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Oklahoma State Senate
President Pro Tempore
Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-5636

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For Immediate Release: March 4, 2009

Sen. Glenn Coffee
Sen. Glenn Coffee


The Oklahoma State Senate passed SB 738, a bill which would significantly restructure the office of the Chief Medical Examiner, bringing long overdue professional management to the office, and providing for greater accountability from the office.

“This office has been floundering in a dysfunctional morass for some time,” said Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, author of SB 738. “This legislation will bring this vital office back to the highly performing operation we need it to be, serving the needs of the citizens of Oklahoma.”

When signed into law by the Governor, the new Medical Examiner’s office will be renamed the Oklahoma Department of Forensic Sciences, and will be headed by a professional administrator appointed by the governor and subject to Senate confirmation, leaving medical professionals to practice good science, rather than concerning themselves with budgets, personnel issues and politics.

The Chief Operating Officer will establish qualification requirements for all staff, and establish continuing education requirements for the any staff charged with investigating deaths. Further, the new COO will establish policy and procedures for background checks for all prospective hires within the department.

Also of significant note, a new governing board over the department will be comprised of the Director of the OSBI; State Commissioner of Health; Secretary of Health; Chairmen of Pathology at University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine; Director of the Forensic Science Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma; President of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association; President of the Oklahoma State Medical Association; and a funeral director, appointed by the Oklahoma State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors.

“I’m proud of the Senate for moving these important reforms forward today,” said the Pro Tem. “We look forward to a new era of effectiveness and professionalism from this currently embattled office.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Coffee's Office: 405-521-5636

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