Norma Sapp didn’t let last week’s storms slow down her state-wide campaign to promote Senate Bill 852 and House Bill 2246.

“We ran into some really severe weather,” said Sapp, a representative of Oklahomans for Initiative Rights. “Our sign suffered some wind damage.”

Sapp is traveling across the state, gathering signatures and attention on a campaign to extend the amount of time to collect signatures from  90 days, as is allowed under current law, to one year.

“HB 2246 will reform Oklahoma’s hardest-in-the-nation ballot initiative and referendum process,” said Sapp. “Currently Oklahoman’s only have 90 days to collect signatures needed to qualify for a ballot. You have to hire people to do that.”

Oklahoma’s constitution guarantees citizens the right to petition to place issues on the ballot for voters to decide.

“This right is being whittled away,” said Sapp. “SB-852 and HB-2246 would reform our ballot initiative process and protect our rights.”

Oklahoma has the highest signature requirement in the country - 220,000 - and citizens are allowed 90 days in which to collect signatures, according to Sapp.

“In the last decade, only three initiatives have reached the ballot for voters to decide,” said Sapp.

The initiative and referendum process allows grassroots efforts to petition and have a say in the legislation that appears before their state representatives.

“These bills also move any challenges of the ballot language to the beginning of the initiative petition process,” said Sapp. “By doing so, it will allow any corrections in the wording to happen before the signatures are collected, preventing initiatives from being thrown out for a mere technicality. It also cleans up the language of the law to make it more current.”

To date, Sapp has visited over half of the cities in Oklahoma - with many more to go.

“We are just asking people to contact their senator or representative and tell them to reform the restrictive ballot initiative process and give voters time to petition,” said Sapp.

Contact Senator Charles Wyrick at 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Rm. 530 Oklahoma City, OK., 73105, (405) 521-5561 or  (918) 676-3886 e-mail:wyrick@oksenate.gov.

Contact State Representative Larry Glenn at 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Rm. 510-B Oklahoma City, OK., 73105, (405) 557-7399 or (918) 540-1355 e-mail: Larryglenn@okhouse.gov.