Take Shelter Oklahoma Storm Shelter No Longer An Option

Wednesday, February 26th 2014, 5:38 pm
By: News 9

Exclusive numbers portray how Oklahomans really feel about shelters in schools.

News 9 and the Oklahoma Gazette poll show that you want the shelters, but you don't like the payment plan from Governor Mary Fallin. And the other plan to pay is no more.

The bill that left the decision and the payment up to the districts passed committee and now awaits the house floor. The other bill that wanted the state to pay was never heard in committee and now almost doesn't exist.

"Them to squash our bill is just appalling," said Danni Legg, who lost her son on May 20.

Legg has worked to create and support HJR 1078, which was expected to be heard yesterday in the House Rules Committee.

"There's no rhyme or reason behind that," Legg said. "It creates a feeling of insult to injury."

Committee Chairman Todd Russ says he didn't see the bill on his agenda in the required 48 hours in advance.

"It wasn't presented to me and I can't answer that question," he said.

But Representative Joe Dorman feels he knows the answer quite well.

"That answer is garbage," Dorman said. "He had no intention of bringing it up. He had the authority to put it on the agenda."

And even though Dorman's bill didn't have an official hearing, Russ stands in support of Governor Fallin's plan and letting the district's fund shelters through school bonds.

"We feel like the other bills are going to offer safety for the children," Russ said.

But exclusive poll numbers show Oklahomans feel differently. While about 78% polled are for public funding to build storm shelters, only about 11% want to do so through ad valor em or property taxes. Those numbers don't surprise Legg.

"They've made it such a political, three ring circus up here about child safety and that's just wrong," Legg said.

Dorman's bill still has a very small chance. He will have to file an initiative petition and get two thirds signatures in the house.

Of those polled in our News 9/Gazette poll, the majority of those asked, or 36.7 percent, think the funding for storm shelters should come from sales taxes.