Hatewatch

Anti-Immigrant Oklahoma State Rep Accused of Threatening Speaker

Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill is in the press again, this time for reportedly cursing and threatening Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele, a fellow Republican. Terrill, who is rabidly anti-immigrant and a prominent member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), the main organization behind efforts to undermine the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship, is also under investigation for bribery.

Tulsa Today reports that an affidavit signed last week by an unidentified eyewitness says that on March 10, Terrill entered the office of Majority Floor Leader Dan Sullivan and "stated, in approximately the following words, that he ‘knew he needed Senate authors on two of his bills, but that it didn't matter because the fucking retard Speaker wasn't going to hear them anyway – or so that's what the Floor Leader is telling everybody.'" The affidavit also says Terrill said, "in approximately the following words that ‘He thinks he's got one bad leg now, wait until I break his other Goddamned leg.'" Steele was crippled in a childhood accident.

Terrill was reprimanded on Tuesday for his behavior by his fellow legislators. During the debate, Terrill proclaimed his innocence and, according to Tulsa Today, "attacked other members of the House, alleging sexual and other misbehavior, and claiming he was being unfairly targeted by Republican leaders." The vote on Terrill's reprimand was 34-30, with 29 of the House's 31 Democrats and several Republicans voting to abstain. Republicans outnumber Democrats 70-31 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Terrill is one of the most anti-immigrant legislators in the country. He filed his first immigration bill in 2006, but it was considered too harsh and was rejected. His fortunes changed the following year when he put forward Oklahoma's H.B. 1804, one of the harshest state level anti-immigrant bills to become law. The law subjects employers to penalties for discrimination if they fire a legal resident but retain an undocumented worker in a similar position. An appeals court in early 2010 ruled that Oklahoma cannot enforce certain parts of the law.

Later, Terrill co-sponsored a successful bill to place on the 2010 ballot a state constitutional amendment outlawing the use of shariah, or Islamic religious law, in Oklahoma courts. The amendment passed that November with 70% voter approval, even though it has no practical legal impact: Judges have never had the power to rely on shariah or any other legal code to override U.S. law. Four weeks later, a federal judge stayed the amendment after opponents argued that it was an unconstitutional imposition on religious freedom.