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Oklahoma Asset Forfeiture Reform Faces Stiff Opposition

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma legislator who wants to restrict when cash and other assets can be seized from people suspected of dealing drugs — even without a conviction — fears his bill won't be brought up during the legislative session.

The bill by Republican Senator Kyle Loveless of Oklahoma City has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Loveless says efforts to reach chairman Senator Anthony Sykes have gone unanswered. He's now asking voters to call Senate leadership and request that the bill be heard.

The bill would require a conviction of most suspects before their assets are subject to forfeiture.

District Attorney Mike Fields opposes the bill and says it could put millions of dollars for local agencies at risk. Fields says drug-asset forfeiture is important in protecting communities from drug dealers.