Former Oklahoma Gov. Henry Criticizes Anti-Protest Bill

Apr 30, 2021

Former Gov. Brad Henry said he supports an effort to overturn a new law that stiffens penalties on protesters that block roads and grants drivers who hit people immunity if they are fleeing from rioters.
Credit State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry said Friday he is throwing his support behind an effort to reject a recently signed bill that seeks to crack down on protesters.

The former two-term Democrat described the bill as ill-conceived and dangerous and said he supports a citizen-led signature gathering effort to veto it.

“The language of this knee-jerk new law is vague and dangerous, and it potentially places peaceful protesters in harm’s way when they are merely exercising their First Amendment rights and seeking to call attention to an injustice,” Henry said in a statement.

The bill signed by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt would grant motorists civil and criminal immunity if they kill or injure someone while fleeing from a riot. The motorist would have immunity even if the person they killed or injured wasn’t involved in the protest.

The bill also makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine to block a public street.

A group announced earlier this week it was launching a signature gathering effort to nullify the new law. They have 90 days to gather about 60,000 signatures to place the question on the ballot.