Oops! Oklahoma Senate opts out of wrong hate crimes law

Posted on 29 Mar 2010 at 11:14am

Back on March 11, John Wright reported here on Instant Tea that the Oklahoma Senate, in an effort led by Sen. Steve Russell, had approved an amendment that would allow the state to opt out of participating in the federal Sheppard/Byrd Hate Crimes Law that includes protections for LGBT people.

The measure prohibits “local and state law enforcement agencies from sharing information about hate crimes with federal authorities if the state of Oklahoma did not recognize the crime as a hate crime by its own statutes.” Oklahoma state law does not recognize “sexual orientation or gender identity” as a special class and fails to provide gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals with hate crimes protections.

But today comes word from the Center for American Progress that Sen. Russell and his pals messed up. Instead of prohibiting Oklahoma state officials from sharing information about anti-LGBT hate crimes, their bill prohibits state officials from sharing with federal authorities information on hate crimes based on religious or racial prejudice. The mix-up happened, apparently, because of a typo in Russell’s bill citing Section 240 of the federal hate crimes law, instead of Section 249.

Read Igor Volsky’s post on the mix-up here.

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