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Group urges making abortion a constitutional right in Oklahoma

As a group pushes to make abortion a constitutional right in Oklahoma, there’s renewed attention to the process they’re trying to use. State Senator Warren Hamilton said he wants to change how many votes are needed to change legislation. Right now, state issues go through with a simple majority, which he says disenfranchises rural Oklahoma. Oklahoma City lawmakers, predictably, have a different opinion. The latest potential state issue making headlines is State Issue 828, which by popular vote would change the state constitution to protect abortion rights. Hamilton announced in a press release that he would table a joint resolution that would require state issues to be passed by a two-thirds majority. Hamilton argued the current system disenfranchised rural Oklahoma and gave only big cities a voice. The McCurtain legislature also claimed it permitted voter fraud, vote-rigging, and extra-state manipulation. “I think the worst thing we could do in Oklahoma right now is reform initiatives to try and rebalance that by saying everyone in Oklahoma needs a voice, everyone in Oklahoma has a voice today,” said Rep. Forrest Bennett. Bennett, who represents Southwest Oklahoma City, said the current system is necessary and argued the Legislature has proven it can’t handle every problem. “From the expansion of Medicaid to the legalization of marijuana, we have maintained the separation of church and state. We codified the death penalty one and a half,” Bennett said. Legislation for the upcoming session has until January 19 to be tabled.

As a group pushes to make abortion a constitutional right in Oklahoma, there’s renewed attention to the process they’re trying to use.

State Senator Warren Hamilton said he wants to change how many votes are required to change the law. Right now, state issues pass by a simple majority, which he says disenfranchises rural Oklahoma.

As expected, lawmakers in Oklahoma City see things differently.

The latest potential state issue making headlines is State Issue 828, which by popular vote would change the state constitution to protect abortion rights. Hamilton announced in a press release that he would table a joint resolution that would require a two-thirds majority to pass state issues.

Hamilton argued the current system disenfranchised rural Oklahoma and gave only big cities a voice. The McCurtain legislature also claimed it permitted voter fraud, vote-rigging, and extra-state manipulation.

“I think the worst thing we could do in Oklahoma right now is reform initiatives. Over 50% of the state of Oklahoma lives in our urban areas. To try to balance that by saying everyone in Oklahoma needs a vote, everyone in Oklahoma has a vote today,” said Rep. Forrest Bennett.

Bennett, who represents southwest Oklahoma City, said the current system is necessary, arguing lawmakers have proven they can’t handle all the problems.

“From the expansion of Medicaid to the legalization of marijuana, we have maintained the separation of church and state. We have codified the death penalty. We’ve done a lot as voting measures over the past decade and a half,” Bennett said.

Legislation for the next session can be submitted until January 19th.

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