Republicans who control the Oklahoma Legislature slipped a provision into an annual highway-and-bridge bill that named a stretch of road in the state’s panhandle after the 45th president.
The bill, signed Friday by GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt, denotes “President Donald J. Trump Highway,” which is a roughly 20-mile section of U.S. 287 situated in Cimarron County, running from Boise City to the Oklahoma-Texas border, The Oklahoman reported.
In addition, the bill contains language naming a Midwest City highway interchange after U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who is also a Republican.
There was a short delay in the Oklahoma Legislature in getting the measure passed after Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, an Oklahoma City Democrat, noted to lawmakers that under state law, normally someone has to have been deceased for at least three years before they can have a bridge or roadway named to memorialize them. The one exception was for those who earned the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award.
As such, GOP lawmakers added an amendment to Senate Bill 624 repealing the three-year requirement from state law, the newspaper reported.
One Democratic lawmaker, state Rep. Forrest Bennett, took to social media to mock the rule change.
“Some legislators wanted to name a highway after former president Trump. But statute dictated that a person must’ve passed away before a road is named for them. So what did we do? We just repealed that statute! Amazing what this body can accomplish when we really want something,” he wrote.
Some legislators wanted to name a highway after former president Trump. But statute dictated that a person must’ve passed away before a road is named for them. So what did we do? We just repealed that statute! Amazing what this body can accomplish when we really want something.
— Forrest Bennett (@ForrestBennett) May 25, 2021
As for the new highway signage, GOP state lawmakers said they would foot the bill for it, The Oklahoman reported. The new law takes effect Nov. 1, the start of the 2022 fiscal year.
In 2019, two GOP state senators, Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow and Marty Quinn of Claremore, attempted to rename a portion of the historic Route 66 after the former president, but they “faced nearly immediate pushback from both sides of the aisle as Oklahomans condemned the politicization of the Mother Road, the paper noted.
There have been previous moves and efforts to honor Trump.
A Florida city declared “Donald J. Trump Week” in early February, though at the time, critics said it took away from February historically being “Black History Month.”
“Former President Donald J. Trump was overwhelmingly supported, and received 76.43% of the votes in Frostproof, Fla., Precinct 537, won the state of Florida twice and received more votes than any incumbent in United States history,” said a proclamation by Mayor Jon Albert, acknowledging the former president’s popularity in the district and the Sunshine State overall.
“[W]hile president, the United States gained millions of new jobs, including more than 12 million manufacturing and construction jobs while designating 9,000 opportunity zones,” the proclamation noted, adding that “new unemployment lows were reached.”
This year Donald J. Trump Week lasted Feb. 1-6.
Meanwhile, legislation introduced in Ohio in April would rename Mosquito Lake State Park after the former president.
“This legislation is meant to honor the commitment and dedication that our 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, bestowed upon the great people of Trumbull County,” said GOP freshman state Rep. Mike Loychik in a statement.
“This enthusiasm for our former president was also historic throughout the state of Ohio last November as he pushed for initiatives and policies that was very well-received with my constituency and the state,” he added.
Trump lost the 2020 election but won more votes in Ohio than any previous presidential contender, USA Today reported.
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