The Pennsylvania Progressive reports that lawmakers in the state of Oklahoma inadvertently removed hate crimes protections for race and religion instead of sexual orientation, which was their goal:
"Last week there were multiple reports about the Oklahoma State Senate passing legislation which would exempt that state from enforcing the recently enacted federal hate crimes act that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. However, now it turns that there was 'a legislative error' and instead of exempting Oklahoma from enforcing hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, they eliminated protections based on race and religion instead:
Oklahoma State Senate Minority Leader Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, said when the Senate passed Senate Bill 1965 on March 10, it eliminated hate crime protections for race and religion.
The bill states local law enforcement agencies should not enforce any sections of federal law under hate crimes statutes listed under Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245 unless they are in correlation with Oklahoma's hate crimes laws.
But the protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, which passed Congress last year, are not listed under Section 245, but Section 249
'The bill in its current form doesn't take away rights from gays and lesbians,' Rice said. 'It takes away rights for religion and race.'"
The bill, which was authored by state senator Steve Russell, passed last week.