulsans. This irresponsible and reprehensible behavior is destructive and only sends a message of divisiveness and hate.

No matter in what ways we may disagree with others, violence will never be the right response. We, as a business association representing Brookside, unconditionally and unequivocally, condemn these destructive actions and behaviors.

As a community made up of mostly family-owned and small businesses, the Brookside Business Association stands against those in our city who wish to do harm or cause fear. We believe that there is no place for violence or hurtful acts based on differences in our personal beliefs at any time, or in any place.

Our Brookside Business Association stands united against violent displays of anger of any kind, especially aimed at business in our community.

Today, we call for unity and peace. We call for a stop to this targeted vandalism and seek to bring understanding and wholeness back to our community.

We believe that our differences make us stronger together than any of us could ever be on our own.

May these differences unite us instead of divide us as we work to create a better, safer tomorrow.”

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Oklahoma

Bill banning funds for “gender transition” at OU Children’s signed

The requirement OU stops providing gender reassignment or affirming care to minors was signed Tuesday by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt

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Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt (Screenshot/YouTube)

OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure that provides $39 million in funding for OU Children’s Hospital that stipulates the money appropriated will not be transferred without OU meeting the requirement OU stops providing gender reassignment or affirming care to minors was signed Tuesday by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt.

KOCO ABC 5 reported on Sep 29, 2022, that Senate Bill 3 passed both the House and the Senate. Some Republican lawmakers said the stipulation doesn’t go far enough, saying gender reassignment or affirming care has to be banned statewide first.

Democrats argue the bill will already hurt vulnerable children.

“Oklahomans, and specifically young Oklahomans who are transgender, live among us,” state Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, said. “They deserve respect, dignity and medical care that serves them with best practices.”

Senate Bill 3 allocates more than $39 million to OU Health for a children’s mental health center. That money, according to the bill, comes with the requirement that OU stops providing gender reassignment or affirming care to children – even though the funding was never going to that specific department.

OU Health officials told KOCO 5 in a statement Wednesday that they would stop those services.

Thirty-one Republicans wanted the bill. Leadership said it will stop gender treatments while still ensuring OU Health can provide top-notch mental health care.

“Will make OU, which is already a great hospital, will make them a better hospital to serve the people of Oklahoma,” state Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, said.

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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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Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signs anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill’ into law

“These violations put Oklahoma at risk of losing millions of dollars & harms trans youth, all to solve a problem that does not exist”

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Screenshot/YouTube

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Wednesday Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed the anti-Trans measure Senate Bill 615 into law. The measure, which took effect immediately, requires all kindergarten through 12th grade students in public and charter schools to use restrooms and changing facilities associated with the sex listed on their birth certificates.

Provisions in the language of the law requires schools to adopt disciplinary procedures to punish students who do not comply and allows parents and guardians to take legal action against any school that does not comply with the new law.

The capital city’s leading paper, The Oklahoman noted that any schools or districts that violate the law would see a 5 percent penalty reduction in state funding. ‘That could subtract thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the school system,” the paper noted.

“Governor Stitt believes girls should use girl restrooms and boys should use boy restrooms,” Stitt’s spokesperson Carly Atchison told media in a statement.

Opponents of the law point out that it is likely a violation of federal civil rights. “By singling out transgender students for discrimination and excluding them from restrooms that match their gender identity, SB 615 discriminates based on transgender status and sex in violation of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act,” Tamya Cox-Touré, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“These violations put Oklahoma at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding and harms transgender youth, all to solve a problem that plainly does not exist,” Cox-Touré added.

“This law is unconstitutional, a violation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, and more than anything it is unnecessarily cruel for the sake of cruelty,” said Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma. “Over the last day we’ve heard people talk about school safety over and over again. But with a flick of his pen, Governor Stitt said that safety doesn’t extend to already vulnerable transgender and Two Spirit young people.”

“What states like Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina have done time after time is find new ways to attack these kids for their political gains among radical voters,” Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campain said in a press release. “Governor Stitt has repeatedly disregarded the real harms these bills will impose on Oklahoma’s youth.”

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma Senate passes anti-Trans bathroom bill sends it to Governor

The law stipulates that all students must use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificates

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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (Screenshot/YouTube)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Republican-majority state Senate passed SB 615 in a 38-7 vote, a measure that will bar transgender students in pre-K through 12th grade at public and public charter schools in the state from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

The bill now heads to Republican Governor Kevin Stitt and will be effective upon his signature into law.

The law stipulates that all students must use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificates. Transgender students who decline to use the restroom required under the measure would have to use “a single-occupancy restroom or changing room” provided by the school.

At the end of April Stitt signed that explicitly prohibits the use of nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates and in March he signed into law Senate Bill 2, a bill which would restrict transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity. 

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmaker introduces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ & prevent gender care bills

“I applaud Florida for enacting this measure, & call on my colleagues to follow their lead & do the right thing to protect our children”

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Oklahoma State Senate Chamber (Photo Credit: State of Oklahoma)

OKLAHOMA CITY – On the heels of Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signing a bill Tuesday that explicitly prohibits the use of nonbinary gender markers on state birth certificates, Republican State Senator Nathan Dahm introduced legislation mirroring Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law as well as a second measure that would prohibit any person under the age of 18 from undergoing gender affirming treatment in the state.

House Bill 1074 is modeled after Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The legislation would prohibit educators or other school personnel from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity for grades kindergarten through fifth. It also requires that any curriculum taught in grades six through 12 must be age and developmentally appropriate for students, KFOR News Channel 4 reported.

“There is absolutely no reason we should be teaching or talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school,” Dahm said. “Kids need to be learning their ABCs and how to read and write – not that a man can be a woman if [s]he feels like it, or vice versa. I applaud the State of Florida for enacting this measure, and call on my colleagues in Oklahoma to follow their lead and do the right thing to protect our children.”

The second piece of legislation, HB 1076, would prohibit any person under the age of 18 from undergoing gender affirming treatment in the state.

“If we can’t trust those under 18 to purchase or use tobacco and alcohol, they aren’t mature enough to make a long-term decision like changing their gender,” Dahm told KFOR. “As gender reassignment surgery has become more and more common over the years, we are now hearing stories of transgender adults who are reversing these procedures because they realize they made a grave mistake. And unfortunately, their bodies are mutilated because of it. This legislation would protect these vulnerable individuals from making rash decisions without fully thinking them through.”

In the language of the measure the penalty for violating the proposed statue would be that any physician that performs the treatment would be subject to professional discipline by the State Medical Board and could receive a suspended or revoked license.

All major medical associations support best-practice medical care that affirms transgender youth. Affirming health care is proven to save kids’ lives. Care includes a range of approaches, which are thoughtfully considered by youth, guardians, and doctors. The way care is portrayed by the Senator carrying this language is factually incorrect and intentionally inflammatory. Banning best-practice medical care is dangerous government intrusion. This is one of the most extreme political attacks on transgender people in recent memory. To try to sneak this effort into the end of the legislative session is egregious.

To partner it with an effort to further censor classrooms and chill speech in schools is life-threatening for too many LGBTQ+ kids in Oklahoma. Just last month the CDC published new data that in the first half of 2020, 1 in every 4 LGBTQ+ teens acted on suicidality. We’re being literal when we say the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities are at stake.

We’re incensed that LGBTQ+ kids and their families yet again have to face the fear and uncertainty of if and how elected officials will use their platforms to advance what are clearly harmful attacks.  In every state where this language is copied and pasted into efforts, we’ve seen that the impact is harm, potentially irreparable harm, to LGBTQ+ kids and kids of LGBTQ+ parents.”

FREEDOM OKLAHOMA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NICOLE MCAFEE

In reaction to the Governor’s signing of the Gender Marker bill, Oklahoma Republican Representative Sheila Dills, the House sponsor of the bill, said;

“People are free to believe whatever they want about their identity, but science has determined people are either biologically male or female at birth. We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue.”

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force, 15 states and the District of Columbia specifically allow a gender marker designation outside of male or female currently however, that number will increase on July 1 when Vermont’s new statute goes into effect.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor signs anti-Trans youth sports bill

“Legislators have decided that harming Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children and their families is worthwhile if it’s politically helpful”

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Former President Trump & Governor Kevin Stitt, White House conference June 18, 2020 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

OKLAHOMA CITY– Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed into law Senate Bill 2, a bill which would restrict transgender girls from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity. The measure passed the Oklahoma House last year and on 37 to 7 vote passed the state Senate last week.

In addition to S.B. 2, the state legislature is also moving forward two additional bills that target the LGBTQ+ community: S.B. 9, a bill that would expand definition of obscene materials to target the LGBTQ+ community, and S.B. 1100, a bill that would eliminate inclusive gender markers from official documents.

Data shows that 75% of Oklahomans support expanding LGBTQ+ rights including protections from discrimination, contradictory to the Governor’s actions.

“Last year, Oklahoma Senate President Greg Treat rightly called S.B. 2 a solution in search of a problem. Nothing has changed, yet Governor Stitt and Oklahoma legislators have sadly decided that harming Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children and their families is worthwhile if it’s politically helpful with the extreme elements of their base. It’s only March, and 2022 is on track to be the worst year on record for introduction and enactment of anti-transgender legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley.

“Other Republican governors have chosen to follow the facts to their logical conclusion – just last week Republican governors in Indiana and Utah vetoed legislation similar to S.B. 2, citing the wellbeing and mental health of transgender kids, the lack of any problem with transgender youth participation in sports, and potential litigation. Instead, Governor Stitt has chosen discrimination over the well-being of everyday Oklahomans. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns his actions,” Oakley added.

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