OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – 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.”

Democrats argued the use of “reasonably believed” was vague and could lead to political misuse.

“This legislation essentially allows the Governor’s appointee to spy on who ever they want,” said Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-OKC.

Dollens pointed out the Department of Public Safety does not have a board overseeing its activity, unlike OSBI.

“Under the OSBI the Governor has checks and balances, they’re governed by a board. However, under the Department of Public Safety the Governor gets to appoint the commissioner and have final say,” said Dollens.

Humphrey said the bill provides law enforcement the ability to share vital information to help prevent the next terrorist attack or mass shooting.

“We hear ‘oh this could have been prevented, that should have been prevented’ they blame the police because they didn’t act when they had all of this information,” said Humphrey. “Well guess what Mr. Speaker, that’s because the information was not shared.”

In Section 1 of the bill, it states, “creating a clearinghouse of crime related information for use by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.”

Rep. Jason Lowe, D-OKC, said it’s government overreach.

“This bill is filled with provisions that are unconstitutional…this bill is filled with due process violations,” said Lowe.

During debate Humphrey pushed back against the idea that Governor Stitt requested the bill.

“Did the Governor do that and the answer is no I’ve talked to the Department of Public Safety,” said Humphrey.

DPS is under the control of the Governor, and Democrats warned Republicans that this new power could come back to haunt them during elections.

“This is nothing but ladies and gentlemen a political weapon and you guys on the other side of the aisle are running for these seats,” said Lowe.  

Humphrey was the only Republican that spoke in favor of the bill.

It was voted down 63-30.