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Okla Bill Opts Out of Hate Crime Protections


Oklahoma state senator Steve Russell pushed an amendment Wednesday night that makes it possible for the state to circumvent the portion of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Protection Act that concerns LGBT protections.

According to NewsOK, a state law enforcement agency would not be required to share investigative files with federal agencies under the proposed changes to the Oklahoma hate-crimes bill. The bill is now headed to the house for consideration after passing the senate 39-6.

"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," reported NewsOK.

"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."

The senator also said his bill is meant to protect speech of all kinds, according to NewsOK.

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