2 Patriotic Bills Approved by House Committees, Third Scheduled for Consideration Thursday
OKLAHOMA CITY (22 February 2017) – Patriotism is in full bloom at the State Capitol, embodied in three pieces of legislation in the House of Representatives.
House Bill 1337, the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act,” would ensure that Old Glory can wave unfettered throughout Oklahoma.
The bill, by Rep. Chuck Hoskin, would imprint in state statutes a prohibition against any policy or agreement that would restrict or prevent a member of a residential association from displaying the U.S. flag at “a reasonable height” of no more than 20 feet, on property within the association. The bill expressly refers to an owners association, condominium association, cooperative association or residential real estate management association.
HB 1337 breezed through the House Committee on Business, Commerce and Tourism, 13-0, Wednesday; it was supported by five Democrats and eight Republicans.
Hoskin, D-Vinita, said his measure was prompted by a former Texan who moved to Grand Lake. The man told Hoskin that while in the Lone Star State he lived in a neighborhood that had a homeowners’ association which forbade him from flying the American flag. The ex-Texan asked Hoskin whether Oklahoma safeguards a homeowner’s freedom to fly the flag.
Hoskin, a U.S. Navy veteran, scoured the statutes, and HB 1337 is a result of that search.
The bill is identical to one Hoskin introduced last year which passed the House of Representatives, 91-0, but died in the Senate without receiving a floor vote.
“The truly remarkable thing is that a bill of this type would even be needed in this nation,” Hoskin said.
House Bill 2192 by Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, would expand the list of monuments accepted for placement on the State Capitol grounds.
A monument to the U.S. Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution) was authorized by a bill enacted last year. HB 2192 would also allow “a suitable monument … displaying the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States.” All three amendments arose from the Civil War.
- The 13th Amendment, which was ratified on Dec. 6, 1865, abolished slavery.
- The 14th Amendment, ratified July 9, 1868, contains the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses.
- The 15th Amendment, which was ratified on Feb. 3, 1870, prohibits denial of the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude [a/k/a slavery].
The proposed monument would be designed, constructed and installed on the Capitol grounds “by private entities at no expense to the state,” the legislation pledges.
HB 2192 is scheduled to be considered by the General Government Oversight and Accountability Committee at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
House Bill 2277 would require students in Oklahoma public schools to recite the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag every day rather than just once a week, as current state law mandates. The state statute, in accordance with federal law, authorizes an exemption for students “who do not wish to participate” in the pledge.
In a related matter, state law also requires instruction in the history and etiquette “relating to the United States flag” to be presented “in one or more grades” in every school district in Oklahoma.
HB 2277 was endorsed unanimously by the House Committee on Common Education earlier this month and is on general order in the House, awaiting a floor vote.