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Storm shelter petition drive falls short

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._ A petition to put a storm shelter in every public school across the state has fallen nearly 40,000 signatures short from getting in front of voters.

Take Shelter Oklahoma needs 160,000 signatures to be put on the ballot and today was the end of a 90-day petitioning period. The state Supreme Court could rule Wednesday to extend the deadline.

The group does acknowledge much progress, but says we need to stop politicizing children and start working to save their lives.

"Losing a child is the most difficult thing I've ever had to experience in my life," says Mikki Davis, the mother 8-year-old Kyle Davis, who was one of seven children who died at Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore on May 20.

With more than a thousand public schools without refuge for students and teachers during severe weather, she knows first-hand they are not safe places.

"It just kind of makes me sick to my stomach," says Davis. "I didn't know that day was going to be the last day I was going to see my son. I didn't know I was sending him off and I wouldn't be picking him up in a few hours and asking him about his day."

State Representative Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) has been at the forefront of the petition drive to put the proposal on the ballot since he was unable to get enough support in the legislature. 

"They're playing politics and unfortunately there are lives at stake with this issue," says Dorman.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will meet Wednesday to discuss the legitimacy of the petition. Dorman is hopeful they will allow them more time to collect signatures.

"The Supreme Court will meet to determine the ultimate deadline and they will also decide the ballot title and how that should read," says Dorman.

Regardless of how the court rules, Mikki Davis is forced to move on without her baby boy, but she will keep fighting for all parents so they never have to experience the pain she has been through.

"Going to the grave and talking to my son there rather than in person (is) the hardest part," she says.

Most of the opposition in the legislature has come from republicans along with two democrats. Those people say they don't want the money for the $500 million bond to come from a business tax, saying it will stunt the growth of new businesses and give existing businesses a reason to leave. Dorman says, if anything, the state's economy will get a boost through the creation of thousands of construction jobs. 

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