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Oklahoma Senate passes protections for drivers who hit protesters blocking roadways

Oklahoma’s Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would provide legal protections to drivers who hit protesters blocking roadways, FOX23 reported

The legislation, House Bill 1674was passed in a 38-10 vote by the Senate and will now head to Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) for his signature.

Oklahoma Democrats argued that the bill will be harmful to peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders, as it could lead to more punishment for them. 

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But the state's Republicans argue that it will protect drivers and their families who are in the middle of an unorganized protest. 

The debate was triggered in part by an incident last year in which a driver pulling a trailer drove through a crowd of protesters on a highway in Tulsa, Okla., forcing some of those demonstrating to the edges of an overpass. One person fell off the overpass.

No charges were filed against the driver, however, and some Republican lawmakers arguing in favor of the new legislation said the incident showed the need for their measure.

“The kids cowered in the back seat because they feared for their lives,” state Sen. Rob Standridge (R) said in the FOX23 report, referring to last year's incident. “That’s what this bill is about.”