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Apr 19, 2024
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Humphrey Urges Media to Review Evidence of Alleged DAC Fraud

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, today appealed directly to members of Oklahoma's media, asking them to review his documentation detailing what he alleges is money laundering by the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council (DAC). "I believe you in the media are missing one of the largest stories of your career," Humphrey said. "I am asking you to review the investigation packet I have attached." Humphrey goes on to detail that in the case Stice v. Mashburn, an appellate court determined the $40 fee the DAC collects for probation fees must be used for the actual act of supervision. "I checked with a well-known attorney, who advised this means the $40 fee must be used solely for supervision, and DAs must provide the actual act of supervision," Humphrey said. Humphrey said after the ruling, a bill was filed to create a $40 prosecution fee to give district attorneys a legal method to collect money from offenders, but he said that is not being done. "I have provided thousands of entries by district attorneys to verify that DAs continue to collect $55 million in supervision fees, and yet I've found no documentation showing the money was spent on actual supervision as ordered by the appellate court," Humphrey said, adding that it seems logical to conclude DAs are not actually providing supervision. "Consequently, it seems evident that DAs are engaged in massive fraud in the state of Oklahoma and are deceitfully profiting," he said. "I submit that $55 million have been collected by DAs under the deception and breach of confidence perpetrated for profit or dishonest gain." Humphrey has sent several letters to the attorney general asking for a review of his investigative packet. Humphrey said his investigation found that the $55 million was moved through several government accounts. "This money traveled through the accounts of the district attorney, the District Attorneys Council, to the Oklahoma State Treasurer and then returned to the District Attorneys Council," Humphrey said. "Therefore, it truly appears DAs have intentionally moved $55 million of funds received by what appears to be fraud through several accounts to conceal the use of funds. It certainly appears to be money laundering to avoid the court order." "The question remains: what legal action could be taken on what appears to be one of largest frauds and possible money laundering schemes perpetrated on the state of Oklahoma"? Humphrey asked.



Apr 19, 2024
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Gov. Signs Bill to Protect Privacy of Homemade Food Producers

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday signed into law legislation that amends the Homemade Food Freedom Act to protect the private information of producers. House Bill 2975, authored by Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, and Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, will allow producers of homemade food products to obtain a registration number to affix to their product labels instead of the current requirement that they list their name, phone number and the physical address where the food is produced on all products sold. The $15 registration fee is voluntary. "This is for the safety of the people that make food for sale in their homes," West said. "The government should have record of a producer's personal information in case there needs to be some recourse for a product sold, but the general public does not need a seller's private phone number or physical address. This also should help cut down on identity theft or fraud." West said the idea for the legislation came from a constituent that makes and sells homemade food products at local outlets such as farmers markets and area stores. Homemade food products for sale or distribution must still adhere to a list of safety guidelines. The product label must still list ingredients, including common allergens, as well as notice that they were produced in a private residence that is exempt from government licensing and inspection. The act takes effect Nov. 1. 



Apr 18, 2024
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House Bill Aimed at Oklahoma Contracting Integrity Receives Senate Approval

The Oklahoma Senate passed House Bill 3623 on Wednesday, a measure that aims to prevent public funds from supporting illegal immigration, thereby enhancing accountability and integrity in contracting practices in Oklahoma. Rep. Erick Harris, R-Edmond, authored the measure. The bill would require all contractors or subcontractors who contract with the state or a public employer to submit an affidavit to the State Purchasing Director affirming compliance with the state's E-Verify requirements. "With House Bill 3623, Oklahoma reinforces its commitment to fiscal accountability, ensuring that no public dollar is used to support illegal immigration," Harris said. "E-Verify compliance mandates not only uphold the principles of fairness and transparency but also strengthen the trust of our citizens in the integrity of our workforce and immigration processes." This system is designed to verify the citizenship status of all new employees, ensuring adherence to legal standards. Under HB3623, contractors who knowingly provide false affidavits will face civil penalties. The first offense will result in an administrative penalty of $5,000, increasing by $2,000 for each subsequent violation. Additionally, contractors who breach this mandate risk having their contracts terminated. Sen. Weaver, R-Moore, carried the measure in the Senate. "By holding contractors and subcontractors accountable through this legislation, we're ensuring Oklahomans' hard-earned tax dollars are not supporting the employment of individuals who are not authorized to work in our state," Weaver said. "I am appreciative of my Senate colleagues for passing this measure out of our chamber and putting us one step closer to having these protections in place. I'd also like to thank Representative Harris for his collaboration on this measure that makes sure Oklahoma citizens are prioritized in our state's job market." HB3623 is Harris' first bill to pass both chambers. It passed the Senate 39 – 5 and now heads to the Governor for consideration.



Apr 18, 2024
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House Republicans Vote to Protect Oklahomans from Illegal Immigration Crisis

OKLAHOMA CITY – Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, today received passage of House Bill 4156 by a vote of 77-20. The legislation, aimed at addressing the illegal immigration crisis, creates the crime of impermissible occupation. Details include: A person commits an impermissible occupation if the person willfully and without permission enters and remains in the State of Oklahoma without having first obtained legal authorization to enter the United States. Penalties for violating the new law will be:  First offense – Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than $500, or both, required to leave the state within 72 hours of being released from custody and prohibited from reentering the state at any time thereafter. Second or subsequent offense – Felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Dept. of Corrections for a term of not more than two years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, required to leave the state within 72 hours of being released from custody and prohibited from reentering the state at any time thereafter. Additionally, the legislation includes a preemption clause prohibiting municipalities from becoming 'sanctuary cities.' "I am thankful that my Republican colleagues saw fit to address this issue and pass meaningful legislation to protect the citizens of Oklahoma from the illegal immigration crisis plaguing our country right now," said McCall. "The failure of the federal government to address this issue, and the lack of leadership by the Biden Administration, has turned every state into a border state. Those who want to work through the process of coming to our country legally are more than welcome to come to Oklahoma; we would love to have them here. Those who jump the line, and skip the process, cheapen the value of the work put in by those who went through the full legal process to become a citizen of our great country. We will not reward that behavior in Oklahoma, and we will protect our state borders." Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, who presented the bill on the House floor, said that this is common sense legislation that allows the state to properly protect its borders and citizens. "Anyone saying that there is not an illegal immigration crisis in our state and nation is simply ignoring reality," Echols said. "This is a common sense piece of legislation that allows Oklahoma to protect our citizens and our state borders, while also preemptively signaling to those in our country illegally that they should choose another state to migrate to. The Legislature has an obligation to ensure that the rights, privileges and safety of our citizens, authorized residents and lawfully present visitors is protected at all costs. Other states can take whatever action they see fit, but Oklahoma is now going to be less attractive for those who enter our country unlawfully." The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration. -END- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Daniel Seitz, House Leadership Communications Liaison Phone: (405) 962-7649



Apr 17, 2024
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Hays Passes Bill Allowing Responsible Beverage Sampling for Licensed Employees

Rep. Neil Hays, R-Checotah, secured passage of a bill that would allow employees at establishments that sell wine, beer, and liquor to sample the products if they are over 21. Senate Bill 2001 defines "Straw Testing" as allowing licensed employees aged 21 or older to evaluate beverage quality responsibly through minimal alcohol consumption. It would also lower the registration fee for brand-label spirits from $375 to $75 for those producing less than 53 gallons a year. "Restaurants were told they had been misinterpreting the law," Hays said. "As it stands, Oklahoma law does not allow servers to take a straw test sample of the drinks they are about to serve customers. The goal here is to clarify that language and allow these businesses to provide the level of service their customers have come to expect."  Hays emphasized that SB2001 has defined regulations, such as on-premises sampling under licensee supervision, and emphasizes that alcohol tasting is voluntary, not obligatory, for employees. Several lawmakers and industry stakeholders worked together to develop SB2001, which modernizes alcohol regulations and supports industry growth, Hays said. SB2001 passed the House 69 – 20.



Apr 17, 2024
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House Passes Bill to Remove Unlawful Occupants

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, this week passed legislation in the House that would create a procedure for the removal of unlawful occupants of property. Senate Bill 1994 would allow a property owner to request the sheriff of a county in which the property is located to immediately remove a person or persons unlawfully occupying real property if certain conditions are met. Ford, along with co-authors Reps. Terry O'Donnell, R-Catoosa, and Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, issued a joint statement about the importance of the bill. "Property owners throughout our state are being inundated with illegal occupancy," the lawmakers said. "This is exacerbated by the number of people coming across our Southern border illegally, property thefts through methods such as unlawful title changes, or just people moving a trailer onto someone else's land or moving into someone's home while they're on vacation and refusing to leave. Oklahoma is a property rights state, and we are working with our sheriffs and others to identify and stop this type of crime and to advocate for the rights of our property owners. Private property ownership is one of the very foundations of our constitutional system of government and protects an individual's ability to prosper and participate in the free market and in our representative form of government. This legislation is important to ensuring this fundamental right is protected."  Ford explained that currently such matters are treated through civil process, and law enforcement are reluctant to get involved. This forces private property owners to hire an attorney, and the process often drags out for lengthy periods. Worthen pointed out the measure does not allow anyone in a landlord-tenant relationship to circumvent the Landlord-Tenant Act. It only applies to someone who is occupying private property and refusing to leave when asked. SB1994 would create a form for the property owner to submit to their county sheriff. Once verified, the sheriff must serve a notice to immediately vacate on all unlawful occupants. If appropriate, the sheriff may arrest any person found on the property for trespass, outstanding warrants or any other legal cause. The sheriff is entitled to the fee for service of the notice. The measure also would create a crime for someone unlawfully detaining or occupying or trespassing upon a property and who intentionally damages the dwelling in an amount of greater than $1,000. Those found guilty would receive a felony punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Any person who presents a false document purporting to be a valid lease agreement, deed, or other instrument conveying real property rights would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both. The measure states that these provisions are not to be used to circumvent any rights or laws governing the landlord tenant relationship. Any person wrongfully removed may bring a civil cause of action. SB1994 passed the House with a vote of 77-16. The amended bill now returns to the Senate for final consideration. 



Apr 17, 2024
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Senate Approves House Bill to Increase Public Safety Measures

The Oklahoma Senate approved House Bill 3782 on Tuesday, a measure that makes it more difficult for violent criminals to get released on bail. The measure, authored by Rep. John George, R-Newalla, proposes a rebuttable presumption that no bond release conditions would ensure the safety of the community or any person if the state provides clear and convincing evidence that the person was arrested for a violent offense and released on bond and while out on bond the person was arrested for another violent crime.  "This legislation permits judges to detain an individual who is already out on bond for a violent crime but gets arrested for another violent crime without bail," George said. "As a result, we will ensure the safety of our citizens by preventing dangerous criminals from repeatedly victimizing our communities." Sen. Todd Gollihare, R-Kellyville, carried the measure in the Senate. “Oklahoma is a law and order state where public safety is paramount,” Gollihare said. “House Bill 3782 keeps our communities safe and secure by revoking bail privileges for violent criminals who commit additional heinous crimes while out on bond.” HB3782 passed the Senate unanimously and now moves to the Governor's desk for consideration.



Apr 17, 2024
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Humphrey Comments on Latest Lawsuit against DOC

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, today issued the following statements regarding a lawsuit recently filed against the Department of Corrections alleging gross negligence and inhumane treatment of inmates in DOC custody. On April 9, attorneys Richard Labarthe and Alexey Tarasov filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of seven plaintiffs against the DOC, Corrections Director Steven Harpe, and several unnamed employees, supervisors or administrators at the Great Plains Correction Center in Hinton. The lawsuit alleges inmates were locked in 3'x3' or 2'x2' shower stalls and forced to remain in these stalls for days at a time, stripped of essentials, while the cells were filled with human feces. The lawsuit also claims inmates were held with inadequate food, water and other provisions such as a mattress, blankets and clothing. "This lawsuit is largely the result of the work done by the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, which I chair," Humphrey said. "I've been assisted by Oklahoma Correctional Professionals (OCP) who have been exposing inexcusable human rights violations including the horrific shower incidents, reports of rapes being covered up, murders, assaults, extortion and many other serious human rights violations. It is believed that this lawsuit could be only one of many to come." Humphrey believes Oklahoma could be on the hook for millions of dollars with this and other lawsuits against the department. In August, nine former DOC employees took action against the department alleging wrongful termination. Humphrey said he anticipates more lawsuits from executives making the same claims. "The House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee has held hearings providing massive evidence of the horrendous human rights violations and the appalling treatment of employees," Humphrey said. "The committee has called for investigations and requested subpoenas but have been largely ignored. Recently, employees, inmates and family members have bravely stepped forward to verify these reports. This lawsuit is certainly one more component in proving the accusations are more substantial than previously reported." Humphrey said he will continue to sound the alarm that Oklahoma is facing a corrections disaster. "The Oklahoma Department of Corrections could be close to returning back under federal control or facing the horror of a prison riot," he said. "This latest lawsuit should be a wakeup call to the governor, the state's attorney general and other legislators to take immediate action."



Apr 16, 2024
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House Passes Bill To Modify Statute of Limitations for Rape, Revenge Porn

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for rape in certain situations.   Senate Bill 1658 from Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, eliminates the statute of limitations for rape when DNA evidence emerges or when a suspect confesses to the crime. The current statute of limitations for rape when the victim is age 18 or older is 12 years.   The bill passed the House unanimously after the measure was amended to include expanding the statute of limitations on the dissemination of revenge porn from 12 to 20 years.  “Oklahoma needs to be tough on crime when it comes to heinous offenses such as rape,” Garvin said. “This is a common-sense measure that will allow prosecutors to charge rapists to the full extent of the law when DNA evidence or a confession comes to light. I thank Leader Echols for partnering with me to make this critical legislation even stronger by also cracking down on those who disseminate revenge porn.” "Every victim, regardless of when they suffered, deserves equal opportunity to see justice done," Echols said. "By eliminating the statute of limitations in cases where DNA evidence exists or a confession is obtained, we can end impunity for perpetrators and deliver justice for victims." This bill was requested by Attorney General Gentner Drummond. SB 1658 now returns to the Senate, where it previously passed with unanimous support.