The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against the Take Shelter Oklahoma’s Initiative Petition for ballot title. The Take Shelter petition calls for the state of Oklahoma to provide storm shelters for public schools across Oklahoma.
However, the court gave Take Shelter 90 additional days to collect enough signatures for the November ballot.
Justices ruled in favor of Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s amended ballot language. Pruitt had challenged the petition for not having a sufficient title.
“The court’s ruling today affirms that my office’s ballot title is ‘legally correct, impartial and accurately reflects the effects of the proposed initiative’ and shows that any assertions to the contrary are completely false,” Pruitt said Tuesday. “Throughout the process, my office has acted as a neutral legal advisor and the court’s ruling upholds the correctness, accuracy and impartiality of the ballot title my office proposed.”
Supporters of the petition had managed to document more than 120,000 of the 155,000 signatures required by law when Pruitt challenged it.
Take Shelter representatives will be able to work with the attorney general to compromise on the ballot language, according to Pruitt’s office. But they will have to start over in their effort to collect signatures, said Diane Clay, director of communications for the Office of Attorney General.
Pruitt said he appreciates the efforts of Oklahomans working to protect students from dangerous weather. Seven third-graders in Moore were crushed to death by school debris when a 2-mile wide EF-5 tornado ravaged Moore on May 20. It is the widest-tornado path on record nationally.
The Attorney General’s Office serves as the state’s ‘neutral legal advisor for the people’ during a ballot process, Pruitt said.
“As such, my office is required to review all ballot measures to ensure they comply with the law, and any changes should not be considered a statement on the merits of the proposals,” Pruitt added.
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