OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans gathered at the State Capitol rotunda for a rally on Saturday to support fourth Amendment rights. Moderated by Amanda Teegarden of OK-SAFE, speakers addressed privacy rights and laws currently affecting those rights. Keynote speaker Amie Stepanovich spoke about the use of unmanned drones for surveillance, which has recently become an issue in the state of Oklahoma. Representatives from the organizations EPIC and OK ACLU spoke on privacy rights issues as well.
The event also addressed three pieces of legislation, House Bills 1556, 1557, and 1559, all of which would help protect fourth Amendment rights in Oklahoma.
In attendance was Steve Dickson, who is running for Oklahoma County GOP Chair. I asked him to share his views on the state of our fourth Amendment rights. “The fourth Amendment gets missed sometimes,” he said. “It seems like is taking away our privacy, while hiding everything it does.” Dickson argues the government should be more transparent. Also, he dislikes the income tax system, as it discloses to the Federal government citizens’ personal incomes, and is in favor of the fair tax system instead.
Dickson says government in Oklahoma has grown too large under decades of Democrat control, but now that Republicans hold a majority of State offices, the Party is not doing an effective job of advancing Republican ideals. He would like to see the size of government reduced in Oklahoma, and to reduce its overreach into the private lives of citizens. As County Chair he would like to make the party more organized and transparent. Dickson says the Republican Party has lost votes in Oklahoma County over the last few years, and phone numbers of precinct chairs and other publicly elected ground-level party members are not publicly available, even to Republican candidates running for office. He would like to make that public in order to help grassroots involvement.
Steve Dickson and Matt Jackson are the only candidates running for the chairmanship in Oklahoma County. I am currently contacting Mr. Jackson as well and will post his comments here when I receive them. The election will take place during the Oklahoma County Republican Convention March 23.
UPDATE: Some of the legislation concerning 4th Amendment rights is making its way through the legislative process. Kay Beach has reported some of this on her blog.
- Biometric Exemption Bill Passed Committee 12-0!
- Oklahoma Unmanned Surveillance Act Passes Committee 23-4!