Blue Lives Matter bill passes House Committee

Staff Writer

State Rep. Casey Murdock today praised the passage of his Blue Lives Matter Bill in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Judiciary – Criminal Justice & Corrections Committee.

House Bill 1306 creates the Blue Lives Matter in Oklahoma Act of 2017. It provides that any person convicted of, or who pleads guilty or nolo contendere to murder in the first degree of a law enforcement officer, correctional officer or corrections employee while in the performance of their duties shall be punished by death or life in prison without parole.

“Every day that our law enforcement officers put on that uniform and go to work they are putting their lives on the line for us the citizens of this state,” said Murdock, R-Felt. “With this bill, I cannot make their job any safer, but I can give them and their loved ones the assurance that if they are murdered in the course of doing their jobs, their murderer will be brought to justice.”

Murdock said he was inspired to write this legislation after the tragic events that occurred in Dallas and around the country, where snipers were shooting at law enforcement.

“I decided to run a bill ensuring that anyone who murders law enforcement in Oklahoma will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I believe, and think that most Oklahomans would agree, that we need to do our part to back the blue in Oklahoma. Too many times our law enforcement officers are taken for granted and I want to show all the support I can for them and show that I will always back them.”

Murdock worked with Committee Chair Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, along with Rep. John Paul Jordan to make sure the bill was constitutional yet still firm when it comes to dealing with criminals.

“Representative Murdock is very passionate about showing support for law enforcement,” Said Jordan, R-Yukon. “After reviewing his bill, it was realized that we needed to have an option aside from capital punishment for criminals who murder law enforcement. This was done by amending the bill to include the option of life without parole with no possibility of deferred sentencing.”

This bill, however, makes it harder to just get life in prison, said Murdock. Punishment would be either death or life without parole. The bill also requires that an overwhelming amount of mitigating evidence be shown for those convicted to just be given a life sentence.

The bill passed committee with a 10-2 vote and is now eligible to be considered by the full House.