Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Today, the Oklahoma Legislature came to a close with the state ballot measure process intact, despite efforts to weaken it.
Earlier this year, the Oklahoma House passed Joint Resolution 1059, which would have required constitutional amendments to pass with at least 55% of the vote instead of a simple majority. The resolution did not advance in the state senate before a key legislative deadline, rendering it dead for the session.
Bills like HJR 1059 are a thinly veiled attempt by extremist legislators to block citizen-led campaigns to place questions on the ballot through Oklahoma’s referendum process. Attacks like this are exactly why Fairness Project launched the Ballot Measure Rescue Campaign to defend direct democracy across the country.
The state’s legislature did pass a bill on Wednesday that bans nearly all abortions starting at fertilization. The new law, which takes effect immediately, is the most restrictive abortion ban in the country.
Access to direct democracy through ballot measures could help preserve the right to safe and legal access to abortion within states, and it’s currently playing out in the Fairness Project-backed campaign in Michigan to enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution.
In reaction to this, Fairness Project Executive Director Kelly Hall released the following statement:
“Democracy in Oklahoma survived this legislative session after an under-the-radar attack was waged on the ballot measure process. While this is a win for the residents of Oklahoma, the legislature also dealt a devastating blow to reproductive rights this week after passing the most extreme abortion ban in the country.
This is exactly why we must fight to protect this precious part of our democracy–so that when extremist politicians take away our freedoms, voters can bring forward people-powered ballot measures to take matters into their own hands and correct wildly unpopular and backwards policies.”
If you would like to interview Kelly Hall, Executive Director of Fairness Project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.