‘Culture war’ bills could cost state jobs, damage reputation – Journal Record

by | Apr 29, 2022 | Jobs

Legislative leaders and Gov. Kevin Stitt spent the week advancing a series of “culture war” bills intended to please certain voters, but which may cost the state the year’s biggest economic development deal. (Photo by Janice Francis-Smith)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislative leaders and Gov. Kevin Stitt spent the week advancing a series of “culture war” bills intended to please certain voters, but which may cost the state the year’s biggest economic development deal.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives rammed through a series of bills dealing with abortion, transsexual people, school curricula, voting and protest rights on Thursday morning, in time to meet a legislative deadline.
For several bills, the Republican majority agreed to suspend rules in order to replace the language of the bills scheduled to be heard Thursday with brand new language submitted hours before.
That’s how Senate Bill 615, which had been a bill to require school administrators to approve all sex education curriculum, turned into a “bathroom bill” forcing schools to provide restrooms for males and females exclusively and requiring students to use the restroom which corresponds to their biological sex as identified on their birth certificate. Schools that don’t adhere to the law face a 5% reduction in state funding.
Stitt’s cabinet appointee, Education Secretary Ryan Walters, has been focused on the issue of school restrooms as he campaigns for the elected position of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Walters shared with the media letters he wrote to the Stillwater Board of Education, twice accusing the board of “wokeness” for not forcing students to use the restroom that aligns with the sex on their birth certificate, and a letter to Attorney General John O’Connor asking him to take legal action.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister – who is running for governor – has requested a legal opinion from O’Connor regarding Stillwater’s restroom policy, and has resisted legislative demands that she implement a statewide rule until O’ …

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