The mothers of two Moore schoolchildren who were killed in last year’s tornado have filed a lawsuit accusing Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin of violating the state’s open records law.
The lawsuit was filed in Oklahoma County District Court on behalf of Mikki Davis and Danni Legg, whose sons died in the May 20 tornado that struck Plaza Towers Elementary School. The suit accuses Fallin’s office of denying access to public records regarding school safety.
An open records request was filed Nov. 7 on behalf of Take Shelter Oklahoma, but the state hadn’t handed over the requested documents as of Jan. 31, the lawsuit said.
Take Shelter Oklahoma requested documents “regarding the franchise tax, storm shelters, Take Shelter Oklahoma initiative petition, and any other related matter in regard to safety for schoolchildren and others during severe weather outbreaks and/or matters related to school security in cases of shooters and other dangerous school attacks,” according to the petition.
Take Shelter Oklahoma is an advocacy group that’s leading an initiative petition that would ask voters to decide a $500 million bond issue to pay for storm shelters in public schools. The group fell short of gathering the 160,000 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot, but an Oklahoma Supreme Court hearing is set for later this month on the group’s appeal. Both Davis and Legg are involved in the effort.
According to the lawsuit, the group wants the public records prior to the Feb. 25 hearing before the state’s high court.
Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Fallin, told The Oklahoma that records requests are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We get dozens of open records requests. Some of them can require reading thousands of documents. Someone in our office has to compile and read through those documents. It’s not as simple as hitting a word search and then forwarding an electronic file,” Weintz said.
“At the end of the day, Take Shelter Oklahoma and Mary Fallin have the same goal: to put more storm shelters in schools.”
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