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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt in 2020. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has signed into law a measure that provides protections to drivers who unintentionally injure or kill protesters while "fleeing a riot."

The big picture: The legislation, signed Wednesday, also increases the penalties for protesters who block public roadways. Oklahoma is one of several states that has passed measures targeting demonstrators in the wake of last year's nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

Details: "A motor vehicle operator who unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual shall not be criminally or civilly liable for the injury or death, if ... the injury or death of the individual occurred while the motor vehicle operator was fleeing from a riot," the bill says.

  • The immunity applies if the driver is operating under a "reasonable belief that fleeing was necessary" to protect themselves from injury or death.
  • The bill also makes blocking a public roadway during a protest a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • The bill becomes effective on Nov. 1.

Between the lines: The legislation does not define the circumstances that make it "necessary" to "flee" the scene of a protest.

Go deeper

Apr 20, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Chauvin verdict renews attention on Iowa police protection bills

People react after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Iowa progressive groups said that while they're heartened a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd, more work needs to be done to ensure this never happens again.

State of play: A jury on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, write Axios Twin Cities' Torey Van Oot and Nick Halter.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

2 hours ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.