Immigration Reform and Public Safety Measures Signed into Law

Ponca City Now - June 13, 2024 5:46 am

Rep, John Pfeiffer

by Rep. John Pfeiffer

In the absence of the Biden Administration addressing matters at our nation’s southern border, Oklahoma lawmakers this session felt compelled to write legislation to protect the rights and taxpayer dollars of our citizens.

House Bill 4156 creates the criminal act of impermissible occupation, which occurs when a person willfully and without permission enters and remains in Oklahoma without having first obtained legal authorization to enter the United States. A first conviction is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, a fine of not more than $500, or both. A second or subsequent conviction is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to two years, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Any person convicted is required to leave the state within 72 hours following conviction or release from custody, whichever comes later. Those reentering the state after removal would be guilty of a felony.

Also signed into law this session is a bill that permits property owners to request the county sheriff immediately remove someone unlawfully occupying property they own. This has become a huge problem throughout our state, yet law enforcement has been reluctant to get involved in such disputes.

This bill gives local sheriffs better guidance and should protect a property owner from someone illegally squatting on their land.

A snapshot of additional public safety measures include:

Senate Bill 1280, which makes combining fentanyl with any other controlled dangerous substance a felony offense, punishable by imprisonment of between seven years to life and a fine of not less than $50,000.  The manufacturing of ten or more grams of a  mixture containing a detectable amount of fentanyl is to be considered aggravated manufacturing, punishable by imprisonment of between 20 years to life and a fine of not less than $50,000.

We have seen too many fentanyl deaths in Oklahoma as a direct result of drug cartels gaining access through our southern border. This bill will stiffen penalties against those trafficking this deadly drug.

House Bill 2914 increases the base salary for a sheriff from $19,000 to $44,000 with a cap $74,000. The measure also creates the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office Funding Assistance Grant Program to help counties offset the cost of increasing the sheriff’s salary.

House Bill 3782 prohibits bonds for individuals who are arrested for a violent crime while they are already out on bond for a separate violent crime.

Additional measures include ones that increase the punishments for domestic abuse against a pregnant woman and for strangulation against an intimate partner. Another bill better protects children from sexual predators by adding visual depictions, including AI-generated content, of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct to the state’s definition of “child pornography.”

It’s an honor to serve the folks of House District 38. As always, if you have concerns about bills, or problems I can assist you in solving, please reach out to me at [email protected] or call my office at 405-557-7332


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