The Norman Transcript

October 31, 2013

Repeal of a quirky law

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — An ancient, quirky law that required Oklahoma retailers to sell products for at least 6 percent more than they paid for it goes off the books after today.

Senate Bill 550, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, was signed into law during the 2013 legislative session. It lets Oklahoma consumers buy items for the same sale prices charged in other states.

Oklahoma’s restriction goes back to 1941. Lawmakers believe only Oklahoma and Wisconsin had such restrictive laws.

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 still will be subject to the law as before, but the pricing of all other products will fall under the provisions of SB 550.

The bill’s sponsors said the old law put Oklahoma stores at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states where retailers could legally offer better deals.

However, some shopkeepers said it’s another tool to allow national and regional retailers to sell products below cost and push the locally owned stores out.