Last week, the Oklahoma legislature overwhelmingly passed protections for free speech and citizen privacy, as the Personal Privacy Protection Act sailed through the Senate, having passed the House earlier in the year. UPDATE: Governor Stitt signed the bill this week.
This is a critical step to protect Oklahomans who contribute to causes they believe in. We continue to see efforts to undermine the right to free speech with aggressive state laws that expose private citizens’ personal information, with the effect of chilling speech.
These aggressive laws go far beyond the usual political campaign regulation, undermining the ability of citizens to effectively engage with their legislators and even give to educational groups.
Whether it is the rise of Antifa, Democrat Presidential candidate Joaquin Castro publishing the personal and business information of contributors to the Trump campaign, or story after story of union intimidation, it is clear that if people’s personal information is revealed, hyper-political interests will abuse that information.
Oklahomans who contribute to non-profit educational groups, advocacy organizations, and alike, should have their privacy protected. They should applaud their legislators for getting protections over the finish line during a difficult time, especially the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Terry O’Donnell, Sen. Kim David, Rep. Lewis Moore, Rep. Mark Lepak, Rep. Jay Steagall, Sen. Micheal Bergstrom.
Oklahoma joins West Virginia, Mississippi, Arizona, and most recently Utah, as states who have enacted these vital measures. Tennessee has a chance to join Oklahoma by passing HB 2665/SB 2886 if and when they return to session, as does Louisiana with HB 303.