Take Shelter Oklahoma to sue Governor over open records requests
Take Shelter Oklahoma is putting Governor Mary Fallin on notice.
In November, Take Shelter Oklahoma filed an open records request for e-mails to and from the governor’s office having anything to do with shelters in schools and their ballot initiative.
They feel she is deliberately ignoring them, so they are giving the governor one week to hand over the e-mails or they’ll file a lawsuit.
The group’s attorney David Slane says, “My goal is to avoid a lawsuit. We’re saying governor we don’t want to sue you.”
In the past, Governor Fallin has been against the group’s efforts to use $500 million in franchise tax money to fund shelters in schools.
“Take Shelter” supporters believe the governor’s e-mails will reveal her opposition.
“We feel like this is very calculated,” says Slane. “It’s calculated on the governor’s part to not respond.”
Governor Fallin says local school boards, not voters, should be the ones to decide whether shelters are built and how to pay for them.
The group’s original open records request was sent on November 7th.
The governor’s office responded six weeks later, on December 26th, saying she would comply. But that notice went to an address in Tulsa. It then took a few more weeks to reach “Take Shelter” supporters.
“I understand that the governor has a practice of not turning over records,” says Slane. “She needs to know that simply will not work.”
Representative Jason Murphey says the lack of communication is making Governor Fallin look bad but admits, these requests take time. Anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Murphey says, “There are so many requests coming in and so many thousands of pages of emails being requested that it creates a challenge.”
But Moore mother, Danni Legg, says the safety of Oklahoma children should be at the top of the governor’s to-do list.
“Be on notice Mary Fallin,” says Legg. “Your actions and attitude are not of Oklahoma standards.
A spokesman for the governor’s office tells me they fully intend to comply but it will take a while. They hand over records on a first come first served basis.
The group has also requested Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s e-mails regarding shelters in schools after he changed the wording to their ballot initiative in October.