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Lawmaker's bill said 'furries' should be picked up by animal control

The Oklahoma lawmaker was called racist for one bill's language, and in another he targeted students who dress like animals after hearing stories.
Lawmaker criticized over 'fear mongering' bill aimed at 'furries'
Posted at 2:47 PM, Jan 20, 2024

Under Oklahoma's House Bill 3084, students who "purport to be an imaginary animal … commonly referred to as 'furries' shall not be allowed to participate in school" activities or curriculum.

The state's Rep. Justin Humphrey said he authored the bill after hearing similar stories in other states, but didn't appear to make specific examples widely known.

"Do you think that kind of behavior distracts from other students? I would say absolutely," said Rep. Humphrey.

The bill's draft language says students would be required to be picked up by a parent, guardian or even by "animal control." However, Humphrey told Scripps News Tulsa that part of the bill was meant to be sarcastic, or a joke. 

"We can always change the language in that. We should get these kids to some mental health experts," he said. 

He claimed a friend told him of one alleged story that he claimed happened in Oklahoma which is what inspired him to write the bill. 

Oklahoma's House Bill 3133, also authored by Humphrey, would require labeling a known gang member as a "terrorist," if convicted of a gang-related offense. But, that is only if they are of Hispanic descent the bill says. 

Humphrey said he was prompted to introduce the bill because of a U.S. border and fentanyl crises, but now he wants to change the language. He said after listening to concerns, he thinks the wording should be changed to an undocumented or illegal individual, rather than "of Hispanic descent."

Reports on the bill made it into international headlines, with the Guardian pointing out criticism on social media calling the language racist. 

"Politicians never seem to want to say 'I'm wrong' — I have no problem… I'm wrong quite a bit," Humphrey told Scripps News Tulsa.

Representative Jacob Rosecrants, who was vocal about both bills on social media, said the "furries" bill is nothing but pandering during an election year.

"It purports to fix a problem that was never a problem," he said.

Rosecrants said he used to ignore bills he considered outrageous, but now he says he has concerns they could slip through the cracks.

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While Humphrey indicated the language in his two bills could change, Rosecrants said any draft of a bill targeting people of Hispanic descent can be damaging, whether it passes or not.

"It shouldn't even be spoken, that bill is horrible," he said. "A lot of people don't understand the process. They don't understand it has to go through the House and the Senate, they don't understand — they see [the bill] and they're scared instantly and that's the problem with these fear-mongering bills," he said.

Humphrey admitted the "furries" bill was more designed to make people aware of the practice, rather than suggesting that it is actually a problem in schools.

Rosecrants said, meanwhile, he is focused on his own bill — which wants to require that kids get at least 30 minutes of recess and at all Oklahoma schools.

This story was originally published by Erin Christy at Scripps News Tulsa

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