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Bill aimed at requiring children to wear seatbelts in Oklahoma hits another roadblock


A child seatbelt bill has hit another roadblock in committee on Monday.The bill would require people 17 and younger to wear seatbelts in the back seat of cars, but it failed in the House Public Safety Subcommittee by one vote. It’s another defeat for the legislation that supporters say is meant to keep children safe.The measure has hit roadblock after roadblock the past few years, even with amendments to exempt farm equipment – which was a concern for some members. Others were concerned about telling parents what to do.The bill’s co-author, state Rep. Ross Ford, said he’s surprised and disappointed.“I was a Tulsa police officer for 27 years. I’ve seen the trauma and the tragic deaths of kids in this age range,” said Ross, R-Broken Arrow. “This is one of the largest contributors to death in that age range, is not wearing a seatbelt.”The bill already failed once in the Senate, but then just narrowly passed on a second-chance vote. At the time, state Sen. Casey Murdock questioned whether it’s the state’s job to be involved.“So, it’s now our duty to punish unresponsible parents and tell them what to do?” Murdock, R-Felt, asked March 3 on the Senate floor. “So, what you’re saying is we need one more law to tell unresponsible people that … how to live their lives and what they have to do? Is that what you’re saying? We need one more of these?”Because the bill was voted down in committee, it likely means that language won’t have another chance to pass until 2023.

A child seatbelt bill has hit another roadblock in committee on Monday.

The bill would require people 17 and younger to wear seatbelts in the back seat of cars, but it failed in the House Public Safety Subcommittee by one vote. It’s another defeat for the legislation that supporters say is meant to keep children safe.

The measure has hit roadblock after roadblock the past few years, even with amendments to exempt farm equipment – which was a concern for some members. Others were concerned about telling parents what to do.

The bill’s co-author, state Rep. Ross Ford, said he’s surprised and disappointed.

“I was a Tulsa police officer for 27 years. I’ve seen the trauma and the tragic deaths of kids in this age range,” said Ross, R-Broken Arrow. “This is one of the largest contributors to death in that age range, is not wearing a seatbelt.”

The bill already failed once in the Senate, but then just narrowly passed on a second-chance vote. At the time, state Sen. Casey Murdock questioned whether it’s the state’s job to be involved.

“So, it’s now our duty to punish unresponsible parents and tell them what to do?” Murdock, R-Felt, asked March 3 on the Senate floor. “So, what you’re saying is we need one more law to tell unresponsible people that … how to live their lives and what they have to do? Is that what you’re saying? We need one more of these?”

Because the bill was voted down in committee, it likely means that language won’t have another chance to pass until 2023.

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