The state Senate voted Wednesday to direct $45 million from the state Rainy Day Fund for immediate tornado disaster relief. Senate Bill 249, passed unanimously in the Senate, directs funds to the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management to aid recovery efforts in affected communities. SB 249 was passed in response to a request by Gov. Mary Fallin.
At least 24 people were killed and more than 200 others injured in Monday’s EF5 tornado. It has been projected that the damage from Monday’s storm could exceed that of May 3, 1999, which topped $1 billion. Moore Sen. Anthony Sykes represents the area where Monday’s tornado was the deadliest and caused the greatest destruction.
“This is extremely important for the people of Senate District 24 who were so greatly affected by the tornado,” Sykes said. “The Senate vote to enable the use of these emergency funds is a critical part of the relief effort. I thank my fellow members for their support, and I thank our fellow citizens throughout the state who have reached out to those impacted by this devastating storm.”
“This is an absolutely heart breaking tragedy, but we know these are strong communities full of resilient and tough Oklahomans,” Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said. “The Senate moved today in response to a request from our Governor to provide immediate resources for relief and recovery, and we believe this is a small but appropriate step to support our communities.”
Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage said, “These emergency funds are the least we can do to assist our fellow Oklahomans, and I hope this is only the first step we take as a legislature to help those whose lives have been impacted by this tragedy. Now more than ever, we must stand together as Oklahomans and do what we can to help our neighbors.”
SB 249 now heads to the House of Representatives for final passage before being sent to the governor’s desk.