OKLAHOMA CITY – – Sen. Ralph Shortey has announced a public forum scheduled for Monday, February 13 at Oklahoma City Community College to discuss questions about Senate Bill 512, which is aimed at changing pieces of the new criminal justice reform laws that were approved by voters last November. State Questions 780 and 781 included changes in the law to make possession of all drugs a misdemeanor and redirects state funds to drug treatment programs among many other changes.
“State Questions 780 and 781 changed 23 sections of law in three different titles and resulted in many unintended consequences that most people didn’t realize, given the description on the ballot was only 200 words long,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City. “For example, one of these unintended consequences includes making possession of the date rape drug a misdemeanor instead of a felony. My intention in filing SB 512 isn’t to repeal the November vote on SQ 780 and 781, but rather, to give the opportunity to fix and modify portions of the law so it better encompasses the true goal of criminal justice reform.”
“Most media outlets have mischaracterized this bill as a complete repeal of the reforms voters approved in November. Through all my interviews with media outlets, I have made it very clear that I will not be repealing 780 and 781 but rather I want to fix some serious issues that were created and to enact changes that will better carry out the will of the people. Without a doubt, it’s tough to go back and reassess these changes after the modifications have already been voted into law, and I’ve been criticized in the media and by the public for appearing to want to repeal these reforms before they’re even enacted, but the unintended consequences were not fully weighed when the state questions were put out for voters last year. This is simply an attempt to ensure the criminal justice reforms we carry out are a true reflection of the original intentions.”
Shortey will host the town hall meeting on Monday, February 13 at Oklahoma City Community College at 6:30pm in room CU-1 & 2. The address for OCCC is 7777 South May Ave. in Oklahoma City. This will be the first of many forums he intends to hold as the legislature considers criminal justice reforms. The forum will be open to the public and Shortey encourages anyone with an interest to attend.