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NEW LAW: Severe Weather Liability

Governor Mary Fallin signed a new law on Friday, May 5. The law went into effect immediately upon her signature in an effort for it to make an impact before this year's tornado season comes to a close. HB 2419 eliminates civil liability for individuals and businesses who allow others seeking refuge from severe weather to temporarily enter their homes or businesses. The bill was originally created and passed unanimously in the State Senate and passed the State House by a vote of 89-2.

The new law is pretty straightforward. The only qualification is that the party offering shelter must act in good faith. It exemplifies the strong Oklahoma tradition of helping others in need and further encourages good Samaritans to act without having to worry about legal repercussions.

The measure comes on the heals of a similar bill that was vetoed by Governor Fallin. That proposed law would have provided comparable civil immunity specifically for mobile home park operators. The Governor said she vetoed that bill because it treated a particular type of business owner different from others and from individuals and did little to encourage others to help when they are needed.

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