And Now Oklahoma Is Making Good On a Promise to Exempt Itself From Federal Hate Crimes Law

State Sen. Steve Russell, the Oklahoma City Republican, in December proposed the idea of keeping his state out of the Matthew Shepard Act. Yesterday, enough of his colleagues joined him in affirming such legislation, giving state law enforcement the right not to turn over files to federal authorities: “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. ‘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.'” And if police and district attorneys don’t work with the FBI on hate crimes cases? They could be facing their own federal charges: obstruction of justice. Rock, meet stupid place. The bill now heads to the House. [Oklahoman]