OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 12 Oklahoma counties due to tornadoes, severe storms, straight line winds and flooding that began Friday.
The counties included in the declaration are Alfalfa, Caddo, Canadian, Cleveland, Ellis, Harper, Jackson, Kiowa, Logan, Oklahoma, Woods and Woodward.
Damage assessments continue in the hardest hit areas, including the city of Woodward where a large tornado killed five overnight, including children.
Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.
Oklahoma's Emergency Price Stabilization Act has also been enacted for the 12 counties.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Oklahoma's price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a state of emergency has been declared.
"The overwhelming majority of Oklahomans are focused on helping their neighbors in the aftermath, but we have seen a few cases of price gouging and fraudulent claims in the past, so consumers need to be aware," Pruitt said.
The price gouging statute was adopted following tornadoes in May 1999 that caused significant damage across a large portion of Oklahoma.
"This statute is meant to protect Oklahomans during some of their most vulnerable times," Pruitt said. "We send our prayers to the families in Woodward, and hope that knowledge of the law will protect them from further harm. We remind anyone considering such action that they may face criminal or civil action."
Additionally, the act is in effect for another 180 days for prices to repairs, remodeling and construction.
Oklahomans who suspect price gouging should file a complaint with the Attorney General's Public Protection Unit. Complaint forms are available online at www.oag.ok.gov or consumers can call (405) 521-2029.
According to the price gouging statute "No person for the duration of a declaration of emergency by the Governor of this state or by the President of the United States and for 30 days thereafter shall sell, rent, lease or offer to sell, rent or lease for delivery in the emergency area any goods, services, dwelling units or storage space in the emergency area at a rate or price which is more than 10 percent above the rate or price charged by the person for the same or similar goods, services, dwelling units or storage spaces immediately prior to the declaration of emergency unless the increase in rate or price is attributable to price increases in applicable regional, national or international petroleum commodity markets or only factors unrelated to the emergency and does not include any increase in profit to the seller or owner."