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Oklahoma lawmakers play politics with severe storms measure

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 19, 2012

Hard to say what's more frustrating, seeing lawmakers invoke last weekend's deadly tornado to politicize a bill giving legal cover to those who help others during severe weather, or the fact that such a law is needed in the first place.

House Bill 2296 by Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, dealt with the owners of mobile home parks who make their offices available to residents during storms. It sailed through the House and Senate, but Republican Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed it, saying the legislation treated some business owners differently than others.

Proctor tried Monday to get the veto overridden, but Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, got the issue tabled. Proctor said the move usurped House business and was nothing more than a sop to the GOP governor.

Subsequently, it was decided a bill by Rep. John Enns, R-Enid, could be amended to address Fallin's concerns by providing liability protection not just to mobile home park managers, but any Oklahomans who offer shelter during storms. Steele's office says Proctor and House Democrats rejected his offer to have them assist in crafting that language. Instead, a second override attempt was made Tuesday. It failed after about two hours of debate.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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