The Oklahoma Senate has exempted the state from federal hate crimes laws, mandating that files of potential hate crimes be withheld or destroyed so that they cannot be used to assist in any federal hate crimes investigation:
Under the new provisions of Senate Bill 1965, reports that were collected during investigations of possible hate crime that did not end in a conviction would be destroyed or kept by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
[Sen. Steve] Russell said the bill is meant to prevent the federal law enforcement officials from taking over a case and applying different standards when local law enforcement has already investigated a case.
Only a few senators questioned Russell about the contents of his proposed amendment.
The measure passed 39-6 and now heads to the House for consideration.
Russell said his bill is meant to protect speech of all kinds.
“We just don’t want the pendulum to swing too far the other way,” he said. “This protects people to do or say whatever they want, as long as it complies with local ordinances.”
Russell said hate crimes should be prosecuted by local officials and not the federal government.
Of course, as we pointed out repeatedly back when we were writing about hate crimes legislation all the time, federal laws protecting things like race and religion have been on the books for more than a decade, but recently “sexual orientation” was added to the list … and suddenly Oklahoma decided that it wasn’t going to comply.
I’m pretty sure that wasn’t merely a coincidence.