Oklahoma House won't take up personhood bill

Oklahoma House Republicans decided in a caucus meeting Thursday against having the personhood measure heard on the House floor. Their action essentially kills the bill this year.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: April 20, 2012
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Crain said that section was unnecessary because in Oklahoma all laws are subject to judicial review, both by the state and federal supreme courts.

“There's no sense putting that into our statute because we have judicial review of all of our statutes,” he said.

Rep. Lisa Billy, the House author of SB 1433, said she will continue to push for passage of a similar bill that the House passed last year. House Bill 1571 states that life begins at conception. It passed the House by a vote of 74-2 but failed to get a hearing last year in the Senate.

“It still sits in the Senate,” said Billy, R-Lindsay. “We're hoping it happens.”

But Crain said the personhood measure is dead this year.

“If the House doesn't want to hear (SB) 1433, I don't know why the House would want to hear the same thing with just a different bill number on it,” he said.

Crain, who faces opponents in the Republican primary election and the general election, said he would file a similar bill next year if he wins re-election.

Some House Republicans began a petition-signing effort Wednesday to try to force the bill to be heard on the House floor, but Steele said the movement did not comply with House rules. A discharge petition effort only can be held to get a measure heard that was not advanced by a House committee. It does not apply to bills that were passed out of committee and are waiting to be taken up on the House floor.

SB 1433 passed the Senate in February on a 34-7 vote. A House committee passed it last month on a 7-4 vote.

Issue has drawn attention

The personhood bill has drawn attention at the state Capitol and nationally. Hundreds gathered in February at the Capitol to protest the measure.

Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, held up a controversial sign at the protest saying what she would do if she wanted the government in her womb.

During Senate debate, Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, tried unsuccessfully to get an amendment to the measure that said it was an act against unborn children for men to waste sperm.