If passed and signed into law, it would have given the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety – a rubber-stamp appointee of Governor Stitt – broad powers to "investigate" anyone they "reasonably" believed to be "engaged in terrorism, threats to public safety, organized crime, criminal conspiracies, or any other threats of violent crime."
Well, at least that's who I assume Stitt and his law enforcement cronies would "reasonably consider" to be threats to public safety and involved in criminal conspiracies.
As we know, Stitt has been a front-line culture war commando since he was elected Governor, and has never hesitated to use his office as a political weapon to attack those he doesn't like, so it would be foolish not to expect him to take full advantage of any new authoritarian powers granted to him by lawmakers.
Fortunately, though, a rare moment of sanity at the Capitol prevailed.
Although they've been happy to give Stitt more power in recent years, passing laws to let him stack boards and agencies with his political cronies, loyalists, and Young President Organization grifters, I guess some right-wing lawmakers figured giving a petty and vindictive Governor broad law enforcement power was a bad idea, and the measure surprisingly failed the house by a 2-1 margin.
A bill that would have allowed for more investigative power at the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will not move forward after being voted down on the House floor.
House Bill 1976 was authored by Rep. JJ Humphrey.
It would give the DPS Commissioner the authority to investigate and collect information on anyone "reasonably believed to be engaged in terrorism, threats to public safety, organized crime, criminal conspiracies, or any other threats of violent crime"...
I know I have an IQ over 100 and everything, but you'd think a guy who works closely with the Oklahoma Cockfighting Industry – a vast underground network of criminal enterprises that are involved in illegal gambling and the international rooster trade – would be a bit more cautious when dolling out broad investigative powers to a governor and his cronies.
Then again, Justin is your typical authoritarian hypocrite stooge – you know, a guy who's fearful of government control and overreach unless, of course, the government is targeting people he doesn't like – so we shouldn't be surprised that he didn't think this through.
Anyway, I guess I'd like to thank the 60 members of the Oklahoma House who voted down this bill... this time around. Oklahoma Politics is a lot like a real-life horror movie, so I wouldn't be shocked to see it come back as a sequel sometime soon.