OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Speaker Jeff Hickman’s bill that would provide financial relief to victims of the 2012 Woodward Tornado.

Last session, tax exemptions and benefits were awarded to victims of the tornadoes that struck in 2013 and were declared a Major Disaster by the President of the United States. House Bill 3216 extends those benefits to the people and businesses of Woodward who suffered due to the tornado that struck the previous year.

“Lives were lost, homes and businesses were destroyed and there are many in Woodward who continue to suffer,” said House Speaker Hickman, R-Fairview. “This bill fixes a legislative oversight that took place last session and delivers much needed relief to our fellow Oklahomans.”

If signed into law, victims of the Woodward tornado would receive a refund of registration fees and excise taxes on vehicles purchased to replace those damaged by the storm. Home and property owners would also receive an extension on their homestead exemption application.

Rep. Gus Blackwell presented the bill on the House Floor. He called on House members to vote for financial relief that is long overdue.

“When a tragedy strikes, the long-term emotional and financial impact do not end when the news coverage stops,” said Rep. Blackwell, R-Laverne. “The passing of this bill says to the victims in Woodward that this House has not and will not forget the grief and burdens you have endured.”

 “The impact the storm had on the people of my district has been devastating,” said Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “The House has shown that the tragedy that struck Woodward has not been forgotten and we will take appropriate steps to help victims regain stability in their lives.”

“As lawmakers and Oklahomans, we must provide relief to those faced with disaster,” said Speaker Hickman. “I thank my fellow members for their vote and their compassion for the people of Woodward.”

HB 3216 will now move on to the Senate for consideration.

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