Senator rips 1804 author
BY MICK HINTON World Capitol Bureau
Friday, December 07, 2007
12/07/07 at 1:14 AM
Calling for repeal of the state's
immigration bill, the senator says
its author is a "mad scientist."
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Sen. Harry
Coates on Thursday called fellow
Republican Rep. Randy Terrill, author of Oklahoma's controversial immigration legislation, "a mad scientist and Oklahoma is his laboratory."
Coates said Terrill, who has recently proposed even stricter immigration legislation, is getting "wackier and wackier" and his rhetoric has
"When you say that mothers who
have dark skin should not be able to
receive prenatal care, I find that racist," Coates said.
Terrill has objected to the state's
Medicaid agency approving a rule
that would allow payments for prenatal care to mothers who are in the
"So Coates is playing the race
card," Terrill said. "This is outrageous and insulting. He is doing a
disservice to his own cause with this
At a state Capitol news conference, Coates called for repeal of sections of House Bill 1804, whose primary author was Terrill, R-Moore.
Coates said he has both economic
and moral concerns about the bill,
portions of which went into
effect Nov. 1.
"What people don't seem
to realize is that the chilling
effect of this law has resulted
in the loss of both documented and undocumented employees," Coates said. "These
are good jobs and they pay
good wages, but few American workers are willing to
Jack Gray, whose Oklahoma City roofing company has
been in business more than
100 years, said he hasn't lost
any business, "but we will not
be able to bid on any future
business. There are not
enough Americans who are
willing to work construction."
Rep. Shane Jett, R-Tecumseh, said he will introduce a
bill to create a pilot program
where workers could buy a
tax number identification
card that would be an affidavit documenting a good-faith
intent and effort to comply
with Oklahoma law.
"I don't believe there is a
state representative or senator who intended to have a
family living in fear," Jett
said. "The family is the first
institution consecrated by
God, and I believe it's our re
sponsibility to protect families."
Terrill has proposed another bill he is calling "Son of
1804" that may contain provisions such as seizing the
property of those who knowingly harbor and assist illegal
Following a press conference at the state Capitol,
Coates said Terrill's actions
are "the result of not reining
in a bad idea."
But Terrill said 80 percent
of Oklahomans are in favor
Terrill pointed out that
House Bill 1804 was handily
approved by both the House
and Senate and signed by
Gov. Brad Henry.
Some lawmakers have said
it was impossible to vote
against House Bill 1804 because of the political considerations. Asked whether lawmakers voted for the bill
because they thought they
had to, Coates said if so,
"they are not showing proper
leadership, if you know it is a
bad bill and you vote for it
Terrill said Coates' comments "would be laughable if
they did not come from a senator who derives most of his
income from the construction and building trade."
Coates said he is a construction consultant, which
provides him with information about what is happening
with some businesses, but he
does not have any employees
working for him.
Mick Hinton (405) 528-2465