Sen. Jonathan Nichols on Monday commended Gov. Brad Henry for taking a strong stand to protect Oklahoma families by signing legislation that establishes stronger penalties for domestic abuse and possession of child pornography.
Senate Bill 1020 would make a first offense of domestic abuse a felony when a “prior pattern of conduct” can be established. Additionally, the measure corrects a loophole in a section of state law that had previously listed possession of child pornography as a misdemeanor. Under SB 1020, all sections of state law now list the crime of child porn possession as a felony.
“By signing this measure, the Governor has made a real difference in the lives of Oklahomans who need help and protection,” said Nichols, R-Norman. “The epidemic of domestic abuse is a blight on our state, and it was imperative that we create stronger sentences so these serious crimes will carry the serious punishments they deserve. I’m pleased to see the measure signed into law and I will continue working to enact legislation that protects Oklahoma families and children.”
According to the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, more than 340,000 women are beaten on a regular basis in Oklahoma. In 2006, Oklahoma ranked seventh in the nation with 33 domestic violence-related homicides. According to the Violence Policy Center, Oklahoma ranks 10th nationally in the rate of women murdered by men.
SB 1020 also increases the punishment for aggravated possession of child pornography to as much as life in prison. Aggravated possession of child pornography would apply in cases where a person possesses more than 100 photographic images of child porn. The measure increases possession of child pornography to as much as 20 years in prison, and also requires anyone convicted of child porn to register as a sex offender.
“It’s imperative that we do everything in our power to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation of children,” Nichols said. “These heinous crimes demand a pro-active approach from the Legislature and law enforcement officials, and they must carry the serious punishments they deserve.”
SB 1020 was carried in the House by Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore.