House Reverses Course, Approves $25M OKPOP Museum In Tulsa

Friday, May 22nd 2015, 2:33 pm
By: News On 6

One day after failing to pass a $25 million bond proposal to build a new museum in Tulsa, the Oklahoma House reversed course and narrowly passed a plan to build the facility dedicated to the state's icons of popular culture.

The House voted 51-40 Friday to approve the bond issue, one day after the same measure fell seven votes short of passing. A bill needs 51 votes to pass in the House. It now heads to Gov. Mary Fallin for consideration.

The bill passed despite fierce resistance from some Republicans who argued the state shouldn't be in the business of operating museums.

The museum's business plan calls for the construction of an adjacent parking garage to generate revenue to help fund operations.

Related Story: 2/21/2015 Oklahoma House Turns Down Tulsa OKPOP Museum Funding

Statement from Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber:

The OKPOP Museum proposal is a fiscally-prudent, well-vetted proposal, evident by the strong, statewide, bi-partisan support the project received in today's vote. The OKPOP Museum is projected to bring millions of dollars and thousands of visitors into our community each year, thereby supporting the basic services we all agree government should maintain. Tourism remains a top economic generator in rural and urban areas across our state, and OKPOP will fill a missing void in the state's tourism and entertainment arena.

We applaud the Legislature, specifically Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, for their commitment to seeing this bill progress. The passage of this bill was the perfect example of a true bi-partisan, statewide effort.

Today's victory would not have been possible without the steadfast, relentless pursuit made by Dr. Bob Blackburn, in addition to the many private donors who stepped to the plate years ago making significant financial pledges toward this project.