Beginning November 1st, Oklahoma consumers will enjoy legal "Black Friday" and other low-price sales for the first time since the 1940s. Senate Bill 550, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, has been signed by Gov. Mary Fallin after passing the Senate, 29-16, and the House, 65-15 in the closing days of the 2013 session.
Under previous law, which was originally enacted in 1941, retailers were generally required to sell products for at least six percent more than they paid for it, at all times on all products. A December 2011 opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General confirmed that state law barred all “Black Friday” and other low-price sales, even if they were only temporary. Many retailers who may not have been fully complying with the law shut down their "Black Friday" and other low-price sales until Oklahoma's laws were modernized. It is believed that only two states had a law so restrictive – Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
The previous law put Oklahoma communities at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states where retailers can legally offer significant bargains. By forcing Oklahomans to leave the state to shop, consumers, retailers, and core government services were all negatively impacted.
SB 550 allows Oklahoma retailers to sell general merchandise products at any price below their cost up to 15 days in a row on a specific product, up to 10 times a year. Groceries, drugs, gas, and lumber will still be subject to the law as before, but the pricing of all other products will fall under the provisions of SB 550.
"I have never believed that Oklahomans should pay higher retail prices only because the government says they should. Under the provisions of SB 550, the consumer will enjoy low prices on the products they expect when they expect, and that’s the way it should be," Holt said. "The previous law undermined a free market economy and its effects had been detrimental to our citizens. Nevertheless, it's taken 70 years to amend it. For making this happen, I want to thank Governor Mary Fallin, Representative Tom Newell, President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, Senate Business and Commerce Chairman Dan Newberry, the members of the Senate conference committee, our co-authors, and all the members who supported it in the Legislature.”
“Oklahomans will now be able to enjoy the same sales consumers in other states do,” Newell said. “I believe the free market helps businesses and consumers. As such, this law was outdated, and I am glad to have been able to help change it.”
SB 550 will take effect November 1, 2013, just in time for Oklahomans to enjoy their first true "Black Friday" sales.
Oklahoma Wal-Mart Ad
Out of State Wal-Mart Ad
CUTLINE FOR ADS: Pricing disparities like this will be a thing of the past after the signing of Senate Bill 550. These Walmart circulars, one from Oklahoma and one from Oklahoma’s bordering states, illustrate the higher prices that Oklahoma law required Walmart to charge consumers during its 2012 ‘Black Friday’ sales.