April 10, 2012
The Oklahoma state Senate voted down a bill that would have prohibited state judges from considering foreign laws, including religious laws, in their decisions, the Religion News Service reports. House Bill 1552 was widely considered to be targeting sharia (Islamic law), as have other bills in several other state legislatures. State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) submitted HB 1552 last year after a similar law approved by voters in a 2010 referendum was ruled unconstitutional. Oklahoma's House of Representatives approved the new bill by a vote of 76-3 in 2011, but it wasn't heard in a Senate committee until this year. On April 5, the Senate Rules Committee rejected it in a 9-6 vote. In other states, including Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota and New Jersey, other anti-foreign law bills have also recently died or been withdrawn, but David Yurushalmi, a lawyer for the conservative Center for Security Policy that drafted the legislation on which the anti-sharia bills have been based, is not discouraged: "There is a strong grassroots movement that supports this legislation and that will keep putting these bills forward," he said.