Majority Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, and State. Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, filed legislation today that would make State Question 780 retroactive.
House Bill 1269 would provide post-conviction relief to Oklahomans whose convictions took place prior to State Question 780 passing but would have been affected had SQ780 been in place.
State Question 780 changed certain non-violent drug- and theft-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, which come with a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of $1,000, thereby reducing the number and duration of state prison sentences for those crimes.
“It is time for Oklahoma to get out of the business of arresting and prosecuting individuals afflicted by drug addiction,” Dunnington said. “We have Oklahomans that are labeled as felons, and their crimes would be legal or a much lesser crime today. These folks are disenfranchised, and their families are suffering. This legislation seeks to heal these wounds and continue Oklahoma down the road of responsible criminal justice reform.”
Dunnington and Echols, who have worked together on bipartisan legislation in the past, said they see this bill as a chance for lawmakers to come together and do what is best for Oklahoma.
“The people of Oklahoma have spoken loud and clear on the issue of criminal justice reform,” Echols said. “I look forward to working with members of both parties to find not Democratic or Republican solutions, but Oklahoma solutions to the issues facing this state. This bill will be a great step in that direction.”