OKLAHOMA CITY –Legislation to help law enforcement better aid victims of domestic violence has now been approved by both chambers and will next be considered by Gov. Kevin Stitt. Senate Bill 17, by Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, received overwhelming bipartisan support from legislators. The measure enhances Oklahoma’s Lethality Assessment Protocol (LAP) used by law enforcement investigating domestic violence crimes.
The Lethality Assessment is a series of questions officers use to determine how dangerous the situation is for victims of domestic violence. Depending on the results of the assessment, the protocol also ensures victims receive information about available resources, including shelters and other assistance.
Floyd said the assessment was created a few years ago by Dr. Janet Wilson of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. It was the first in the country and considered groundbreaking. In 2014, Floyd, then a member of the House of Representatives, passed the first legislation in the nation enacting the use of LAP statewide, along with her coauthor, former Sen. David Holt, now Mayor of Oklahoma City.
“Since LAP was first enacted, we’ve continued to reassess the protocol from time to time. Dr. Wilson had suggested improvements to the assessment by adding additional questions. The subsequent legislation, SB 17, was developed in close cooperation with the Victim Services Unit of the Office of Attorney General,” Floyd said. “I’m grateful for the hard work of my House author, Representative Bush, and for the members of both chambers for their support. I hope our governor will soon sign this measure into law.”
SB 17 was approved unanimously by the Senate in February and was approved by the House on Thursday on a vote of 93 to 1.
“Giving victims of these terrible crimes resources and hope is of the utmost importance to ensuring they reclaim their lives,” Bush said. “I’m grateful to have been asked to work on this legislation and see it make it to this final step.”
For more information, contact Sen. Kay Floyd, 405-521-5610, or email Kay.Floyd@oksenate.gov