The Woodward News

Local News

April 25, 2008

Governor signs trespassing law

For the first time in 10 years, after much work on the part of many agriculture organizations and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, trespassing legislation with some teeth has become law.

Senate Bill 2111, which ups the fines for trespassing for a second offense from $250 to a minimum of $500 to $1,000 and also allows the court to make trespassers pay for the damage they cause, was signed into law this week by Gov. Brad Henry, according to spokesman for the Governor, Paul Sund.

“That bill is already law and today or tomorrow he should act on the other bill,( SB 1735),” Sund said.

It is a win for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers said Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Legislative Issues Director, Scott Dewald.

Dewald spoke to the Woodward News while at the state Capital during what he calls a pivotal time when legislative bills crop up that could impact farmers and ranchers in the state.

Dewald has spent the last two months making contact with Gov. Henry’s office to determine the fate of two hard-won Senate bills, 2111 and its sister 1735. Both increase fines for trespassing on second offense and also provide a means for land owners to recoup damages, Dewald said.

Senate bill 1735 is essentially the same, except Senate bill 2111 addresses the criminal statute and 1735 is written pursuant to Oklahoma wildlife statutes, Dewald said.

“Since these issues are not just related to hunting and fishing, we wanted to make sure the legislations covered both areas of the law,” Dewald said.

Last year Gov. Henry struck down a similar bill, stating that hunting and fishing is a tradition and he would not want to be guilty of voting against a tradition.

It was a discouraging blow, Dewald said. But this year’s legislation included a more fluid consideration for those who may not know they are trespassing that he thought softened it enough for the Governor, Dewald said.

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