Gabriel Schaefer Published on 25 May 2011
Category: English in the News
Last week I visited my home state, Oklahoma, and I must say, what I saw made me proud. Their newly elected Republican majority state legislature and governor are aggressively tackling controversial issues to put new laws in place that are specifically designed to strengthen the sovereignty of their state and do what is in the best interests of their citizens.
Aggressive legislation, however, is not new to Oklahoma. As I noted in my column in November, Oklahoma wasted no time in sending a strong message to those who would usurp state and federal laws. State Question 755 was put on the 2010 mid-term ballot and passed with 70% of the vote. SQ-755 stipulates courts may rely only on federal and state law when deciding cases, and forbids courts from considering or using either International Law or Sharia Law.
It’s gratifying to know at least one state has the courage to do what they can to stop the threat of Sharia Law (Islamic Law) to our national security. Unfortunately, shortly after the bill passed, Liberal Chief U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange (Western District of Oklahoma) jumped on this issue like a chicken on a June bug and issued a temporary restraining order at the behest of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which sued to nullify the law altogether. It’s still in the appeals process.
More recently, Oklahoma lawmakers have been busy drafting legislation to further strengthen immigration laws. Signed by then Governor Brad Henry, HB-1804, Citizens and Taxpayers Protection Act of 2007, bears a striking similarity to Arizona’s SB-1070 that caused such a ruckus last year. HB-1804 makes it tough on employers who violate the law, prevent illegal aliens from obtaining drivers licenses and benefits, and protect the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens while respecting constitutional rights for all persons.
HB-1804 also contains criminal, fiscal, and anti-fraud provisions that restrict the ability of illegal aliens to unlawfully work and reside within the state. For example, Section 3 of HB-1804 mirrors the Federal provision that makes it a felony for any person to transport, harbor, or shelter an alien in reckless disregard for their illegal immigration status. Section 5 requires police to verify immigration status of anyone arrested and detained at a local jail for felony crimes.
Continuing their resolve to protect their state’s citizens and borders, another Oklahoma bill, SB-1102, allows their law enforcement officers to take DNA samples from all illegal aliens for inclusion in their state database for criminal investigative purposes. That should really send the ACLU into a tailspin!
Other notable Oklahoma legislation was the passage of HB-1330 allowing the sculptures of the Ten Commandments at the front entrance of the State Capitol Building to remain in place. Sorry, ACLU! Also, Oklahoma reaffirmed 2nd Amendment rights with the passage of HB-1025 (by a 70-8 margin) making it a misdemeanor for employers to ask job applicants about their private gun ownership. “It shall be unlawful for any private employer doing business in this state to ask any applicant for employment information about whether the applicant owns or possesses a firearm.” Convicted violators could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or county jail time up to 90 days.
What was perhaps most remarkable of all was this: Last November, Oklahoma voters also overwhelmingly passed State Question 751 making English the official language of Oklahoma. As an amendment to the state constitution, this measure directs that official state actions be in English or Native American languages. (If required by Federal Law, other languages could also be used.) In fact, SQ-751 dictates that drivers license exams be printed in English only. That’s a pretty smart idea considering all road signs in this country are in English. If a person can’t read the driver’s exam in English, it’s unlikely that driver can read the road signs that are necessary to safely negotiate our roadways.
Oklahoma deserves a “high five” for pressing ahead to do the right thing for their state, despite all the pressures from the ACLU and other Liberal factions. They are setting a courageous example for other freedom-loving states. If only all states had such determination.
The Bandera Bulletin
Published: May 24, 2011
Click here to see original column.
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