Plaza Towers Parent Sues AG Over Storm Shelter Initiative - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Plaza Towers Parent Sues Attorney General Over Storm Shelter Initiative

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

A lawsuit was filed Thursday in the Oklahoma Supreme Court against the state's attorney general in a fight to add storm shelters to every school in Oklahoma.

Plaza Tower parents and initiative supporters are also taking on Gov. Mary Fallin as they push to allow voters to decide if shelters should be added to schools.

Currently, thousands of supporters are signing petitions to allow Oklahomans to vote for or against a $500-million franchise tax to build the shelters. However, supporters say there is political opposition that is getting in their way.

"The people in the state of Oklahoma want to have the right to vote on this, and they deserve that right," plaintiffs' attorney David Slane said.

Volunteers are asking for signatures in support of a ballot initiative where the wording voters see matters. Supporters argue that Attorney General Scott Pruitt has changed that wording to focus more on a tax increase rather than children's safety.

"The law says [Pruitt] is to check [the initiative] for legal correctness. Not to re-write it the way he wants to write it," said Slane.

What's more, attorneys say Pruitt missed his deadline to change the ballot and that's where the lawsuit comes into play.

Kristi Conatzer and Danni Legg both lost a child in Plaza Towers. Conatzer is named in the lawsuit as a plaintiff. Both Conatzer and Legg believe Fallin is opposed to the initiative and they say her influence sparked the current fight and is hurting their efforts.

"We lost something on May 20 that we can never get back, and I don't think that any of our elitist politicians should be telling us how we should make our opinion on protecting our kids," Conatzer said. "Our kids should go to school, be safe and come home … and they didn't come home that day."

Legg says she will not stop fighting until every school has a shelter.

"What Mary Fallin has done has sabotaged my efforts to put shelters in every school in Oklahoma," Legg said.

Representatives from the offices of both Fallin and Pruitt were unavailable to go on camera Thursday.

Late Thursday, Governor Fallin's office emailed a statement to News 9, saying in part, the governor "supports efforts to put storm shelters in schools. Where people may disagree is how best to do that and pay for it."

The Take Shelter Oklahoma organization hopes to have signatures collected by Dec. 16, 2013. Supporters will need 155,000 signatures before the initiative will be placed on a ballot. Organizers said Thursday that a current estimate was 20,000 signatures.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court had not set an initial hearing date as of late Thursday.

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