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New Oklahoma law closes loophole, makes secretly tracking someone with a GPS device a stalking crime  

"Hot dog! Hot dog!" Rep. Mark McBride said Wednesday after learning Gov. Mary Fallin had signed House Bill 3260 into law. McBride, R-Moore, found a tracking device on his pickup the evening of Dec. 4, after a friend suggested he look. McBride suspects the wind industry had him investigated because of his outspoken criticism of tax incentives for wind farms. A special agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into his suspicions. Leaders of a wind industry trade association have denied any involvement.

Credit:  By Nolan Clay | The Oklahoman | May 3, 2018 | newsok.com ~~

A legislator’s personal ordeal has resulted in a new law against secretly tracking someone with a GPS device.

Covert use of a tracker is now a stalking crime in Oklahoma.

“Hot dog! Hot dog!” Rep. Mark McBride said Wednesday after learning Gov. Mary Fallin had signed House Bill 3260 into law.

McBride, R-Moore, found a tracking device on his pickup the evening of Dec. 4, after a friend suggested he look.

McBride suspects the wind industry had him investigated because of his outspoken criticism of tax incentives for wind farms.

A special agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into his suspicions. Leaders of a wind industry trade association have denied any involvement.

McBride introduced his bill in January after meetings with the OSBI and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“They felt that placing a tracking device on a vehicle in a circumstance like mine was a gray area in the law,” he wrote a state budget analyst for a report to Fallin.

“As the governor knows, this began as a personal issue,” he wrote. “This will not apply to lawful uses of monitoring, law enforcement, or a parent tracking a minor child.”

Stalking in Oklahoma involves “willfully, maliciously and repeatedly” following or harassing another person. The offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

McBride asked his fellow lawmakers to make it clear that illegally “following” someone can include tracking the person, without consent, through the use of a monitoring device.

The House passed his bill 74-7 in March. The Senate passed it 40-0 in April. Fallin signed the bill into law Tuesday.

The change went into effect immediately.

The new law will directly impact private investigators who routinely use tracking devices to try to catch cheating spouses and for other reasons.

It does not apply to auto dealers or lenders who get a buyer’s consent to have a GPS tracker installed so the vehicle can be more easily repossessed if payments aren’t made.

The OSBI has determined that a political consultant from Austin, Texas, hired private investigators in November to check out McBride.

The political consultant, George C. Shipley, instructed the Tuttle-based investigators to get photos of the married legislator if they caught him “partying around.”

“I appreciate this very much and good hunting, good hunting,” the consultant said in a Nov. 13 phone conversation that was recorded and turned over to the OSBI.

The OSBI agent is now trying to determine who hired Shipley.

The private investigator who placed the tracker on the pickup did so Nov. 28 at the state Capitol and never trespassed on private property, The Oklahoman was told.

McBride sued Shipley on March 7 in Oklahoma City federal court. McBride is seeking actual and punitive damages on six grounds.

Shipley’s attorneys are seeking to have the case thrown out.

Source:  By Nolan Clay | The Oklahoman | May 3, 2018 | newsok.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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