Oklahoma Appleseed’s most active push this year was the Oklahoma Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act (HB 1639). This bill would have allowed survivors of domestic violence to introduce evidence of their abuse at the time of sentencing and receive a shorter sentence. It also would have applied retroactively so that survivors serving prison sentences could have those sentences reduced. The bill would have applied to an estimated 150 sentences in the state.
The bill enjoyed widespread success through the House, receiving a unanimous vote, however the retroactivity portion was removed prior to the House floor vote. Advocates with the OK Survivor Justice Coalition continued to push for retroactivity to be restored in conference. When the bill came out of conference on May 20th, it became clear that the authors of the bill did not restore retroactivity.
Advocates held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol to plead with legislators to restore retroactivity and allow those domestic violence victims in prison to be included in the law change. The bill was released from conference but never scheduled on the House floor to be heard with the new language. The bill did not advance to become law this year.
The OK Survivor Justice Coalition has vowed to continue working on the bill in the interim and bring it back next year in its full form.
Statement on HB 1639 in Oklahoma from the OK Survivor Justice Coalition
Full recording for “Survivor Justice Press Conference on HB 1639” held on Tuesday, May 23, 2023
We need your to help pass HB 1639 with retroactivity:
Press links from yesterday’s press conference and vigil:
https://www.oklahoman.com/story/news/politics/government/2023/05/23/oklahoma-legislature-domestic-violence-bill-rally-hb-1639-changes-protested/70243200007/ (front page story)
Rep. Rande Worthen, (405) 557-7398
Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, (405)557-7305
Sen. Julie Daniels, (405)521-5634
We need to get HB 1639 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
“The Senate Judiciary meets Tuesday at 2pm — it’s our last chance to get voted out of the Senate Judiciary committee before the deadline next Thursday.
Can you email the committee members and ask them to vote yes for survivors?
Be kind, respectful, and clear about why you support Oklahoma’s domestic violence survivors”.