Did you know that wearing a hoodie in Oklahoma could get you a $500 fine?
That could very well be the case, according to a proposed bill that would make it a crime to wear a hooded sweatshirt, or hoodie, in public
KFOR TV reports that although the wearing of hoods or similar head coverings during the commission of a crime has been against state law since the 1920s, the new proposal would ban a person from intentionally hiding “his or her identity in a public place by means of a robe, mask, or other disguise” even if the person was not involved in a crime.
The original intent of the law was to curb violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan. Under the proposed law, anyone caught violating it would be guilty of a misdemeanor that’s punishable by a fine up to $500.
Exemptions, according to the language in the bill, include religious garments, weather protection, safety or medical purposes, parades, Halloween celebrations, masquerade parties, “minstrel troupes,” circuses, sporting groups, mascots or “other amusements or dramatic shows.”
News of the proposed bill has many Oklahoma residents concerned in light of the bill’s language still being overly broad and easily misconstrued to ban hooded sweatshirts on any occasion.
“I think this is a violation of an individual’s right to chose what they want to wear as long as it doesn’t violate the realm of public decency and moral values, and I think this could be very problematic,” Oklahoma City attorney James Siderias told KFOR.
Despite the uproar, the bill’s author, state Sen. Don Barrington (R), told the station that the bill’s goal is simply to help deter crime.
“The intent of Senate Bill 13 is to make businesses and public places safer by ensuring that people cannot conceal their identities for the purpose of crime or harassment. … Similar language has been in Oklahoma statutes for decades and numerous other states have similar laws in place,” he said. “Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns, and this is one way we can provide protection.”