The Oklahoma Supreme Court says a ballot title written by the attorney general's office for an initiative to place storm shelters in Oklahoma public schools is legally correct but gave proponents more time to gather signatures to place the measure on the ballot.
The high court ruled Tuesday that proponents of the initiative petition, State Question 767, have 90 days to collect the signatures needed to get the measure on the election ballot. Supporters need the signatures of about 155,000 registered voters to get on the ballot.
A proposal supported by Gov. Mary Fallin to help local school districts pay for safety upgrades like storm shelters and safe rooms has been approved by the Oklahoma House.
The House voted 65-28 Thursday for the bill and sent it to the Senate for consideration.
“This bill empowers communities to take action to better protect their children from tornadoes and other threats," Fallin said in a statement. "It is a fiscally responsible, realistic plan that I believe will ultimately help to save lives."
Legislative leaders in Oklahoma say not all mandates are equal.
House and Senate leaders say it's appropriate for Oklahoma to set academic guidelines, but they don't see telling school districts that they must build storm shelters.
Two competing shelter plans have emerged ahead of next week's opening of the Oklahoma Legislature. One legislator's plan would see the state raise $500 million, while one by Gov. Mary Fallin would let districts raise more money locally.
Listen to KGOU's in-depth report on the petition drive for Take Shelter Oklahoma.
Supporters of a planned state question for a $500 million state bond issue to help pay for school storm shelters say they are about 40,000 signatures short of what they need to place the question on the ballot.
Take Shelter Oklahoma steering committee member Mark Nestlen said Monday the group has collected about 120,000 signatures. To place the question on the ballot, the group needs signatures from more than 155,000 registered voters.
Supporters of a $500 million bond issue to help Oklahoma school districts pay for safe-room shelters in schools say state Attorney General Scott Pruitt is biased against the proposal and are asking the Supreme Court to remove him from the case.
Attorneys for Take Shelter Oklahoma and Kristi Conatzer, the mother of one of seven children killed by a tornado in May, asked for Pruitt's recusal in a court filing on Wednesday.
Supporters of an initiative petition to fund tornado shelters in Oklahoma schools are gathering the thousands of signatures needed to send the proposal to a statewide vote, but Gov. Mary Fallin won’t be on the list.
The Tulsa World‘s Barbara Hoberock reports the plan, which would use revenue from the state franchise tax to pay the $500 million debt, does not have the governor’s support: