The full Senate has given bipartisan, unanimous approval to a measure that would prohibit registered sex offenders from legally changing their names. Senate Bill 1421, by Sen. Kyle Loveless, was approved on Wednesday on a vote of 44-0.
“I was researching another bill and found out about actual cases where registered sex offenders had legally changed their name so they could work in public schools without people knowing they were sexual predators,” said Loveless, R-Oklahoma City. “Sex offenders are very adept at finding ways to deceive people so they can prey on new victims. This bill takes away one of the ways they’ve played the system.”
Loveless said he learned about a case in Lawton where a registered sex offender had been able to get work as a school bus driver after changing his name multiple times to hide his crimes. Another registered sex offender was able to obtain work in a school in Tulsa by changing his name.
“Even at my own church, we had someone apply to work in the nursery—they passed a routine background check under their ‘legal’ name, but when we found out their name had been changed and checked again, we learned this person was a sex offender,” Loveless said. “As a father of two girls, I’ll do whatever I can to protect them and all Oklahoma children from become victims of these predators. SB 1421 is an important part of that effort.”
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.