Chapter 8: Legal Rights and Legal Assistance Resources
Section 1: Disability Laws and Complaint Procedures
Subsection C: Oklahoma State Laws
Oklahomans with disabilities are covered by state laws prohibiting discrimination against minorities in employment, public accommodations and housing. These laws are found in Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The Oklahoma Human Rights Commission (OHRC) investigates alleged violations of these laws.
Oklahoma law also specifically provides that people using assistance dogs have the right to take such animals with them into public places. This law is found in Title 7 of the Oklahoma Statutes. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor. Complaints should be brought with the district attorney in the county where the alleged violation occurred. Title 25 public accommodation provisions offer similar protections, but complaints would be filed with the Human Rights Commission.
Title 63, Section 1-890.1 and following
Establishes licensure requirements for assisted living and continuum of care facilities.
Title 15, Section 910 and following
This law requires manufacturers of assistive devices for persons with disabilities to provide a one-year warranty for their products, and it spells out when manufacturers must repair, replace or refund defective adaptive equipment. The law also provides some protection for people who lease assistive devices. For information contact:
Oklahoma ABLE Tech
OSU Wellness Center
1514 W. Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078
888-885-5588 ABLE Tech Info-Line, Voice and TTY
800-257-1705 Voice and TTY
Title 25, Section 1452 (#13 and #14)
13. To refuse to rent or lease housing to a blind, deaf, or handicapped person on the basis of the person's use or possession of a bona fide, properly trained guide, signal, or service dog.
14. To demand the payment of an additional nonrefundable fee or an unreasonable deposit for rent from a blind, deaf, or handicapped person for such dog. Such blind, deaf, or handicapped person may be liable for any damage done to the dwelling by such dog.
Title 25, Section 1402
It is a discriminatory practice for a person to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a "place of public accommodation" because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.
Title 10, Section 1430.1 and following
Provides for licensure and inspection of group homes and defines resident rights.
Title 47, Section 15-111
Both state law and local ordinances affect handicapped parking privileges and enforcement. State law provides for disability parking permits, eligibility, and sets the range of fines or penalties for violation of handicapped parking rules. State law also authorizes towns and cities to extend special parking privileges to people with disability parking permits. Local ordinances often set specific fines for violation, and they may address enforcement measures.
State law pertaining to handicapped parking is found in Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes, Chapter 15. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) issues official disability parking permits. The law directs DPS to also recognize Veterans Administration and federal military base disability stickers for handicap parking purposes. Permits issued by DPS must be renewed every five years. Temporary, shorter term permits may also be issued. To be eligible for a disability parking permit an individual must have a physical disability such that the person:
- Cannot walk two hundred (200) feet without stopping to rest, or
- Cannot walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistant device, or
- Is restricted to such an extent that the person's forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one (1) second, when measured by spirometry, is less than sixty (60) mm/hg on room air at rest, or
- Must use portable oxygen, or
- Has functional limitations which are classified in severity as class III or class iv according to standards set by the American Heart Association, or
- Is severely limited in his or her ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition, or
- Is certified legally blind, or
- Is missing one or more limbs which impairs mobility.
Obtain applications from any tag agency or from:
Oklahoma Department of Public Safety
Provides extra penalties for crimes against persons or property where such crimes are committed with malicious intent to intimidate or harass a person because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability. A year 2000 amendment to this law prohibits the touching of any assistive device with malicious intent to intimidate or harass. Assistive devices are items that help a person with a disability to see, hear, communicate or maneuver.
Oklahoma Identification License Title 47, Section 6-105.3.
This law creates the official Oklahoma Identification License which can be used as an official ID by citizens who are not licensed to drive vehicles. The legislation was initially requested by state organizations of the blind to provide identification required for check writing, business transactions and various activities of daily life. Rules and application procedures are set by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS).
First time applicants must go to drivers' examination sites and present original identification documents (birth certificate and Social Security card, plus marriage certificate if name has changed; military ID).
To find the location of a drivers' exam site, contact DPS, highway patrol offices, sheriff or police offices, or tag agents or follow this link to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety site exam location webpage, www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/pub/DLES.pdf. After the ID application is approved, the applicant must go to a tag agent where the picture ID is made. In some smaller communities, exam and tag agent offices are co-located.
The ID is $10. Manner of payment acceptable varies among tag agents, so an advance call to the tag agency may prove helpful. One-stop ID renewal is available at tag agencies.
Title 63, Section 2409 and following.
Establishes requirements for provision of sign language interpreters in administrative, criminal and civil proceedings where a deaf person is a witness, complainant or defendant. Also requires state agencies to provide interpreters in situations where a deaf or hard of hearing person is an applicant, complainant or witness in any agency proceeding. Information on Interpreter Services, certification, fees and legal provisions is available from Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Department of Rehabilitation Services, 405-917-7700 or 800-833-8973, both TTY and Voice.
Title 74, Section 840, Subsection 4.12
This program allows applicants with severe disabilities to waive written Merit tests so long as they meet basic education and experience qualifications for state jobs. The law also provides that state agencies may choose to hire these applicants regardless of whether their names appear on registers of qualified Merit System applicants maintained by OPM.
Title 43A, Section 10-101 and following
These laws establish intervention and assistance for vulnerable adults in cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation. They also set requirements for reporting suspected cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Title 7, Section 19.1
Provides that any blind, physically handicapped, deaf or hard of hearing person who is a passenger on any public conveyance shall be entitled to have with him or her a guide, signal or service dog specially trained for that purpose, without having to pay any added charge. Dog trainers from recognized assistance dog training facilities may also use public conveyances (transportation) with dogs in training.
Individuals using guide, signal or service dogs and trainers from recognized training centers with dogs in training may not be denied admittance to or refused access to public places. These include, but are not limited to, streets, sidewalks, transportation vehicles, places of lodging, government buildings, college dorms, educational facilities, restaurants, stores, entertainment and recreation facilities or other places where the public is invited. No added fee may be charged to a person for bringing his or her guide, signal or service dog into a public place, but the owner or trainer will be liable for any damages the animal does to the premises.
Title 47, Section 1601 and following
The Oklahoma Mobility-Impaired Driver Refueling Service Act provides that any service station may on a voluntary basis participate in the refueling service program and on request offer refueling assistance to a mobility-impaired driver who displays a refueling ID card. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) issues the ID cards and writes the rules for the program. Contact DPS at:
Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 11415
Oklahoma City, OK 73136
405-425-2290 Voice mail; recorded information on programs
Service stations that choose to participate must post signs notifying the public of the refueling assistance they offer. A list of participating service stations may be requested from DPS.
Under this state law participation in the refueling assistance program is strictly voluntary and no service station is required to offer refueling assistance. However, gasoline service stations are public accommodations that are also subject to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III requires newly constructed and altered public accommodations (such as gas stations) to be accessible to persons with disabilities. By contrast, existing facilities must remove architectural barriers only when removal can be done easily, without great difficulty or expense. When an existing gasoline station cannot easily make its self-service pumps accessible, it must use alternate methods of providing disabled individuals with equal access to its goods and services. Provision of refueling assistance is the principle alternate method used by service stations. Stations cannot charge extra for the refueling help, and they cannot require a person to prove a disability. In certain situations alternate methods such as refueling help are not required because of security considerations (e.g. only one employee on duty).
Title 74, Section 3001 and following
Provides favorable conditions for state and local government to purchase goods and services produced by individuals with severe disabilities or sheltered workshops.
Title 74, Section 840, Subsection 5.16
Under this law, Oklahoma state agencies may hire TANF (welfare) recipients and Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) clients for temporary positions up to 2 years without having to count these positions against their legislatively set limits on positions (FTEs).
Title 63, Section 2416 and following
Establishes a five-cent telephone bill surcharge to pay for telephone accessibility equipment for people with hearing and speech disabilities and to fund some other specialized equipment and services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired and deaf-blind. The program is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Title 26, Section 7-123.1 and 123.3
Blind and disabled individuals who need assistance in voting can take a person of their choice into the voting area or enclosure to provide needed assistance. When a voter cannot enter a polling place because of a disability, two precinct election board members from different political parties shall give the voter the assistance needed for voting.
Title 7, Section 12
This law was enacted to improve pedestrian travel safety for persons who are blind, visually impaired or those with other disabilities who use signal (for the deaf) or service (assistance) dogs. It requires drivers to come to a full stop no closer than 15 feet from a person with a disability who is in a roadway or crossing an intersection. The person must be using a white cane or dog guide. Violations of the law are misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $100 and/or up to 3 months in jail.