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Sex offender chemical castration bill defeated in Senate committee

Feb 26, 2015 | by Lynn Powell

A Senate panel on Tuesday defeated a measure that would have allowed for the chemical castration of violent sex offenders. The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Senate Bill 671 by Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, by a vote of 5-4 with no debate. The legislation would have applied to sexually violent offenses including rape, rape by instrumentation, lewd or indecent proposals or acts against a child under 16, solicitation of a minor and procuring a minor to participate in pornography.

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau | Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 12:00 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – A Senate panel on Tuesday defeated a measure that would have allowed for the chemical castration of violent sex offenders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Senate Bill 671 by Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, by a vote of 5-4 with no debate.

The legislation would have applied to sexually violent offenses including rape, rape by instrumentation, lewd or indecent proposals or acts against a child under 16, solicitation of a minor and procuring a minor to participate in pornography.

“A person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense may, upon first conviction and in addition to any other punishment provided by law, be required to undergo” chemical castration “as part of any condition of release,” the measure states.

After a second or subsequent conviction, the person would be “required to undergo” chemical castration “or other approved pharmaceutical agent treatment as a condition of release, unless after an appropriate assessment, the court determines that the treatment would not be effective,” it says.

Allen described the legislation as a work in progress. He said he wanted it to apply to offenders who are released early, and that it would reduce incarceration by reducing recidivism.

“It is dead in the water for two years,” he acknowledged after the vote by the committee.

Other committee action: Another Allen measure, Senate Bill 21, heads to the Senate floor after securing approval by a 7-2 vote.

The “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act” is needed to ensure that students are allowed to practice religious freedom in school, Allen said.

But some questioned whether the measure is necessary, saying students already have that freedom.

Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, questioned whether students would be able to give an unresponsive religious answer on homework.

Allen said that would not be the case.

“It seems it is basically trying to implement a law to fix a problem that doesn’t exist,” Floyd said.

The measure requires the state attorney general to defend against lawsuits.

Floyd said school districts already have access to legal help and services.

The panel also passed Senate Bill 715 by Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, which would allow the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to evaluate county jail offenders inside the jail rather than having them transported to outside facilities for evaluation.

The panel did not take up Senate Bill 733 by the panel’s chairman, Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore. It was not on the agenda.

The measure would have required a blood test for sexually transmitted diseases to get a marriage license.

Legislation enacted in 2004 did away with the blood test requirement.

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