legislature

Legislative Shenanigans – Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill

CAF

Sitting in committee is a bill that would reform the current civil asset forfeiture policy in Oklahoma. Currently, your property and cash may be seized by law enforcement and kept even if you are never charged with a crime. You may fight to have your property and cash returned but it will cost you. Basically, your property is guilty until proven innocent but even then you will have to pay to get it back. This is obviously a very flawed policy so why would those in charge of protecting our rights refuse to support it?

Per Mark Morris: “Cops in Oklahoma are seizing and spending money taken from US citizens, often with no charges every being brought, to the tune of $18k per day over the past 15 years! It’s getting worse. What am I talking about? People traveling through our state with cash are being robbed at gun point by our police, who are then using it to pay off student loans and live rent free. That’s right.”

Anthony Sykes, the committee chairman, is refusing to hear the bill.  Why would he do that? How can a legislator unilaterally refuse to hear a bill? (Also a flawed policy)

Oklahoma asset forfeiture reform faces stiff opposition


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – An Oklahoma legislator who wants to restrict when police can seize cash and other assets from people they suspect of drug-trade involvement – even without a conviction – fears his colleagues won’t have a chance to take up his idea this session.

The bill by Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Loveless says efforts to reach chairman Sen. Anthony Sykes have gone unanswered. He’s turned to his constituents to help plead his case, asking them to call the Senate leadership to request that his bill be heard.

Sykes did not return requests for comment Thursday or Friday.

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Institute for Justice fellow: Oklahoma has chance to lead with forfeiture bill


[When civil forfeiture pays the bills, police and prosecutors have an incentive to take as much property as possible. Since 2000, law enforcement agencies have collected almost $99 million in forfeiture proceeds. That incentive warps law enforcement priorities, diverting resources toward fat financial targets and away from pursuing justice. For that reason, a recent report from the Institute for Justice, “Policing for Profit,” assigned Oklahoma’s civil forfeiture laws a D-minus grade.]

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Committee Contacts – Reference: SB 1189


Chairman Anthony Sykes
405-521-5569
lewis@oksenate.gov

Vice Chairman Brian Crain
405-521-5620
crain@oksenate.gov

Corey Brooks
405-521-5522
brooks@oksenate.gov

Kay Floyd
405-521-5610
Floyd@oksenate.gov

AJ Griffin
405-521-5628
griffin@oksenate.gov

David Holt
405-521-5636
holt@oksenate.gov

John Sparks
405-521-5553
sparks@oksenate.gov

Rob Standridge
405-521-5535
standridge@oksenate.gov

Greg Treat
405-521-5632
treat@oksenate.gov

Roger Thompson
405-521-5588
Thompson@oksenate.gov

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Events

There are two events upcoming that you may be interested in. For the Stillwater event, advocates and activists are encouraged to attend.

“The Naked Truth About Marijuana”

Wed., Nov. 19, 7pm
OSU Student Union Little Theater
Stillwater, OK,

All marijuana supporters need to come to this free presentation to be certain our opinions are heard by OSU students. The presentation is linked to the Drug Free Action Alliance. The website (drugfreeactionalliance.org) has anti medical marijuana and anti reform statements. I think it is very important for marijuana supporters to be strongly represented at this event.

Interim Studies

Monday, November 24, 2014, 9am
Oklahoma State Capitol Bldg., Room 535
2300 N. Lincoln
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4885

The 3 House studies on medical marijuana will be heard at the same time the Senate will be hearing their interim studies on the same issue.