Oklahoma Bar Journal
New Laws Effective Nov. 1
By John Morris Williams
NEW LAWS EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1
Absent an emergency clause, bills from the previous session generally become effective on or after Nov. 1 of each year. This year, there were 156 bills passed with emergency clauses and 490 bills taking effect on or after Nov. 1, 2021.
Since lawyers are in the business of the law, each new law is important, and staying informed in changes in the law is incumbent to remain professionally competent. The OBA takes very few positions, if any, on pending legislation. However, bills throughout the session are monitored so members can be aware of potential or actual changes in the law. As I said last month, there is no better way to stay informed of changes in the law than by participating in the Legislative Monitoring Committee. The committee’s sole function is to educate members on proposed legislation and the results of the latest session. A description of all the legislation that passed this year was provided to committee members through the committee’s community library. Due to copyright protections relating to our legislative service, we are unfortunately not able to make that material available to the public at large by posting it on our website.
Here are a few bills that might be of general interest to those who may not have previously seen them:
This bill made changes to the Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act. Of particular note is the new language emphasizing “least restrictive alternative” and “supported decision making.” The language suggests alternatives to guardianship, such as “supported decision making, appropriate technological assistance, appointment of a representative payee and appointment of an agent by the individual including under power of attorney for health care or finances …” Those who practice in this area may want to carefully review this new law.
Pursuant to this bill, victims of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking may terminate a lease without penalty. Tenants must produce a protective order or police report within 30 days of the incident. Also, landlords may not deny tenancy or retaliate against a person because of previously terminating a lease due to being a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking.
The Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act outlines the procedure to take a deposition of a witness when the subpoena is issued by the court in another state. Although the filing of an application for the issuance of a subpoena does not constitute an appearance before the court, it does provide for judicial intervention for protective orders, enforcement, modification or to quash the subpoena.
This may perhaps be one of the bills every lawyer should read. Existing durable power of attorney documents will remain valid. However, as of Nov. 1, 2021, some significant changes in the law went into effect. Those changes may affect judicial proceedings relating to durable power of attorney documents executed prior to the new statute becoming effective. The new law has expanded definitions, addressed almost every conceivable scenario and has a statutory form and a form for certification as to the validity of the power of attorney.
The full text of these bills may be retrieved at the Oklahoma Secretary of State website: www.sos.ok.gov/gov/legislaiton.aspx. To get the bills to appear in numerical order, simply click or tap on “Doc Num” at the top of the table.
On a personal note, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving. While the last year for many of us has been personally challenging, I am so thankful for our Supreme Court, Board of Governors, OBA staff and countless volunteer leaders and workers who have kept us functioning and strong. For you, I am most thankful.
To contact Executive Director Williams, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal – OBJ 92 Vol 9 (November 2021)