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Oklahoma school storm shelters effort nears deadline

One state lawmaker says Take Shelter Oklahoma is still well short of the goal of 160,000 signatures.
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: December 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm •  Published: December 14, 2013

Backers of a school storm shelter proposal have three days to submit the 160,000 signatures needed to get it on the ballot, and they are well short of that number.

Their only hope: The Oklahoma Supreme Court meets Wednesday to consider changes Attorney General Scott Pruitt made to the wording of the proposed ballot measure.

If the court rejects the revised language, supporters might be permitted to start a new signature-gathering campaign.

Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, who has been working with the group Take Shelter Oklahoma to get a bond issue for shelters on a statewide ballot, said reports from volunteers suggest they have about 110,000 signatures, or about 50,000 under the goal.

The initiative petition calls for the state to issue up to $500 million in bonds for the construction of Oklahoma school storm shelters. Franchise tax revenues would be used to repay the bonds, and the Legislature could appropriate additional money to pay off bonds if franchise tax revenues were insufficient.

Pruitt's office rewrote the proposed ballot language, emphasizing that franchise tax revenues currently flow into the general fund and that approval of the measure would divert that money from the general fund, which is the primary fund used to finance state government.

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch he went on to cover the Oklahoma Senate for eCapitol before joining the...
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