Thursday, April 18, 2013

House Approves ‘Black Friday’ Law

OKLAHOMA CITY – “Black Friday” legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would make low-cost and discount sales legal in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 550, by state Sen. David Holt and state Rep. Tom Newell, which passed by a vote of 69-23, will allow retailers the opportunity to offer deep discounts on everything from big-screen televisions to computers, iPads, furniture and clothing, Newell said. It is a major victory for Oklahoma consumers, he said.

“Why should we penalize Oklahomans for wanting a good deal?” said Newell, R-Seminole. “The old law was outdated and put Oklahoma at a competitive disadvantage to other states that could lure shoppers with significant bargains. This bill is good for our economy, it’s good for retailers and it’s certainly good for consumers. We’re basically removing a government hurdle for businesses and allowing the free market system to work for Oklahoma.”

The old law was enacted in 1941 and forced retailers to mark up merchandise by at least 6 percent. A December 2011 Oklahoma attorney general opinion confirmed that current state law bars all “Black Friday” and other low-price sales, even if they are only temporary. As a result, many retailers shut down their “Black Friday,” “Back-to-School” and other sales events.

Newell said the current bill does not impact fuel, prescription drugs or groceries.

If signed, the law will go into effect Nov. 1, just in time for holiday shopping.

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