UPDATE: Take Shelter Oklahoma continues fight against attorney general for shelters
OKLAHOMA CITY – Take Shelter Oklahoma continues to fight for a $500 million bond that would fund the construction of storm shelters in local schools.
The group wrote a proposal that would show up on a ballot and sent it to Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office.
Last month, the group filed an appeal to Pruitt’s changes to the language of the ballot proposal, saying his rewording takes the focus off of children’s safety.
The group has a theory as to why.
Danni Legg says it is as simple as playing politics with children’s safety.
Legg said, “Because of that stinking thinking my son is dead.”
Her son Christopher died in Plaza Towers Elementary School last May.
In her son’s memory, she’s supporting “Take Shelter Oklahoma” and its legal fight.
Walking into the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, the group’s attorneys filed papers outlining their argument against Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
First, the group argues Pruitt’s office did not contest their proposal within the required five days.
Richard Morrissette, one of the group’s attorneys, says, “He did it on the seventh day. End of story. He’s out of time.”
The group also claims Pruitt has close ties to the state chamber of commerce, who they claim wants to see the franchise tax money that would pay for the shelters eliminated.
David Slane, another attorney for the group, says, “We believe he took their money. We think he’s taking his marching orders from them and we want him off this case.”
Supporters say in memory of the seven little ones lost, they will continue this fight.
“I live this every day,” says Legg. “Doing the right thing, which is putting our children first and protecting our children, should be on everyone’s agenda.”
In response, Attorney General Scott Pruitt says, “As a parent, I commend those trying to find a way to protect Oklahoma students from severe and dangerous weather and changes to this proposal should not be considered an opinion for or against their efforts. I, along with our senior attorneys, reviewed the proposed language as we do with every ballot title. We found it did not comply with the law, and then, as required, submitted a revised ballot title to the Secretary of State. The attorneys in my office are hard-working, professional public servants who work every day to enforce and uphold the rule of law; to assail their commitment as politically motivated is untruthful and just silly.”
The Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce says, “The allegations made in the brief are absurd and nothing more than a desperate publicity stunt. The State Chamber and its PAC have not made any contributions to Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The Chamber has taken no position on the proposed ballot measure.”
Meanwhile, the Dec. 16 deadline for the signatures required to get the proposal on the ballot still stands.
The initiative still needs approximately 100,000 signatures.
To keep the efforts alive, the group has launched the “Get Your 20″ campaign to encourage supporters to each get 20 signatures over the next four weeks.
Take Shelter Oklahoma representatives have said that under certain statutes, an extension can be granted because of the pending appeal but the group says it does not want to take any chances.