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Take Shelter Oklahoma Files Appeal with Oklahoma Supreme Court

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._ The families who lost children inside Plaza Towers Elementary during the May 20th tornado in Moore continue to fight an uphill battle for storm shelters in all Oklahoma schools.

Thursday, the Take Shelter Oklahoma group filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the Oklahoma Attorney General's recent re-write of the storm shelter ballot initiative.

It's a measure that Take Shelter Oklahoma believes hides the true meaning and purpose of the amendment. And the Oklahoma Attorney General's rewrite is something they said breaks a state law. Thursday in an emotional press conference, the families of the seven children lost made it clear they're not going down without a fight.

"I don't think that any of our elitist politicians should be telling us how we should make our opinion on how we protect our kids. Our kids should go to school, be safe, and come home. But our kids didn't come home that day," said Kristi Conatzer.

Kristi Conatzer's daughter Emily died in the storm, and for her, the message is simple. You can't put a price on a child's life. Take Shelter Oklahoma's Attorney David Slane said politics can't get in the way of making schools safer.

"When you start tinkering with people's right to vote you can really derail things, and so that's why we came to the Oklahoma Supreme Court," said Slane.

Rush Springs Representative Joe Dorman said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's rewrite is nothing more than "political commentary" on the use of the revenue collected from the state's franchise tax, rather than an explanation of the actual change.

"They made it confusing, and it will be easy to mislead voters on the ballot," said Dorman.

"We just have to work harder. Powerful people are defeated. So we will just keep on doing what we are doing, getting those signatures. Then we have the choice to show her what the people really want," said Conatzer.

And together the parents of the seven lost want people to remember that it is not if it will happen, but when it will happen again.

"Yes, we are grief stricken. Yes, we are tired. Yes, some days it is very hard for us to get up, get out of bed, and go on with our lives without that child. But that's also what drives me because it can happen again," said Danni Legg.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear the case and determine just how the initiative will be worded on the ballot if 160,000 signatures are gathered on the petition by its deadline December 16th.

If the petition makes it onto the November 2014 ballot and passes, it would approve $500 million to fund storm shelters at schools statewide without raising any new or existing taxes.

 

 

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