I am NOT a lawyer

With respect to various Oklahoma cities and towns going bonkers with curfews, mandatory masks in public, and so on, I offer this NON-LAWYER legal analysis:

In Oklahoma, cities and towns have authority under OS 11 22-120 to enforce quarantine, etc.:

"The municipal governing body may enact and enforce such ordinances, rules and regulations as it deems necessary for the protection of the public health, not inconsistent with state law; and may establish and regulate hospitals, and provide for their operation and support. The governing body may make regulations to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases into the municipality and may enforce quarantine laws within five (5) miles of the municipal limits. "

Quarantine has a dictionary definition which most people already understand. If you are sick, they can order you to stay home, or in the hospital, etc. This makes sense.

Curiously, this statute does NOT give authority to enforce curfews, close businesses, prevent gatherings of 10 or more, or any number of other actions being taken by overzealous city councils and mayors. The closest they can get to that is under the state Riot Control Act, which allows a municipality to issue similar orders **consistent with the Act**. (OS 21 ch 55 1321) Problem is, we're not in a state of riot/disorder/insurrection, or what have you. I'm sure the excuse is "state of emergency", but state code has a separate set of provisions for health emergencies. Title 21 is the state ***criminal*** code.

Also, even if you concede that this law applies to the current situation, The Riot Control and Prevention Act expressly defines what may be prohibited. Business closures, essential/non-essential designations, etc are NOT on the list.

There is a catch-all line, though:

"8. Such other activities as the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace."

Seems like this can be used to do "all the things" but...OK Statute can't offend the OK State constitution, or in certain cases the Federal Constitution under the 14th Amendment.

From the OK constitution Bill of Rights:

§ 3. Right of assembly and petition.

The people have the right peaceably to assemble for their own good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition, address, or remonstrance."


§ 33. Effect of enumeration of rights.

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.

It will be interesting to see where this leaves us in the coming months. I predict lawsuits, courts hand-waving away justified claims, and some amount of clamoring for the Legislature to clarify issues, which will fall on mostly deaf ears.


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