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January 17, 2014

Dorman wants Fallin to turn over records

DUNCAN — An open records request to make Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin reveal details about Republican strategies that blocked proposals to help schools build tornado shelters, State Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said Thursday.

The open records request will be filed by Take Shelter Oklahoma, the nonprofit group created to lobby for storm shelters in schools, he said.

Dorman, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Fallin’s re-election, said Republicans “sabotaged” his efforts to bring the shelter issue before lawmakers last year during the regular legislative session and during a later special session the governor requested.

Dorman said he wants to uncover the strategy employed by the state’s ruling party to keep the issue from a vote.

The tornado shelter issue is a major feature in his campaign to oust Fallin from the governor’s mansion.

If Fallin cites executive privilege to reject the open records request, as she did last year in turning down a records request regarding her refusal to expand  Medicaid benefits for poor Oklahomans,   Dorman said it will support his contention the governor doesn’t believe in open and transparent state governmnent.

A lawsuit has been filed to challenge Falllin’s assertion of executive privilege by American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the  parent company of an Oklahoma City news and satire outlet called The Lost Ogle.

The ACLU, Dorman and others contend executive privilege doesn’t exist under the state’s open records law.

Fallin has released some documents, including emails, in response to the records request seeking information about her denial of Medicare expansion, but she is withholding others documents.

She has said releasing those records would disrupt the flow of frank discussion about public policy decisions that often are conducted via electronic mail.

Dorman, speaking to Stephens County Democrats in Duncan, said didn’t know what the secret Medicare-related documents might reveal.

If he wins the governorship, Dorman said his first executive decision will expand Medicaid benefits by using the millions of federal dollars that Fallin turned down.

Dorman said Fallin is inconsistent about accepting federal funds because her administrations will accept money from Washington to help some people, such as tornado victims, while turning down other aid that would pay for expanded health care to low-income residents.

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