Race riot memorial funding bill signed
BY BRIAN FORD World Capitol Bureau
Jun 2, 2001
1/20/13 at 8:32 AM
Keating OKs the $750,000 provision and 49 other bills, including scholarships for Tulsans
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Frank Keating signed 50 bills into law Friday, including one
containing $750,000 for the Tulsa Race Riot Memorial.
House Bill 203 contains funding to begin plans for construction of a memorial in
recognition of the deadly 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Some lawmakers argued against the funding provision, saying it amounted to state reparations even
though the state was not to blame for the mayhem that left at least 40 people dead,
thousands homeless and millions of dollars worth of damage.
Keating also signed House Bill 1178, which contains no state money but sets up a
Greenwood area redevelopment authority and a scholarship
account for as many as 300 Tulsans.
HB 1178, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Reconciliation Act by Tulsa Democrats Rep. Don
Ross and Sen. Maxine Horner, was debated at length in the House and Senate. Many
lawmakers objected to language in the bill, which said the root causes of the deadly
riot "reside deep in the history of race relations of Oklahoma and Tulsa which
included the enactment of Jim Crow
laws, acts of racial violence, and other actions that had the effect of `putting
African-Americans in their place.' " The bill also cites a "conspiracy of silence"
that served the "dominant interests of the state during that period which found the
riot a `public relations nightmare' that was best to be forgotten."
Ross noted the symbolism of date on which Keating signed the bills. The riot began
late on May 31 and raged into June 1.
A commemoration service is planned for 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Mount Zion Baptist
Church, 419 N. Elgin Ave.
"It's so interesting that the governor's signature came on the 80th anniversary to
the day and almost the hour," Ross said.
"It's symbolic and bodes some favor that not only will the memorial be built but
the scholarships will also happen.
"I think it goes a long way toward the reconciliation and healing we've always
Despite heated debate and close votes in both the House, Ross said state lawmakers
ought to be commended "because we've taken some steps in Tulsa that haven't happened
in 50 other cities where riots occurred."
He also praised Keating for his support, pointing out that the governor had
promised to sign any riot bill that made it to his desk.
"The governor never wavered," Ross said. "We argued, but he never wavered."
On the issue of reparations, Ross predicted that "some symbolic cash payment to
survivors will be raised privately."
The governor also signed:
Senate Bill 157 , requiring the Office of Juvenile
Affairs and the Department of Corrections to set up a state registry of juvenile sex
measure requires annual registration and makes failing to register a misdemeanor. It
also allows a prosecutor to petition a move to the adult sex offender registry when a
registered juvenile sex offender reaches 21 years of age.
The bill was authored following the Aug. 19 murder of 7-
year-old Kristi Blevins and the rape of a 12-year-old friend.
Creek County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Robert Wayne Rotramel,
19, who is charged in the crimes. It was revealed after the slaying that Rotramel had
an extensive juvenile record, including allegations of forcible sodomy when he was 12
"By OJA and Corrections working together, we can get a better handle on the
juvenile sex offender program in Oklahoma," Keating said.
House Bill 1557 , providing a $7.5 million
supplemental appropriation to the Department of Corrections so that it can fund
operations through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
During the legislative session, funding the department nearly became a monthly
installment plan as the Legislature made three supplemental appropriations to the
On Monday, Keating plans to sign House Bill 1727, which would require doctors who
perform abortions on minors to first notify their parents. Keating also plans to sign
Senate Bill 46, which is aimed at curbing access by children to violent video games.
The governor must act on remaining bills no later than midnight June 8, the 15th
day after final adjournment. Those not signed by that deadline will be dead as a
result of a so-called "pocket veto."
Brian Ford, World Capitol Bureau reporter, can be reached at (405)
528-2465 or via e-mail at email@example.com.