Black Friday bill stalled at Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY – This week the Oklahoma House committee will decide whether to change a law that has made it hard for shoppers to find the cheapest prices around Oklahoma.

Under current law, originally passed in 1941, retailers must sell their merchandise for at least 6 percent more than they paid for it.

Linda Maisch is an avid shopper and mother of two and she said she loves the sales she finds on Black Friday.

“It`s kind of a part of our shopping culture, nationwide,” Linda said.

But she had no idea that Oklahoma law prevents her from getting the best deal possible.

Right now, Oklahoma retailers can be sued or arrested for charging too little for a product.

That means on big shopping days like Black Friday, it’s hard for Oklahoma stores to compete with retailers in other states who can offer massive discounts without any penalty.

Sen. David Holt wants to change that, he’s trying to pass a law that would allow Oklahoma stores to offer whatever discounts they want.

He said he believes the current law is hurting Oklahoma economy.

“You’re having people go to Wichita, you’re having people go to Fort Smith, you’re having people go to Dallas, to go to retailers that we have just because prices are lower on these big sale days,” Holt said.

But his effort is being stalled by at least one Oklahoma lawmaker who is worried about what the new law would do to local, small businesses that can’t offer the deepest discounts like their competitors Walmart or Target.

The clock is ticking.

“If it doesn`t pass the House Committee this week, it will be dead for 2013,” Holt said.

Shoppers like Linda are just looking at the bottom line.

“Hey, I`m a working girl on a budget so lower prices are always going to be important to me,” Linda said.

Fuel, prescription drugs and groceries are excluded from the bill.