After Governor Stitt’s signature, Howard-Stinson law enshrines the right for health care power of attorney

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed Senate Bill 1596, also known as the Oklahoma Health Care Agent Act, which establishes requirements for health care power of attorney and allows Oklahomans to make advanced decisions about their care in case they are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. The measure was authored by Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus.

“All citizens should be able to easily and freely nominate someone to act on their behalf in the unfortunate event that they are unable to make their own health care decisions,” Howard said.“After updating the Durable Power of Attorney Act during the last legislative session, we’ve had about a seven-month gap with no direct authorization for health care power of attorney. This will ensure Oklahomans will always have the right to designate a family member or friend to have their best interests in mind if they are unable to do so themselves.”

Howard said the new law is supported by Oklahoma’s health care agencies, hospitals and other interested parties.

Rep. Preston Stinson, R-Edmond, was the House author of the measure.

The proposal passed 41-3 in the Senate on March 15, with four members, not present (“excused”). The House passed the Howard-Stinson measure 84-3 on April 26. However, 13 members were excused.

The bill immediately became law upon the governor’s signature.

Note: Pat McGuigan, founder and publisher of, contributed to this report.