Oklahoma lawmaker apologizes for ethnic slur

He says his comment was inappropriate and regrets making the comment during a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: April 18, 2013

The House has accepted his apology and has moved on, Griffin said.

The House voted 69-23 to pass SB 550. It goes back to the Senate.

Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, the House sponsor of the measure, said current law enacted in 1941 requires merchants to sell products for at least 6 percent more than they paid for them.

A December 2011 attorney general's opinion confirmed that state law banned “Black Friday” and other low-price sales, even if they were just temporary. As a result, Oklahoma shoppers are paying more compared with other states when merchants offer sales such as “Black Friday” and other events, Newell said.

Other backers of the bill said that when residents leave the state to shop, Oklahoma loses sales taxes. Opponents questioned who would regulate the bill and whether its passage would prove to be a disadvantage for small businesses.

Newell said SB 550 would allow merchants to sell items at below cost for less than 15 sequential days, provided the sale does not occur more than 10 times each year.

Called the Oklahoma Unfair Sales Act, the current law was intended to protect small businesses from pricing advantages held by large chains and prevent a retail giant from selling low-cost goods that put a smaller competitor out of business.