New law aims to curtail disruptions of public meetings
Mike Seals - April 23, 2021 1:07 am
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill aimed at promoting civility during local government meetings has been signed into law. Senate Bill 403, by Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, and Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City, was approved by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday.
SB 403 expands existing law which makes it illegal for anyone to willfully disturb, interfere or disrupt state business to include local government meetings held by school boards, county and municipal governments.
“While people have a right and even a responsibility to participate in their government, that doesn’t include disrupting those meetings so that the business of the people cannot be conducted,” Stanley said. “I want to thank my fellow members, my House author, Representative Manger, and Governor Stitt for their support of this legislation.”
Under SB 403, those convicted of violating this statute would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would face up to a year in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
“As we saw yesterday in the House chamber, no meeting is safe from interruption,” Manger said. “We have rules of decorum that govern our meetings in the Capitol, and I believe that same decorum should be observed in other political subdivisions. I am a firm believer in the rights expressed within the First Amendment, and there are plenty of ways to exercise those rights without having to disruptively protest during a meeting.”
SB 403 took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.
For more information, contact Sen. Brenda Stanley at 405-521-5584 or email [email protected].