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Senate Review

 

November 21, 2019

On Nov. 1, more than 300 bills became law in Oklahoma. One that I’ve gotten some questions on deals with the real estate industry. 

If you’re ever on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably seen all the businesses offering gift cards and other prizes for likes, commenting and sharing their page.  This is a common way for businesses to grow their network. However, until Nov. 1, the real estate industry was prohibited from this type of marketing technique.

Senate Bill 104 went into effect earlier this month, though, and evens the playing field for this industry. It is currently illegal for real estate agents to use prizes, money, gifts or other valuables to induce customers or clients to purchase specific property. The new law, however, allows licensees to use prizes, money, gifts or other valuables for marketing purposes as long as getting the items isn’t contingent to individuals making an offer or buying a specific property. 

This means agents can now give away branded bottles of water at open houses as well as provide cookies, snacks, beverages or any other giveaways they’d like to provide to visitors. They can now also give away gift cards or other prizes to grow their social media pages.

This was one of the top priorities this year for the Oklahoma Association of Realtors. Their 11,000 members and legislative liaisons made their voices heard and got the oversight fixed.

You can find a list of the Nov. 1 laws on our website under “Legislation.”.  Select “Advanced Bill Search” then “Selected Step Reports” and “Effective Date” You’ll then check the “All Kinds” box, “either” and enter 11/01/19.

Work on Senate Interim Studies wrapped up last Friday.  The House will finish their interim studies tomorrow.  The LOFT and HealthCare Working Groups are continuing as they have no deadline to conclude their business.

It’s been a busy fall interim. I’ve been traveling around our Senate district for various meetings and back and forth to the Capitol. Last week started with numerous Veterans Day celebrations throughout the district. On Thursday evening, I attended the Choctaw Chamber banquet held at the Grand Casino. On Wednesday, I was in Harrah to speak to area superintendents about their schools’ needs and the upcoming legislative session.

Speaking of superintendents, I’ve been inundated with calls from superintendents around the state very upset about their loss of funds due to the anticipated mid-term adjustment as a result of ever-growing virtual charter school enrollment. Their main concern is that virtual charter school enrollment cannot be verified, which has been all over the media the past year and why one school is under state and federal investigation.

We also were told again in an interim study this summer by some upset public school administrators that the virtual schools are recruiting students to be able to count them in their enrollment to boost their mid-term adjustment and then dumping them back to their local public school. When this happens, the local public school doesn’t receive any funding for that student. They only receive funding for students enrolled before Oct. 1. Hopefully, the legislature, as a whole, will realize what a problem this is and address it this session.

In closing, I also want to apologize to those whose events I haven’t been able to attend this year. This is a common issue for legislators, and I know this is frustrating, but our state Senate districts are large, and it’s difficult to be everywhere at the same time. Distance and travel time must be considered in scheduling. Plus, often we’re invited to attend multiple events on the same day and time. Most events are scheduled months in advance so if we receive a request to speak a few days before the event, it typically isn’t possible. I honor invites in the order I receive them so if you have an event coming up in the next year, please let me know as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience.

 

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