The House of Representatives joined the Oklahoma Senate in giving unanimous approval to legislation designed to honor Oklahomans who pay the ultimate price in the War on Terror.
The measure, Senate Bill 712, was approved by representatives Monday 99-0. The measure had previously been approved by the Senate on a 47-0 vote. The next stop for the bill is Governor Henry’s desk.
Senator Jay Paul Gumm is the principal author of SB 712. If signed into law, the bill would require the governor to order flags on state property to be flown at half-staff on the day of the memorial service for Oklahomans who are killed in combat.
Further, on such days of remembrance, all state agencies, interested organizations, groups, and individuals would be authorized and requested to fly the flag at half-staff. The director of the Department of Central Services would ensure the law is implemented by all appropriate state agencies.
The bill was a request from a young man who served as a Senate Page during Gumm’s first year in the Senate. Sgt. Todd Anderson of Tishomingo now serves in the U.S. Army and suggested the bill in an email to the senator sent early last fall from Iraq.
“Oklahomans have always supported our troops and embraced efforts to honor them,” said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant.
“Sgt. Anderson thought lowering flags on state property to half-staff would be an excellent way to honor those who gave their very lives fighting for their country. I was proud to introduce his idea – and now, we are only a signature away from it becoming law.”
Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo, carried the bill in the House of Representatives. “We are a free nation because there are those who are willing to sacrifice everything to protect our freedoms,” he said.
“This is an excellent way to remember and honor those who were willing to risk everything for the love of their country. We in Tishomingo are very proud of Todd, and all those who wear the uniform of our nation.”
If signed into law, the bill would become effective July 1, 2009.