Democrats: SB615 a threat to Oklahomans, Economic Investment

Apr 28, 2022


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Several House Democrats released statements today after Senate Bill 615 passed the House floor. SB615 is “copycat legislation” from other Republican-controlled states that forbids transgender Oklahomans from using bathrooms most applicable to their gender identity and creates barriers to mental health care and educational material. 

Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC:

""Oklahomans are surviving on mutual aid because our Republican-supermajority Legislature is attacking its people, and specifically our 2SLGBTQ+ youth. We have used the power of the Legislature to drop last-minute legislation like Senate Bill 615 – a bill that codifies into law that counselors will continue to be a safe space for all students as long as they aren't 2SLGBTQ+ students.

“Our representatives have created a space where organizations like Sisu and Pivot, in Oklahoma, thrive: youth shelters. Oklahoma youth shelters have a large group of 2SLGBTQ+ youth due to these young people being rejected at home. When the Legislature uses tactics to scare folks from caring for youth or empowers bigotry and hatred for our youth – what are we telling them? 

“Thankfully, these laws will never get rid of our 2SLGBTQ+ youth, but they do create a closet to hold them. SB615 fosters an environment where children do not feel safe. 

“For the youth that are watching these bad bills: I not only see you, love you, and hear you – I am you. It is hard to experience this attack every day at the hands of community elected officials that have done nothing to ensure your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. 

“There are 2LGBTQ+ affirming mental health crisis support available like the Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text START 678-678, Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860, and the LGBT Hotline 888-843-4564. It's never a bad thing to reach out.""

Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-OKC:

“I’m proud to represent Oklahoma City, a place that has intentionally invested in itself to be a destination for families to live, businesses to relocate, and vacationers to visit. No amount of self-investment by cities like OKC, nor incentives and tax breaks from the state, can overcome hateful legislation aimed at groups that are already marginalized. In the coming days, I hope civic leaders will join us in speaking out against this harmful bill. Senate Bill 615 hurts people. It hurts progress. It hurts Oklahoma.”

Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa: 

“We voted on and I supported a $700 million economic incentive to hopefully entice a Fortune 500 company to open a factory in Oklahoma. However, I’m afraid with Senate Bill 615, we just did more than $700 million worth of damage to our state's reputation.

“We have seen the massive fallout from legislation like this in other states. Many companies, like Panasonic for example, are clear and demonstrate their support for the LGBTQ community. There is more to economic development than money and tax incentives. Companies will not choose for their employees, and their families, to be subjected to laws that ostracize and marginalize their existence. SB615 is not just a bad bill, it is a job killer.” 



Oklahoma House of Representatives seal