With the new year comes new legislation. One of the proposed bills in the Oklahoma State Legislature raised quite a few eyebrows across the country. Republican State Senator Don Barrington is proposing a bill that would make illegal the wearing of any hood or covering that would conceal one’s identity.
Barrington claims to be “(making) businesses and public places safer by ensuring that people cannot conceal their identities for the purposes of crime or harassment.”
It has long be illegal “to wear a mask, hood or covering, which conceals the identity of the wearer during the commission ofa crime or for the purpose of coercion, intimidation or harassment.”
The new bill would make it illegal “to intentionally conceal his or her identify in a public place by means of a robe, mask or other disguise.”
There are exceptions to the law. These exceptions should come as no surprise, with examples such as religious garments, Halloween celebrations and inclement weather.
Though the bill does not specifically mention a hooded sweatshirt, the public considers the bill a “hoodie ban.” Many relate it to the recent police brutality controversy. Oklahoma City Rev. Jesse Jackson, with a group of other Oklahoman ministers, has been wearing hoodies to the pulpit in protest of the proposed bill.
The punishment for breaking this proposed law will be a misdemeanor, with a fine between $50 and $500 dollars or up to a year of county jail time. The bill is set to go into the Oklahoma state legislature upon the opening sessions in February.