Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry vetoes new signature requirements

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June 8, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry has vetoed House Bill 2246, a bill that would have increased Oklahoma's restrictive 90 day circulation period to one year and offered petition circulators protection against harassment. Henry argued the law would have stifled the freedom to express opposition.

The veto has been widely criticized by initiative process supporters.[1] According to the Tulsa World, "Brian Downs, executive director of Oklahomans for Responsible Government, says Henry's veto was a "slap to the face of citizens who want to petition their government."Downs says it leaves Oklahoma with one of the nation's highest barriers for getting a measure on the ballot."[2] On their blog, OFRG notes that the bill received "near-unanimous" support in the legislature.[3]

Norma Sapp, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Initiative Rights said that "Governor Henry is out of touch with Oklahomans."[4] That group led a 70 city grassroots tour of the state to raise support for a slate of initiative reforms including HB 2246.[5] “We traveled throughout the state and we heard one message: Let Oklahomans Vote. The citizens want these reforms. The legislature voted for these reforms. Governor Henry has chosen to ignore the voters who elected him and continue making Oklahoma one of the most repressive states in the nation.” said Sapp in a press release.

Blogger Joe Matthews called it a "Bad Veto in Oklahoma" and called Gov. Henry's veto message an "interesting argument, and it may be a cynical one." and said that "In effect, his veto is an attempt to defend blocking campaigns, and puts the governor on the side of those who would limit access to the ballot."[6]

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