After consulting with the Department of Public Safety, Senator Don Barrington has authored a bill that would make it unlawful to wear a mask, hood or covering during the commission of a crime or to intentionally conceal his or her identity in a public place.
The legislation (pdf) comes with a $500 fine. You can see in the language of the bill itself how difficult it can be to write rules for every circumstance. The bill exempts sports teams, so a football helmet would remain legal. People attending masquerade balls wouldn’t get into trouble for hiding behind masks. Weather gets you a free pass – Oklahoma would still allow for wearing a raincoat with a hood. But what starts as a bill designed to catch criminals who use hoodies as a strategy ends up punishing the intent to hide your face. Who gets to wear a hoodie around town without being considered criminal and whose intent gets called into question and fined? The bill doesn’t ban hoodies, but it would create a new risk for wearing them.
In the calm before the legislative season, it seems worth pointing out that the state of Oklahoma itself sells hoodies. The mighty University of Oklahoma Sooners, for example, will sell you several different versions on the classic hoodie, including the Oklahoma Sooners Blowout Hoodie in anthracite.
Also available: the Oklahoma Sooners Girls Toddler Stardust Fleece Sweat Set in crimson and the (perhaps) criminal Oklahoma Sooners Youth T-Shirt, Hoodie and Pants Set in crimson or white, your choice. Then we have the Oklahoma Sooners Toddler Fleece Mascot Sleeper, in crimson. “Removable hood features ears and embroidered expressions to give the look of a mini Sooner,” or miscreant.
The start of state legislative season is always a fun time around here. This year, we’ve got two dozen states where Republicans have full control. If you’ve got notable bills popping up where you live, let us know. (Rachel@msnbc.com)