Family wins battle for day care reforms

Lawton_A bill known as "Demarion's Law" passed the final hurdle Tuesday to become an Oklahoma law. The bill requiring day care centers to carry liability insurance has cleared both the house and senate and now goes to Governor Brad Henry for his signature.

As we've reported, the bill is named for 3-year-old Demarion Pittman who was accidentally left in a day care van for two hours on a hot summer day, and now has irreversible brain damage.

Lawton Representative T.W. Shannon grew up in Lawton with Edna Pittman, and co-authored the bill. He says this is one of the best things to come out of a parent's worst nightmare.

Demarion Pittman's family is facing millions of dollars in medical bills after their 3-year-old suffered irreversible brain damage. Day care workers had left him in a hot van for two hours. The center, "Totally 4 Kids" in Oklahoma City, didn't have liability insurance; so the Pittmans were left to pay for someone else's mistake. "Mr. Pittman is working very hard," says Shannon. "I think he has 2 or 3 jobs at this point. Edna has worked faithfully, she and I went to high school [together], we grew up in the same church, and they've always been a hard working family. But, obviously, this has changed their life, [turned it] upside down."

Demarion's mom, Edna, pushed for this new law, which now requires day cares to carry a minimum of $200,000 in liability insurance. While the law will protect other families in the future, it does nothing to relieve the Pittmans' debt - something Shannon calls an incredibly selfless act. "It's very rare that a piece of legislation is introduced, and passed, and signed into law, the very first time,' he says. "But I knew if any family could do it, this family could."

Day cares are now required to notify parents if they don't carry liability insurance. If they violate the law, they could lose their license.