After getting the message that his bill was a bad idea, state Sen. Patrick Anderson decided not to pursue an effort to allow cities and towns to ban any breed of dog. His colleagues at the Capitol should pay particular attention to one of Anderson's reasons for bailing out.
Anderson, R-Enid, said his Senate Bill 32 wasn't targeting a specific breed, although he acknowledged he's no fan of pit bull terriers. Instead he said cities should have the right to restrict certain breeds if leaders find them to be a threat. We were critical of the measure, in part because similar efforts failed several years ago and state law already defines dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs and sets punishment for owners who let their dogs get loose.
A Bartlesville woman who owns a pit bull objected, too, and began an online petition to fight the bill. In two weeks, she had more than 9,000 signatures. Others complained as well. Anderson said he was surprised by the volume of opposition the bill generated, and that he was finished with the idea.
And he added this: “We've got more important issues to deal with at the Capitol than that, and I don't want it to be a distraction.”
Amen! There truly is important business to be attended to. Wholesale and meaningful changes need to be made to our workers' compensation system, a system that drives up costs for businesses large and small in Oklahoma. Our prisons are overcrowded and understaffed. Educational reforms need adequate funding. The state medical examiner's office needs a new home. The list goes on.
Lawmakers need to focus on these and other issues that make a positive difference for the state and its people, and stay away from bills that are divisive or legally suspect. We've seen too many of those through the years.
Anderson deserves credit for muzzling SB 32 and moving on.