Debate Continues After Storm Shelter Bill Fails In OK Legislature

Saturday, May 24th 2014, 11:02 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma Lawmakers are done for the year, but one of the most talked about pieces of legislation did not get passed in this session. It's the one that could have eventually put storm shelters in schools.

The bill was backed by Gov. Mary Fallin and would have allowed Oklahomans to decide whether to fund school shelters. But the Senate voted against it.

"We knew the chances were about 50/50 in the senate and you know, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose," said State Rep. Mark McBride.

McBride says it was a disappointing loss for House Joint Resolution 1092. He co-authored it and said It would've let voters approve funding for safe rooms in schools at their bonding capacity.

"There are schools in the state that could do this right now, but there are about 25 school districts that can't," McBride said.

The House supported it in a last minute vote, but the Senate shot it down.

"I'd hate to gamble with children's lives, you know, on this loss," he said.

Danni Legg lost her son Christopher last year on May 20 inside Plaza Towers Elementary School.

"Actually, today is the day of my son's funeral," Legg said.

Legg says smaller school districts wouldn't have benefited from McBride's bill.

"Rural areas, they don't have those abilities even though they have a bond where they can actually implement. They actually do not have the means for those bonds to pass in their areas. They have no funding, therefore they cannot build a shelter," she said.

But McBride says without any legislation funding school shelters, students as a whole miss out.

"If it only shelters three percent of the children in the state, and if your child was one of those in that three percent, wouldn't you have wanted this deal?" Mcbride said.

Legg says the fight to put safe rooms in all Oklahoma schools is far from over.

"We don't want one child chosen over another child because of where they live to get a shelter," Legg said. "This is not something that's going to go away. We have got to do what we've got to do to make things right and protect our children."

McBride says it's back to the drawing board for lawmakers until the next session begins in February. He says the organization, Shelter Oklahoma Schools, is giving funding to three more schools at the end of the month for storm shelters.