Oklahoma Stewardship Council says HB2132 is response to defeat of SQ 777 (Norman Transcript)

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 7, 2017 – The Oklahoma Stewardship Council (OSC) says a bill pending before the state lawmakers is nothing more than a legislative scheme to undermine the will of Oklahoma voters.

The OSC, a coalition of family farmers, community leaders and concerned citizens, was the lead organization opposing State Question 777 in last fall’s election. The group’s chairman, former Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson, said the language in House Bill 2132 is a misguided attempt at a legislative end-around which will grant many of the same dangerous legal protections that were the intent of SQ 777.


“This is just another brazen effort by the legislature to ignore the voice of the people,” Edmondson said. “We’ve seen it repeatedly this session. For example, voters approved needed changes to our criminal justice system by passing SQ 780 and SQ 781 but our elected leaders proposed legislation to roll back those reforms. Voters soundly beat back the legal protections proposed in SQ 777, but once again, here comes the legislature with a ploy to thwart the will of the people, this time in the form of HB2132.”

SQ 777, which was overwhelmingly defeated in November, proposed the highest level of constitutional legal protections to a broad range of agricultural activities. The OSC argued the proposal’s language was so expansive and the protections so complete that it virtually prohibited local, county and state officials from enacting necessary and reasonable regulations.


“HB2132 is basically SQ 777 on steroids,” Edmondson said. “Under HB2132, corporations can create so-called ‘prosperity districts’ which basically grant those who conduct business there the ability to operate with little to no regulation. This bill shifts governance within the designated zones away from elected city councils and state lawmakers and gives the power to a non-elected board that is not answerable to the citizens. That’s bad policy, plain and simple.”

Other local organizations, including the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Policy Institute, are warning Oklahomans of the dangers of HB2132.

“When you look at the powers behind this bill you find out-of-state corporate interests,” Edmondson said. “Just like with SQ 777, I understand why these huge corporations would want to operate with impunity, but I can’t fathom why our legislature would want to let them.”


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