Tulsa World

Oklahomans for Health must submit their initiative petition on medical marijuana to the Oklahoma Secretary of State by Friday. The group said late last week it had 120,000 of the 156,000 signatures to bring the initiative to a vote of the people.

The group claims to have registered a “record number” of new voters while gathering signatures.

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Critics of redistricting filed an initiative petition on Wednesday seeking a statewide vote on a new process. They are trying to gather nearly 83,000 signatures to get the measure on the 2012 general election ballot. If the measure is approved by voters, it would toss out the recently drawn boundaries for legislative and congressional districts.

The nonprofit corporation created by a group of Tulsans will have 90 days after the city clerk approves its charter change petitions to circulate them. The goal is to get enough signatures - about 16,500 on each petition - to place the charter changes on the November 2011 municipal general election ballot. John Brock, a businessman who is the chairman of the group, said there is “overwhelming” belief throughout Tulsa that changing the form of government will end the discord between elected city officials.

Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly support a proposed state constitutional amendment that would extend term limits to all statewide offices, the latest Oklahoma Poll found. More than three-fourths of the 621 likely voters surveyed said they favor the proposed amendment, which is expected to appear on a statewide ballot this year. Only 17 percent opposed the idea. The proposition, State Question 747, would limit lieutenant governors, attorneys general, state auditors, labor commissioners, insurance commissioners and superintendents of public instruction to two four-year terms.

Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers said in his ruling that the Tulsa City Clerk’s Office used the wrong election to determine the required number of signatures of registered voters. State law says that a petition needs to be signed by at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the preceding general election to be deemed sufficient. Proponents of the petition said they had not decided whether to appeal the ruling because they faced a Sept. 10 deadline to get the issue on this November’s ballot.

The 9:30 a.m. hearing before Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers will decide whether City Councilor John Eagleton has raised legitimate arguments in the petition protest he filed earlier this month. Tulsans for Better Government filed the petition with the City Clerk’s Office in early May 2008. The group had 90 days from that initial filing to collect signatures. It submitted 6,994 signatures attached to a copy of the petition on Aug. 1, 2008.

The protest period to challenge an initiative petition seeking a special election on whether to make municipal elections nonpartisan ends at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Protests must be filed in Tulsa County District Court. City Clerk Mike Kier ruled last week that the petition had a sufficient number of signatures from Tulsa residents to move forward. Of the nearly 7,000 signatures on the initiative petition, 6,675 had Tulsa addresses.

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A petition for a vote to make the city’s municipal elections nonpartisan was ruled sufficient Thursday. City Clerk Mike Kier said that of the nearly 7,000 signatures on the initiative petition filed a year ago, 6,675 had Tulsa addresses. Only 3,427 valid signatures were needed to meet the state requirement for this type of petition, he said. Steve Schuller, a member of Tulsans for Better Government, said, “We are very pleased Mr. Kier made that determination and are looking forward to getting the question on the ballot in November so voters can amend the City Charter.”

Tulsa voters might get the chance to decide in November whether municipal elections should be nonpartisan. City Clerk Mike Kier was still working Wednesday to certify a nearly year-old initiative petition that has more than 6,000 signatures requesting the question be placed before voters. Kier said he expects to have a publication notice on the “sufficiency or insufficiency” of the petition by the end of the week.

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Washington County voters by a 2-to-1 margin on Tuesday approved a proposal to construct a $14.5 million new jail that will replace an outdated facility that had been cited by the state for overcrowding. Residents approved the jail proposal, funded by a ½-cent sales tax, on a vote of 3,939 to 1,854 ”” a 68 percent approval rating. County voters also approved by an 84 percent margin a measure that will eliminate personal property tax.