St.Cap

OKLAHOMA CITY — An initiative petition that would have made abortion illegal was stopped by the Oklahoma Supreme Court Tuesday. The petition, filed on Jan. 27 by Thomas R. Hunter, sought to amend the Oklahoma Constitution, adding a new section that made abortion and some forms of contraception illegal. Tuesday the state’s high court said it wasn’t free to impose its own view of the law because the U.S. Supreme Court had previously ruled on the issue. “This court is duty bound by the United States and the Oklahoma Constitution to follow the mandates of the United States Supreme Court on matters of federal constitutional law,”Read More →

drone

  OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure designed to protect Oklahomans from illegal surveillance by unmanned drones cleared the Oklahoma House of Representatives Tuesday. The bill, House Bill 2337, will ensure that new drone technology is properly regulated to protect due process and the privacy rights of citizens. The bill cleared the full House of Representatives Tuesday on a 56-40 vote. “We’re pleased that state lawmakers from both political parties took a stand for privacy rights,” said Ryan Kiesel executive director of ACLU Oklahoma. “The potential benefits of drones are already apparent. But drones are also a game changer when it comes to the government’s ability toRead More →

Rebekkah and Casey Newland

OKLAHOMA CITY — Rebekkah Newland and Jennifer Fleming will have their day in court. Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that both Newland and Fleming have standing to seek child custody hearings in district court. Newland and Fleming, along with a third plaintiff, Charlene Ramey, were each fighting district court rulings that denied them standing in child custody cases. All three women were non-biological mothers. Each woman had asked for a child custody hearing, but were denied by a district court. Last year, ACLU Oklahoma intervened in the cases, asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling and to recognize each woman as a parent.Read More →

St.Cap

OKLAHOMA CITY – Calling it an important reform to Oklahoma’s asset forfeiture system, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma praised members of the Oklahoma State Senate’s Judiciary Committee for their support of Senate Bill 1113. “We’re pleased that members of the committee see the need to bring an added degree of fairness to the state’s civil asset forfeiture system,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU Oklahoma executive director. “Senator David Holt’s bill, SB 1113, is common sense reform that protects innocent Oklahomans from having to spend thousands of dollars in attorney fees in an effort to get their property back. Property that should have never seized in the firstRead More →

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MUSKOGEE — The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, the national ACLU, and the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of a Muslim American U.S. Army Reserve member who was denied patronage at a recreational gun range near Tulsa as a result of the business’s discriminatory anti-Muslim policy. The ACLU of Oklahoma, ACLU and CAIR-OK sued the owners of the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range on behalf of Raja’ee Fatihah, who shoots to maintain proficiency in marksmanship and was refused service in October 2015 after he identified himself as Muslim. “This case is not just about defending the rights of Muslim-Americans, it’sRead More →

St.Cap.

OKLAHOMA CITY – A handful of conservatives in the Oklahoma Legislature are dangerously close to destroying the independence of the state’s judicial system, officials with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday. New legislative attempts to force appellate court justices to retire, gut the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission, and politicize the selection of appellate court justices would eliminate the built in checks and balances of state government, said Brady Henderson, legal director for ACLU Oklahoma. “What you’re seeing is legislative temper tantrum,” Henderson said. “When members of the legislature don’t like the way a court rules, they file bills like these to get rid ofRead More →

receipt

An essay about poverty, hunger and Oklahoma City’s anti-panhandling ordinance By M. Scott Carter On the left side of my refrigerator, just above the latest art masterpiece by my eight-year-old daughter and next to the dog-shaped magnet given to me by my son, there’s a small, wrinkled receipt. The receipt seems out of place – after all, our refrigerator is nothing more than a large bulletin board – and this one takes up valuable real estate. The receipt is yellowed and old and so faded that it’s hard to read. But of all the things that have found their way to my home, that smallRead More →