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Oklahoma Supreme Court asked to take up taxpayer demand law

A district court judge dismissed a challenge last week to the law.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: January 8, 2013

State law previously required signatures of 10 resident taxpayers before the legal action could be filed.

The new law requires at least 100 registered voters to sign before the action is filed.

Rights violated?

Fent said the new law violates taxpayers' constitutional rights.

All voters are taxpayers because they pay state sales taxes on any food they buy, but all taxpayers are not voters because many do not want to register to vote for numerous reasons.

As a result, some taxpayers will never be able to file a demand because they are not also voters, he said.

Fent said the measure also violates a previous state Supreme Court ruling that supports open access to the courts.

It will cost the petitioner money to pay for an attorney and other costs to make sure the 100 signing the petition are registered voters, which has to be done before the legal action even is filed, he said.

The Supreme Court, in striking down a law that required attorneys to find a medical expert to approve a medical malpractice lawsuit, has said legislation cannot deny equal protection to residents by closing the courthouse doors to those financially incapable of paying those costs.


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