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$500 fine for wearing a hoodie proposed in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- It could soon be illegal for people in Oklahoma to wear clothing that covers their faces, including hooded sweatshirts.

It's already illegal to wear such clothing during the commission of a crime. But a Republican state senator has introduced an amendment to ban people from hiding their identity in public in general.

"If somebody is out running, especially in this kind of weather, where it's cold, drizzly, you might be inclined to wear your hoodie while you're at Lake Hefner," attorney James Siderias said.

Under the proposal, the fine for hiding your identity in public would be $500.

"I think this is a violation of an individual's right to choose what they want to wear as long as it doesn't violate the realm of public decency and moral values, and I think that this could be very problematic," Siderias said.

State Sen. Don Barrigton authored the amendment. He said he wants to help victims of robberies.

"Oklahoma businesses want state leaders to be responsive to their safety concerns and this is one way we can provide protection," he said.

"I think the legislature is just trying to make Oklahoma a little bit safer, and in doing so, I think they just over-reached a little bit," Siderias said.

Added Tracy Wehagen, owner of Hooded Sweatshirt: "They might have personal issues for keeping them on, they might have a bad hair day or maybe they have cancer or their losing their hair, you just don't know why."

The amendment does provide exceptions to the rule. It would not apply to people dressing up for Halloween, masquerade parties or parades.

People required to cover their faces because of religious beliefs would also be exempt.

The proposal adds that people who have to cover their faces for safety or medical purposes or for protection from the weather would also be exempt.

 

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