Senate committee passes Demarion's Law

Wednesday, April 16th 2008, 7:30 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

A big victory is in order for one Oklahoma family who's fighting to protect all children. The family pushed for a bill to require day cares to have liability insurance.

The bill passed both the House and Senate and it's on its way to the governor's desk. Demarion Pittman is the boy behind the bill, his family is overjoyed it could soon be law.

Demarion Pittman's just three years old. His life forever changed when a home day care provider left him in a hot car for an hour and a half. His body temperature was 117 degrees when he was found.

"It's really turned our family upside down," Demarion's mother, Edna Pittman said.

Demarion suffered major brain injuries. The medical bills total nearly $2 million so far.

"I cried so many tears at the beginning of this," Pittman said. "Through those tears I realized something needed to be done."

That something is a bill named after her son. Demarion's Law would require all child care facilities to maintain liability insurance of at least $200,000 for each occurrence of negligence. Right now, nothing forces home day cares to have insurance.

"In case it does happen, other Oklahoma children and their families are protected somewhat from the financial burden that has been brought upon my family," Pittman said.

It was a big success for the family and the bill's author when Demarion's Law passed the House and Senate.

"I'm elated, I'm extremely excited about seeing democracy at work," Rep. Mike Shelton, D-District 97, said. "The process can work."

Shelton wrote the bill and it will soon head to the governor's office.

"This Legislation worked because that family came, took off work and made it possible to educate these Legislators about the problem out in their community," Shelton said.

Demarion's family learned perseverance can truly pay off.

"I can sleep better at night knowing in case something else happens in a facility, other family won't have to go through what we've had to go through," Pittman said.

Rep. Shelton said the cost of liability insurance is minimal and costs a few hundred dollars a year.

There are some exceptions for day cares that cannot afford it or are not approved for insurance. They can keep operating as long as they notify parents that they do not have insurance.