- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A bill awaiting Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature would authorize Oklahoma district attorneys and law enforcement agencies to contract for the use of cameras and automated license plate readers to enforce the state’s compulsory insurance law.

The bill recently passed the state House of Representatives on a 52-39 vote, its final step before going to the governor, The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/1Xhsmph ) reported.

Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said during debate on the House floor Friday that there are 650,000 uninsured motorists driving in Oklahoma. He said they create a financial risk and danger for insured drivers.

“Let’s send a message,” Sears said. “If you’re going to drive in Oklahoma, you’ve got to have insurance.”

Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia, and Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, argued against the measure, saying the bill is an expansion of police state powers.

One provision would allow car license plates to be photographed for prosecution purposes not only on public roads, but also on “any private road, street, alley or lane which provides access to one or more single-family or multifamily dwellings,” Morrissette noted.

“I don’t like the concept of this,” Moore said. “I would encourage us to seek a better remedy that doesn’t require more spying on people with these cameras.”

Under the bill, Oklahoma district attorneys would be authorized to send out letters to offenders, offering to enter into deferred prosecution agreements if the offenders agree to pay a fee, said Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, who supports the bill.

“The fine would be $169, which we’ve determined to be a whole lot less than somebody would pay if they were caught by the police and have to go through the system and potentially get their tag and their car taken away,” Walker said. “This is actually a win for everybody, including the person that doesn’t have insurance.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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