By Rep. Rick West
I was successful in getting Senate Bill 560 passed out of the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee last week with a vote of 8-2. It’s now only two steps away from becoming law. This bill would protect motorists from criminal or civil prosecution when they make a reasonable effort to escape from a crowd unlawfully blocking the road and surrounding the vehicle. This doesn’t mean people who feel they were wrongfully injured in such a situation can’t seek damages, but when law enforcement or judges decide the effort to escape riots or other unlawful situations was reasonable the motorist won’t be prosecuted. The bill now can be heard in the House. If it passes there, it moves to the governor to be signed into law.
Also this past week I had two pages from Spiro High School who came to the Capitol. Mekhi Roberson and Peyton Upchurch grew up together and are close friends. They did a fantastic job for me. I got to take them to lunch on Wednesday and watch them during their mock legislative session. Mekhi even introduced a bill. I was very impressed watching them participate in this governmental exercise. I have high hopes for the future leaders of our state.
On Tuesday last week, I met with two representatives from the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives to talk about getting broadband services into the rural areas of LeFlore County so people can access the education services, telemedicine and other services available through the Internet. To accomplish this we’ll need the help of the electric cooperatives, so this meeting was beneficial.
On March 29, we honored Vietnam War veterans with several resolutions adopted in the House. On this date in 1973, the last American troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam and now it is the day celebrated nationally as Vietnam War Veterans Day. Many representatives also visited the new “Tip of the Spear” exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center. The exhibit features a Huey helicopter – an iconic image from the war, perched atop a representation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, better known as The Wall, in Washington, D.C. It’s a touching exhibit. For all those who served in this war and who felt ignored or disrespected upon their return, I want to say a personal welcome home and thank you for serving your nation and our cause of liberty.
This Tuesday, three commissioners from LeFlore County are coming to the Capitol to meet with State Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz. On May 7, Sec. Gatz will be coming to Poteau and Pocola for meetings on our area roads and bridges. I’m thankful for the secretary’s willingness to meet with us and hopeful we can get some of our road projects underway soon.
Remember to listen to me on KPRV Radio each Thursday morning during the legislative session. And if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at .