State Sen. Crain Working on Political Stalking Legislation

Nov 8, 2013

State Sen. Brian Crain says he is working on legislation for the 2014 session that will make political stalking a misdemeanor.
Credit State of Oklahoma-File photo

State Sen. Brian Crain (R-Tulsa) is drafting legislation that would make political stalking a crime.

Crain plans to file a bill in time for consideration during the 2014 legislative session, which begins in February.

The move comes after an intern with Kathy Taylor's campaign was contacted Nov. 2 by police responding to a suspicious vehicle complaint. The intern admitted he was tracking Mayor Dewey Bartlett's unscheduled movements.

The intern was not cited.

Crain says he's drafting the legislation because a woman who's a neighbor to Bartlett contacted him, saying the event scared her.

"If political campaigns want to follow an opposing candidate, they have a right to," Crain said. "But that right does not extend to the fact that you can do it in such a way that the neighbors, the family, become fearful for their safety or are intimidated that they can't even go in their front yard."

Crain is still writing the legislation, but he plans to make that sort of political surveillance a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail.

He understands the bill will need to be carefully constructed.

"This law would be drafted in such a way that if some individual is on a nice street with beautiful landscaping and wants to read a book, that they can," Crain said.

He also said the potential law would not affect licensed private investigators.