Oklahoma State Representative Dean Davis Files “Andy’s Law” after Young Victim of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow, this week filed legislation that would require a carbon monoxide poisoning warning sticker on motorized boats that operate in Oklahoma waters.

House Bill 2010, known as “Andy’s Law,” is named after Andrew Free, a nine-year-old Broken Arrow boy who died in 2020 of open-air carbon monoxide poisoning after a day spent wakeboarding with his family at Lake Eufaula.

“Andy’s death was heartbreaking for his family and our entire community,” Davis said. “After speaking with his mother, we decided we should work to prevent such a tragedy from happening to anyone else.”

Davis said warning stickers would help boat passengers be aware of the potential dangers of open-air carbon monoxide poisoning and be alert to watch for symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it. CO can build up near swim decks or water platforms and in the air spaces inside a boat.

The CDC says Every year, at least 420 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. More than 100,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning.

Andy’s mom, Cassi Free, said she’s praying for the success of this legislation.

“We need this,” she said. “I need this for Andy’s legacy and for my heart, that I will know I’ve done everything possible to not sit back passively while other mothers grieve their babies. Our state needs this to help protect our people in any and every way possible from this invisible killer.”

Davis’s legislation would amend state statutes to require certain boats and other water vessels to have a carbon monoxide warning sticker affixed in plain view to the interior of the vessel. The Department of Public Safety would be charged with developing and approving the sticker and literature on the damage of carbon monoxide and boating.

The department may use a sticker already approved by the U.S. Coast Guard or something similar used by other states. A warning sticker already developed and affixed by a vessel manufacturer would satisfy the requirements of the law.

After development and approval of the sticker and related literature, printing and distribution would be the responsibility of Service Oklahoma and its licensed operators to be included in annual boat registration materials or when a title is transferred. The fee charged for the sticker shall be the cost of production.

If passed, the law would become effective on Nov. 1, 2023.

H.B. 2010 will be eligible to be considered once the legislative session starts, on February 6.

Note: Dean Davis serves District 98 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes parts of Tulsa and Wagoner counties.