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Oklahoma GOP Lawmakers Planning North Carolina HB2-Style Anti-Trans Bathroom Amendment

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LGBT Advocates Vow Immediate Lawsuit if Measure Passes

Oklahoma GOP lawmakers reportedly plan to attach an anti-transgender “bathroom” amendment, similar to North Carolina’s HB2, to the state’s budget bill before the legislative session ends next week. 

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Anti-LGBT Sen. Joseph Silk (photo), who authored an anti-trans bathroom bill that died earlier in the session, told KOCO-TV that he and others are “exploring all [their] options.” 

“It’s not just me,” Silk said. “There’s a lot of members of the Senate that are very concerned. We’re hearing from the public.” 

Silk has called LGBT people a “radical, intolerant, movement,” and said “they are a threat to our freedoms and liberties in the United States and Oklahoma.” He drew national attention – and derision – last year for saying LGBT people “don’t have a right to be served in every single store.”

“People need to have the ability to refuse service if its violates their religious convictions,” he continued, adding, “I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”

Aaron Cooper, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, told The Tulsa World that constituents are “registering their complete frustration and disappointment in the federal government,” in response to the Obama administration’s directive last week requiring public schools to allow trans students to use restrooms based on their gender identity. 

“The Oklahoma Senate is examining its options in responding to what is arguably the most egregious example of executive overreach to occur during the Obama administration,” Cooper said.

Sen. Brian Crain added: “We are looking to provide a response for those students who have objections to sharing bathrooms and shower facilities with a transgender student. And we are trying to provide instruction and direction to school administrators when they are faced with this situation and doing so in response to the outcry many senators have heard from concerned parents throughout the state.”

Troy Stevenson, executive director of the statewide LGBT group Freedom Oklahoma, threatened an immediate lawsuit if such an amendment is passed. 

“Transgender individuals are under the care of a doctor,” Stevenson told KOCO-TV. “It is a long process This is not something that somebody just one day decides needs to happen, and the fearmongering going on with it is absurd.” 

Stevenson and Toby Jenkins, executive director of Tulsa’s Oklahomans for Equality, accused GOP lawmakers of trying to create a distraction from the state’s $1.3 billion budget shortfall. 

“It could not have come at a better time for our legislators,” Jenkins said of the Obama administration’s directive, “who are notorious for not taking care of the real business of government but meddling and messing and wasting time over silly things that do not move this state forward and do not protect working-class families.” 

Lawmakers are expected to come up with a budget by 5 p.m. May 27, according to The Tulsa World. 

 

Image: Screenshot via YouTube

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‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”

“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”

Critics aren’t buying his claims.

Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.

“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.

“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.

“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.

Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor got up and left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”

Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”

Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.

“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up  $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.

Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:

And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”

“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then.  He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”

“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”

 

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‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns

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The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.

Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”

“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”

Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.

“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Right Wing Host at NRA Convention Likens 18 Year Olds Buying Guns to 3rd Graders Deciding Gender

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A host from a right-wing streaming service covering the NRA convention in Houston decided to compare conservatives’ growing active opposition to the rights and existence of transgender people, to the majority of Americans demanding expanded gun control legislation.

“We are being told by the left that a third-grader has the knowledge to determine if they were born a boy or they were born a girl, whether or not they want to stay that gender that they were born with,” said Brian Glenn, Right Side Broadcasting’s director of programming and correspondent.

“And if we feel like at a third grade you can make decisions on your gender, then I think by the time you’re 18 you should have enough maturity – assuming you’re not a complete psychopath – to buy a handgun and exercise your Second Amendment.”

Of course, that hypothetical third-grader is harming exactly no one and later can reverse that decision if they choose, which the vast majority do not.

That hypothetical 18-year old, or, in the case of this week’s horrific tragedy, an actual 18-year old, buying two AR-15 style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within three days of their 18th birthday, gunning down 21 people including 19 elementary school children, cannot reverse any of those decisions.

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