Oklahoma Legislature Calls Special Redistribution Session

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma Legislature called a special session on Monday to approve new maps for the state’s legislative and congressional districts, as hundreds of protesters descended on Capitol Hill to express their opposition to vaccination warrants.

The House and Senate met briefly for procedural votes on bills containing the maps that will be in effect for the next 10 years. Lawmakers are expected to complete their work by the end of the week. New maps are usually approved during the regular session, which ends in May, but a special session was required this year due to a delay in releasing the latest US Census data.

Democrats criticized the new congressional maps as a clear example of gerrymandering, particularly the proposed new 5th District, which Democrat Kendra Horn won in 2018. Republican Stephanie Bice won the seat in 2020, and GOP lawmakers redesigned the map to make it more Republican.

The proposed new map cuts out much of the Democratic precinct from the south side and central core of Oklahoma City and places them in the heavily Republican 3rd District that stretches from northwestern Oklahoma into the Panhandle. The new card also adds more rural voters in Logan and Lincoln counties.

As lawmakers gathered, hundreds of people flooded the Capitol to protest against vaccine mandates for workers. Holding signs reading “I have natural immunity” and “Welcome to the next civil rights movement,” protesters chanted and urged lawmakers to pass bills banning vaccination warrants.

Newly appointed Oklahoma Republican Attorney General John O’Connor, who has filed federal lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine warrants for federal contractors and companies with more than 100 employees, addressed the noisy crowd.

“I had a vaccine. I am not opposed to vaccines. What I am opposed to are the warrants, ”he said.

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