Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

First Bill Signed Into Law in 2013 Undoes a Law Chesapeake Energy Helped Write

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin at her state of the state address in 2013.

Chesapeake Energy has been pushing for a new law to undo a previous law the company helped write.

On Tuesday, the new law was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin — the first bill signed by the Governor during the 2013 legislative session.

House Bill 1646, authored by Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Jenks, reverses 2010 legislation that mandated staggered elections of directors of certain public corporations. Chesapeake helped write the 2010 law, which required a style of corporate governance that guarded against boardroom takeovers.

The 2010 law didn’t prevent a boardroom shakeup at the Oklahoma City company. Shareholders demanded annual elections (which is what most of Chesapeake’s corporate peers have) and the company’s new directors sought a reversal of the law. Chesapeake threatened to reincorporate in Deleware if the law wasn’t changed.

Chesapeake representatives didn’t respond to StateImpact’s request for comment.

A spokesman said the Governor was happy to sign a bill that simplified corporate governance in Oklahoma.

“It’s an important bill for the business community and makes Oklahoma a more business-friendly state,” says spokesman Alex Weintz.

 

The 2010 law had unintended consequences. The corporate structures at two other companies — ONEOK and OG&E — were unintentionally affected, a situation that had to be remedied last year with a legislative fix.


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