A plan to dedicate a stretch of state highway in Cimarron County "President Donald J. Trump Highway" hit a speed bump this week.
With an omnibus highway dedication bill up for a floor vote, Oklahoma City Democratic Sens. Kay Floyd and Carri Hicks pointed out under state law, most people must have been dead three years before they’re honored with a highway dedication.
Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) claimed the legislature makes exceptions regularly and could do so for the segment of Highway 287 in Cimarron County from Boise City to the Texas border proposed for the former president's name.
"The name you allude to is probably the most popular president this state has voted for. So, we name highways and bridges after all sorts of popular leaders, famous leaders," Standridge said.
Floyd said she was not aware of any such exemptions in her nine years in the state legislature. She also took issue with the bill's provision to designate the interchange of I-40 and Douglas Boulevard in Midwest City the "U.S. Senator James Inhofe Interchange." Inhofe is alive and currently serving in the U.S. Senate.
Members of the military, law enforcement or firefighters fallen in the line of duty are exempt from the three year requirement. Medal of Honor recipients can still be alive.
While Senate Bill 624 violates state law, there’s significant interest among Republican state lawmakers in dedicating a Trump highway. All voting Republican House members supported the measure last week.
"Is it possible we can get this president to come down and dedicated this stretch of highway or bridge?" Sen. Shane Jett (R-Shawnee) said Thursday.
"Thank you for the question. That would be an amazing event for the state," Standridge said.
Jett also proposed a workaround.
"When I left the United States Navy as an intelligence officer Jan. 1 of 2020, Donald Trump was the commander-in-chief of the United States military, and I believe he would fit that exception. Would you agree?" Jett said.
"Thank you for the question. Yes," Standridge said.
Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (R-Adair) tried to push SB624 across the finish line by making a motion to suspend Senate rules so they could vote on the bill. That motion fell short of a required two-thirds majority, with eight of 39 Senate Republicans voting against it.