(The Center Square) – Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm has filed three bills that he says are an attempt to protect residents' rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed the proposed measures on Monday that, among other things, would prevent local and state governments from issuing mask mandates.
“As we start a new year and prepare to begin a new legislative session, it’s time we focus on the core reason for the institution of government – protecting people’s rights,” Dahm said in a news release. “We’ve seen mayors, city councilors and government bureaucrats across this state issue edicts and dictates infringing on the rights of the people. The bills I’m introducing are aimed at protecting people’s rights, and I look forward to the legislature joining me in passing these much-needed protections.”
Senate Bill 224 would forbid cities and counties from requiring residents to wear masks on public or private property.
“If business owners or private property owners want to require masks on their own property, that is a choice they can make,” Dahm said. “However, government forcing private property owners to comply under threat of penalty is beyond their delegated powers.”
SB 223 would prohibit the state of Oklahoma and other governments in the state from forcing people to take immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine. It also would prohibit the state from requiring a vaccine to receive any government services.
“We’ve heard suggestions from government bureaucrats that they intend to force or require the COVID-19-vaccine in order to travel, attend school, and similar requirements,” Dahm said. “Our rights are not contingent upon vaccination status, and whether or not to take the vaccine should be up to each individual – not forced or coerced by the government.”
And SB 255 would make participation in contact tracing efforts voluntary protect protects resident's private data.
“Our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution the right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers and effects,” Dahm said. “That right doesn’t stop during emergency situations and must always be protected. “
Each bill contains an emergency provision so it would become law immediately upon passage and signature by the governor.
“With the chance of a special session to assist government agencies during COVID, we have the possibility to also protect the rights of Oklahoma citizens,” Dahm said. “Even without a special session, we could move these bills quickly through the legislature when we convene in February to restore the people’s rights and limit and restrain government.”