A state law enforcement agency would not be required to share investigative files with federal agencies under changes proposed to the state’s hate crime bill.
In an amendment presented on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, gutted a bill that had been filed to create a task force to study the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, and inserted language to make changes to the state’s hate crime statutes. 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. 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.