The Oklahoma State Senate approved SB 1910 Thursday, by State Senator Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma County, creating a special license plate for Oklahomans wishing to demonstrate support for the Campaign for a United States Department of Peace.
Sen. Johnson said there is a national grassroots effort being led by the Peace Alliance, a nonpartisan citizen action group, which wants Congress to create a federal Department of Peace.
The primary functions of the new agency would be to research, articulate and facilitate nonviolent solutions to domestic and international conflict; to support our military with complementary approaches to ending violence; to provide educational programs to help ameliorate domestic violence, school violence, conflict between law enforcement officers and the community; and to establish an Academy of Peace to train personnel in non-violent conflict resolution.
“Each day, violence is becoming more pervasive in our communities at home and abroad,” Johnson said. “There is nothing more important we can do as a society than to change the direction of our culture towards finding more peaceful solutions to ending violence. These license plates would allow Oklahomans to show their support for peace as well as support for creating a Cabinet-level agency that promotes peaceful solutions to violence. This agency will work with existing departments to improve nonviolent peace-keeping tools at home and abroad.”
Lydia Polley, state coordinator for the Oklahoma Chapter of the Campaign to establish a U.S. Department of Peace, said Oklahoma Peace proponents strongly support Senator Johnson’s bill.
“This bill represents another way to get the name and the concept of peace out there and have people asking questions about it,” Ms. Polley said. “Not enough people know that there is a real possibility to have a Department of Peace and Non-Violence in the federal government.”
The Oklahoma Tax Commission requires a minimum of 100 pre-paid applications within 180 days of the effective date of the authorization before the tag can be designed. The application fee is $15.
“In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.’ Today we have taken a major step in our work for Peace,” Johnson stated.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.