Archive for the ‘Rep. Pam Peterson’ Category

Podcast: Tulsa Lawmakers Author Language to Close Loophole in State Rape Law

April 16, 2008

To Listen to the Podcast, Click Here

Sen. James A. Williamson (R-Tulsa) and Rep. Pam Peterson (R-OKC) have unveiled language to close a loophole in Oklahoma criminal statutes. The Tulsa Republicans crafted the measure after a Tulsa County judge was forced to reduce charges against an accused rapist from first-degree rape to second-degree rape. Williamson:

There’s a case in Tulsa County right now where a male nurse is accused of raping a patient who was sedated. The nurse was initially charged with first-degree rape, but the judge said under current law, a victim who has been drugged or is unconscious at the time of the assault can only be charged with second-degree rape. It is tragic a crime had to occur before this problem came to light, but now it is our responsibility to amend this law to allow the strongest punishment possible.

Williamson said he had approached Sen. Jonathan Nichols (R-Norman), about amending one of his bills to include the language clarifying the definition of first-degree rape. Nichols said he would support such an amendment

As a former prosecutor, and father of two daughters, I am thankful that Senator Williamson has identified and is closing this terrible loophole in the laws against rape. Rape committed by use of sedatives or any such drugs should absolutely be first-degree rape and carry the maximum punishment.

Peterson said she was stunned to learn that an assault on someone who had been drugged could only result in a charge of second-degree rape:

If you’ve been given an intoxicating narcotic or anesthetic, there is no way you can consent to sex. It seems obvious to any lay person the charge should be first-degree rape, but the way the law is currently written, it isn’t. I contend it shouldn’t matter that the victim was drugged at the time. Rape is rape.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said the difference is a maximum penalty of 15 years for second-degree rape versus up to life in prison for first-degree rape. He applauded the lawmakers for their efforts to correct the language in current law that prevents the charge of first-degree rape from being pursued:

It is frustrating to find an oversight in state law that thwarts justice, but I am very pleased to have been able to work with Senator Williamson and Representative Peterson to fix this law. I think it is important for the safety of Oklahoma citizens everywhere.

Podcast: Pro-Life Legislation Passes Senate

April 10, 2008

Click here to listen to Sen. Lamb urge members to support SB 1878

An omnibus pro-life bill passed the Oklahoma State Senate Wednesday with a bipartisan vote.

Senate Bill 1878 by Senator Todd Lamb (R-Edmond), and Representative Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa), contains several pro-life initiatives, passing the Senate with a vote of 38-10.

By combining various pieces of legislation from Senator Lamb and members of the House of Representatives, Senate Bill 1878 now does the following:

  • Creates the Freedom of Conscience Act which protects the rights of healthcare providers to refuse to take part in the destruction of human life (SB 1878—Sen. Lamb, Rep. Peterson)
  • Regulates the use of the dangerous chemical pill RU-486, used when the unborn child is about two months old (HB 2181—Rep. McNiel)
  • Ensures the mother’s consent to abort is truly voluntary, and protects against coerced abortions (HB 3059—Sen. Williamson, Rep. Hamilton)
  • Provides a woman with an ultrasound of her unborn child which she can view prior to undergoing the abortion (HB 3144—Sen. Lamb, Rep. Billy)
  • Cultivates respect for disabled children by banning the wrongful-life lawsuits that claim a baby would have been better off aborted (HB 2814—Sen. Crain, Rep. Sullivan)

Senator Lamb:

The provisions spelled out in this legislation are critical pro-life advances. Working with pro-life members of the House and Senate to protect the sanctity of life and develop this comprehensive bill has been an honor. I am encouraged by the bipartisan support to protect innocent life today in the Senate.

Representative Peterson:

I appreciate the Senate’s swift action and hope Governor Henry will quickly sign the bill into law. The legislation enacts several common-sense reforms respecting the sanctity of life that have been embraced by members of both political parties…[Noting that four women serving in the Legislature authored provisions of Senate Bill 1878] This legislation is pro-woman, pro-child and pro-life. The more information a woman can have before making this life-altering decision, the better. I hope Governor Henry will do the right thing this year and sign this legislation into law.

Last year, Henry vetoed pro-life legislation that would have prevented taxpayer funds from being used for elective abortions. When the measure was revived and approved by veto-proof margins, the governor let the bill become law without his signature.

The next stop for Senate Bill 1878 will be the Governor’s desk for his signature.