Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 14, 2013
Sen. David Holt
Senate takes first step to bring lower prices to Oklahomans
Holt, R-Oklahoma City, commended the Senate Business & Commerce
Committee for passing SB 550, which will help Oklahoma consumers
by legalizing "Black Friday" and other low-price sales.
The bill passed on Thursday by a 5-2 vote.
"Oklahomans should have every right to enjoy the lower prices
that Americans in 48 other states do," said Holt. "Why
should our citizens have to drive to Texas or Arkansas to enjoy
greater savings? If a retailer wants to offer low prices, that's
good for consumers, it's good for our economy, and it reflects a
free market decision that retailers should be allowed to make."
Holt thanked legislators for “standing up for consumers and
the free market.” Voting in favor of SB 550 were Senators
Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, John Ford, R-Bartlesville,
Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, and Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee.
Under current law, which was originally enacted in 1941, retailers
must sell products for at least six percent more than they paid
for it. A December 2011 opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General
confirmed that state law bars all “Black Friday” and
other low-price sales, even if they are only temporary. As a result,
many retailers, including the largest retailer in the state, are
shutting down their "Black Friday" and other low-price
sales until Oklahoma's laws are modernized. Senate Bill 550 would
change that for all products, except for fuel and prescription drugs.
The current law keeps Oklahomans from enjoying lower prices, and
it punishes retailers who offer lower prices. Retailers doing business
in Oklahoma have been successfully sued under the law for offering
consumers a bargain. Retailers are also subject to arrest for offering
consumers a bargain.
The Oklahoma Antitrust Reform Act, which is not affected in any
way by SB 550, will continue to bar retailers from engaging in predatory
pricing that hampers competition among retailers.
The existing ban on low prices impacts deals on everything from
Thanksgiving turkeys to televisions to clothing, and all products
in-between. The existing law doesn’t just apply to low prices
that may occur during special sales, but all low prices that a retailer
may charge any day of the year. It is believed that only two states
have a law that bars these low prices – Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Holt said the outdated law puts Oklahomans at a competitive disadvantage
with neighboring states where retailers can legally offer significant
bargains for "Back-to-School" and holiday sales, including
"Black Friday", the biggest shopping day of the year.
By forcing Oklahomans to leave the state to shop, consumers, retailers,
and core government services are all negatively impacted.
Senate Bill 550 next goes to the full Senate for consideration.
For more information contact:
Sen. Holt: (405) 521-5636