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Bill eliminating blasphemy as a crime in Oklahoma advances

A House committee, however, fails to pass a measure that would repeal a law that requires legislators to come up with a budget for public schools by April 1.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: February 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm •  Published: February 7, 2013
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/articleid/3752652/1/pictures/1946545">Photo - Rep Randy Grau. Photo by Paul B. Southerland - <i>The Oklahoman</i>
Rep Randy Grau. Photo by Paul B. Southerland - The Oklahoman

“Part of my goal is to get rid of unnecessary laws,” he said.

Grau, R-Edmond, had better luck with HB 1088. The measure, which passed 6-4, would remove blasphemy as a misdemeanor.

The existing law adopted in 1909 is outdated, he said.

“I am not pro-blasphemy,” Grau said. “I'm for everyone to freely exercise their religion. But that law prohibits the free exercise of religion as well as free speech. Under that law, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor for making fun of another person's religion. Now, again, I don't support going around disparaging other people's religion, but it's not a crime.”

Committee members also passed HB 1562, which would remove language from the Water for 2060 Act that sets long-term water management goals for the state.

Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, author of HB 1562, said his measure would leave intact the use of an existing Oklahoma Water Resources Board grant program to pay for pilot projects to help residents and water districts improve water conservation practices.

HB 1562 passed 9-1. It and HB 1088 now go to the full House.


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