Oklahoma has 186 new laws going into effect on November 1, 2014. This article will address just the statutes we might routinely encounter. This summary hits the high points; there’s too many new laws to get into detail.
HB 2372 – prohibits employers from requiring access to personal online social media accounts of employees, from taking retaliatory personnel action or not providing access. To be codified at 40 O.S. § 173.2.
HB 2505 – Employment Security Act amendments. Allows for an employee to be separated from work due to domestic violence with the proof of reasonable evidence.
SB 1799 – If a shareholders derivative action confers a substantial benefit on a corporation, the court may award attorney fees and costs and direct plaintiff to pay the corporation the rest of the money received. The nonprevailing party is required to pay fees and costs.
HB 3510 – It’s okay to shoot someone in your house if you think it’s necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony (meaning any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person). It doesn’t have to be a family member “master, mistress or servant” that you’re trying to protect.
SB 991 – Policies issued, renewed or reinstated after November 1, 2014, shall not be subject to stacking or aggregation of limits unless expressly provided for by an insurance carrier.
HB 2338 – Immunity for disaster relief workers. Any individual, business, church or school that renders emergency care, aid, shelter or other assistance during a natural disaster or catastrophic event shall not be liable for damages resulting from the rendering of emergency care, aid, shelter or assistance unless the damage was caused by gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
SB 1551 – Changes weight allowances of certain commercial vehicles. Deletes the exemption for out-of-state vehicles.
SB1364 – Keeps aggravated or habitual sex offenders out of parks – leaving the parks free for those who haven’t been caught yet.
SB 1077 – Attorney lien statute has been amended. To claim an attorney lien on real property, a notice must be filed in the county clerk’s office. A suit for enforcement of such a lien must be started within 10 years.
HB 2790 – Changes in probate procedure
HB 3375 – Changes in discovery provisions of 12 O.S. § 3226, providing for authorizations for release of records, including medical records and bills when relevant as well as a release for employment and school records.
HB 2343 – Amends the Oklahoma Evidence Code to add a new item that is not excluded by the hearsay rule: “A statement offered against a party that wrongfully caused or acquiesced in wrongfully causing the declarant’s unavailability as a witness, and did so intending that result.” Amends 12 O.S. § 2804.
HB 2366 – Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act. With certain exceptions, when a motion to dismiss is filed in a suit based on a party’s exercise of his right of free speech, right to petition or right of association, that party may file a motion to dismiss (with affidavits stating the facts) no later than 60 days after the date of service. The right to petition means communications related to certain judicial, legislative, governmental, and administrative proceedings. Once a motion to dismiss is filed, all discovery is suspended until the court rules on the motion to dismiss. To be codified at 12 O.S. § 1433-1439.
SB 1826 – Changes to definitions of certain classes of persons who deal in fireworks. Amends 68 O.S. §§ 1622, 1627.
HB 2405 – Changes to the Governmental tort Claims Act. The definition of a tort is expanded to include violation of a duty imposed by statute or the Constitution. “If a court of competent jurisdiction finds tort liability on the part of the state or a political subdivision of the state based on a provision of the Oklahoma Constitution or state law other than The Governmental Tort Claims Act, the limits of liability provided for in The Governmental Tort Claims Act shall apply.” The Legislature made this change:
The liability of the state or political subdivision under this act The Governmental Tort Claims Act shall be exclusive and in place of all other shall constitute the extent of tort liability of the state, a political subdivision or employee at arising from common law, statute, the Oklahoma Constitution, or otherwise. If a court of competent jurisdiction finds tort liability on the part of the state or a political subdivision of the state based on a provision of the Oklahoma Constitution or state law other than The Governmental Tort Claims Act, the limits of liability provided for in The Governmental Tort Claims Act shall apply.
SB 1612 – Enforcement of visitation rights.
HB 2249 – In actions for divorce based upon incompatibility where the interest of a child under 18 is involved, the adult parties shall attend an educational program concerning the impact of divorce on children.
HB 3472 – Prohibiting awards of custody or guardianship to persons convicted of certain crimes such as sexual abuse of a child. (Duh.)
S.B. 1779 – Amendment to procedures for establishing parentage.
S.B. 1784 – Child support enforcement procedures.
SB 1993 – Makes both parents equally liable for child support, insurance, medical care, etc., for children born out of “wedlock.”
HB 2536 – Allows parent or custodian to execute a power of attorney to delegate care and custody powers to another person, to be codified at 10 O.S. § 700.