Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill that will allow the state to access $45 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund to help communities recover from tornado damage. Fallin on Friday signed a bill that the House and Senate passed unanimously in the wake of the deadly tornado that raked across the state on Monday, killing 24 people and injuring hundreds more. It allows the state to use the money to match federal disaster funds and for other "disaster-related assistance." The state's Rainy Day Fund, a constitutional reserve fund, currently has a balance of about $577 million. Up to 25 percent of the money can be accessed to pay for emergency-related expenses. The rest is reserved for when the state experiences budget shortfalls.
Governor Mary Fallin says Oklahoma isn't going to mandate storm shelters or safe rooms in the aftermath of the Moore tornado. The city's mayor wants to propose a city ordinance requiring all new homes to have storm shelters. But he says the city may only be able to require them for new assisted living facilities and apartment complexes.
The House and Senate on Friday, in response to the deadly twister that tore through the Oklahoma City area on Monday, passed a bill to provide tax breaks to property and vehicle owners who suffered losses from the storm. Fallin indicated she would sign the measure.
The Oklahoma Legislature has adjourned the 2013 Legislature one week earlier than required and handed Gov. Mary Fallin a major political victory by passing an income tax cut. The House dropped the gavel at 7:33 p.m. Friday and adjourned Sine Die, a Latin phrase that literally means "without day." The Senate had adjourned at 12:23 p.m. By adjourning a week early, the Legislature saved about $140,000 in expenses for lawmakers and other session costs. Lawmakers must adjourn by the last Friday in May.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that requires abortion providers to take additional steps to notify the parents of a minor who is seeking an abortion. The measure was among 21 bills Fallin signed into law on Friday, when the Legislature planned to adjourn its 2013 legislative session. The bill prohibits a minor from getting an abortion until at least 48 hours after written notice has been provided to her parent or guardian, except in cases of a medical emergency. In that case, the physician must verbally inform a parent within 24 hours after the abortion and send a written notice to the parent's last known address. The bill includes an exemption for girls who are the victims of sexual or physical abuse.
An army of insurance adjusters from across the country started to descend on Moore less 24 hours after Monday’s storm, and by Wednesday morning, a long line of them had formed outside the First Baptist Church.
Many were already in the area because of hail and tornados from earlier storms, and now they’re in destroyed neighborhoods assessing damage house by house.
Suzette Grillot reports from Istanbul, where she speaks with University of Oklahoma economist Firat Demir about the international response to Monday's deadly tornado in Moore, Okla., and political problems facing Turkey.
Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with Firat Demir.
After decades of fighting, the conflict between the Kurdish nationalist group the PKK and the Turkish government finally drew to a close with a ceasefire in March.
Peace in Turkey may be short-lived, though. Violence in neighboring Syria is steadily intensifying, forcing a reluctant Turkey to respond and possibly putting citizens at risk.
“Most people among the Kurdish population are very optimistic,” says Firat Demir, a University of Oklahoma economist. “The last thing now that a citizen of Turkey wants is to have another civil conflict after this 80-year-old bloody conflict that is ending.”
Interviews with Linda Day, Donna Butler, Gov. George Blanchard & Dr. Lois Pokwarney
The Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s Little Axe Resource Center is surrounded by greenery and gently rolling hills making it a beautiful backdrop for what has become a place to get help and some of the necessities of life for the surrounding residents.
Stella and Jack Howard (left and right) with their daughter, Dawnelaina (center), sit with the remains of their Moore home. The Howards built this house after their last one was destroyed by the May 3, 1999, twister.
Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with Firat Demir about Turkey's reaction to the May 20 Moore tornado.
From Italy to Istanbul, the tragedy in Moore isn’t far from many people's minds or the front pages of international newspapers.
"We have received an amazing outpouring here from the mayor to regular citizens stopping by to see how they can help," says Rebecca Cruise, who's visiting the University of Oklahoma's center in Arezzo, Italy. "The emails from faculty with students abroad also show how much the world is paying attention to this story."
Darius Joseph, 15, moved with his mom from New Orleans to Moore, Okla. after his home was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Last year, Joseph ran away from home and moved in with the family of his best friend Brandon Dick.
Monday's tornado in Moore, Okla., killed 24 people and caused an estimated $2.2 billion worth of damage. As the community reflects on what happened, one question is: How did so many manage to survive such devastating destruction?
Lifelong Oklahoman Kristi Freeman has seen her share of tornadoes, but she says the twister that tore through her neighborhood Monday was something else.
"This tornado was like a monster. It was like something that was alive. It destroyed your peace, your comfort," she says.
As the residents of Moore, Okla., and surrounding communities continue to recover from Monday's devastating tornado that killed at least 24 people and injured more than 375, we're keeping an eye on the news from there: