Oklahoma Bar Journal

Dog Days of Summer and Pie

By John Morris Williams

I Googled the term “dog days of summer” and found that it may have origins as far back as the Roman emperors and even has a biblical reference. I just generally thought it meant the hot days in summer. I was close enough in my assumptions to not feel totally ignorant. But it is good to look things up, like what has changed in the law after the last session of the Legislature. Most of the legislation goes into effect Nov. 1. The dog days of summer are an excellent time to catch up on what has been recently passed into law and to be prepared when the laws go into effect – that would be frost on the pumpkin time.

Every year, the Oklahoma Legislature passes legislation that affects the practice of law, and often civil and criminal procedure bills are in the mix. My research indicates that 417 new bills were passed. This includes those signed by the governor, veto overrides and bills that became law absent the governor’s signature. Eight of those bills were Title 12 bills that every lawyer who practices civil law probably should read. There were 18 Title 21 bills and 19 Title 22 bills that passed this session. Those who practice criminal law may be wise to review these.

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The invariable question is how do I look these up? There are a couple of ways. One is to search the session laws on the Oklahoma Secretary of State website. That site has a nice search feature powered by Westlaw. It is especially good to search by topics and keywords. There is another way that is, in my opinion, most beneficial. The OBA Legislative Monitoring Committee lists all the bills that passed the last session in its community library, indexed by statutory title number. The lists contain summaries of the bills that make them easy to review. If a member sees a bill they want to know more about, the Oklahoma Legislature website or the Secretary of State website both are good locations to get the full text of bills. There is one catch: You must be a member of the Legislative Monitoring Committee to access this information. To sign up for the committee, simply email alishad@okbar.org and ask to be added. Signing up is totally free, and it makes it incredibly easy to get all the information on all the bills. Given that these are the dog days of summer, it is a perfect exercise to do while inside with the air conditioning on.

Another thing that happens in the dog days of summer is the annual Legislative Monitoring Committee Legislative Debrief, where numerous bills of interest are discussed, and a legislative panel made up of members of the Oklahoma Legislature deliberate on the highlights of the session. The debrief this year will be held Aug. 11. Not only is this a great program, but it provides free CLE credit and will be simulcasted for those who cannot attend in person. There will be great snacks for those who attend in person – there is more than a high chance that Arbuckle Fried Pies will make a return to the snack menu. Watch for more details in Courts & More. To sign up for the program, go to www.okbar.orgclick on the CLE icon, and the program will be listed in the offerings. Credit for online participants will be recorded, and sign in is required for those attending in person. We ask that everyone register so we can record your credit, and so we can have the room properly set and a good headcount for the pies!

Whether you want to get out in the heat and join us in person or wish to view the program remotely, there is no better way to spend a couple of hours in the dog days of summer than getting some free CLE and catching up on new laws passed last session. Did I mention there will be pie?

To contact Executive Director Williams, email him at johnw@okbar.org.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 93 Vol 6 (August 2022)