HOW TO FIND LAW
Below is a list of the types of law that are binding law in Washington, Osage, and Nowata counties. A law is binding law if it is enacted by an entity with authority to make law. If a law is binding, this means that certain persons are required to comply with the law.
There are four main sources of federal law:
The U.S. Constitution (available here).
Federal statutes. A federal statute is a law passed by Congress. Federal statutes may be found here. Federal statutes are numbered in a way that many non-lawyers (and some lawyers) find confusing. For a short, easy-to-understand explanation of how federal laws are numbered, click here.
Federal court decisions. Many of the best websites, for finding federal court cases, charge a fee for access. Two of the best free websites for searching federal case law are Justia and GoogleScholar.
Administrative Regulations. These are laws made by federal administrative agencies (for example, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.) Most of these regulations are available here.
There are also four main sources of Oklahoma State Law:
The Oklahoma Constitution (available here).
State statutes. A state statute is a law passed by the Oklahoma State Legislature, and may be found here.
State court decisions. These are made by Oklahoma state appeals courts, and may be found here.
State Administrative Regulations. These laws are made by Oklahoma state administrative agencies (for example, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, and the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission.) Most of these regulations are available here.
Indian Tribal Law
Many lawyers overlook Indian tribal law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that there are three types of sovereign entities in the United States:
the federal government,
the state governments, and
Because Indian tribes are one of the three types of sovereign entities in the United States, Indian tribal law plays a vital role in the American legal landscape. Indian tribes possess the authority to prosecute Indians for crimes committed against other Indians within Indian country. Indian tribal courts also have authority to hear civil suits between Indians. In general, Indian tribes do not have authority over non-Indians (though there are a few exceptions.)
Tribal law is important in Bartlesville and the surrounding communities, for two reasons: first, because Oklahoma has a large Indian population, and, second, because Bartlesville lies in both Washington and Osage County. All of Washington County lies within the boundaries of Cherokee country, and all of Osage County lies within the boundaries of Osage country. Also, all of Nowata County lies within the boundaries of Cherokee country.
For a further explanation of why all of eastern Oklahoma is within Indian country, click here.
Click here to see a map of Indian country in Oklahoma.
Many Indian tribal laws can be found on the websites of Indian tribes.
Click here to see a searchable database of Cherokee Constitutional and statutory law.
Click here to see decisions of Cherokee courts.
Click here to see statutory and constitutional law of the Osage Nation.
Click here to see the decisions of the Osage Nation Supreme Court.
Click here to see a list of links to sites containing the law of many other Indian tribes.
Cities and towns, in and of themselves, are not sovereign entities. However, the state legislature has passed a law saying that an incorporated community is a “political subdivision” of the state of Oklahoma. As a political subdivision of a sovereign entity (Oklahoma), any incorporated community in Oklahoma has sovereign authority.
According to this statute, each incorporated city and town in Oklahoma is required to keep a copy of its laws in the office of its municipal clerk. The municipal clerk must make these laws available for public inspection.
According to this statute, each incorporated city and town in Oklahoma must file a copy of its ordinances in the county law library in each county where the city or town is located. A city or town must publish its complete code of ordinances in the county law library every ten years, and must publish a supplement to these laws in the county law library every two years. If a city or town has not published its laws in this manner, the city or town may not impose any fine in excess of $50.
Some cities and towns publish their laws online.
Click here to see the Bartlesville Municipal Code.
Click here to see the Tulsa Municipal Code.
Click here to see the Dewey Municipal Code.
To see the Pawhuska Municipal Code, click here, and then click on "Code of Ordinances." This will download a zip disk file of the Pawhuska Municipal Code.
None of the other cities and towns in Washington, Osage, and Nowata Counties publish their municipal laws online. Also, some of these communities do not have their most recently passed ordinances online. To find the municipal laws of the communities that do not post their laws online, or to find the latest municipal laws of communities that do not have their latest ordinances online, you will have to contact the municipal clerk of the community, or the county law library in any county in which the municipality is situated. What follows here, is the contact information for the clerk of all incorporated municipalities in Washington, Osage, and Nowata Counties.