Oklahoma Lawmakers to Vote on Outlawing Hoodies in Public

The bill, which aims to impede crime, could impose fines of up to $500 on violators

Next month, Oklahoma lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill that could make wearing a hoodie in public a crime.

Think Progress reports that Republican Senator Don Barrington will present the bill, which would mandate the fining of anyone who wore a hood in public in an attempt to conceal one's face. Violators would also face a misdemeanor charge and up to one year in jail. It would take exception to costumes or religious garb and wouldn't fine anyone who was wearing a hood for "non-malicious purposes."

Barrington claims that he's trying to protect the public.

"It is certainly something that warrants being put out there and having a dialogue over," he said to The Oklahoman. "We live in a different world today. If we didn't do or try to do something, we'd be asked why we didn't."

However, critics are saying that the bill is racist and unfairly targets minorities, particularly after the hoodie became a symbol in the Trayvon Martin killing.

"This is about the pretext of being able to stop young African-American males," CNN analyst Sunny Hostin said earlier this year after an Indiana mall banned hoodies. "Hoodie is code for 'thug' in many places, and I think businesses shouldn't be in the business of telling people what to wear. The Fourteenth Amendment protects us from this." 

Time magazine reports that similar laws already exist in 10 other states, including New York, Florida and California.

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