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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: April 14, 2009

SENATE PASSES TWO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REFORM BILLS

The State Senate approved two workers’ compensation bills today, one being sent to the Governor for his approval.

House Bill 1600 by President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee modifies requirements for disability benefits. Individuals who have had surgery or have been recommended to have surgery by a physician may petition the Workers’ Compensation Court to extend their benefits.

In House Bill 1600, the term “surgery” is defined as a medical procedure involving an incision into the skin allowing insertion of an instrument or device through the skin for treatment or diagnosis. This prevents injections or the forcing of fluids beneath the skin from constituting a surgery.

“Various cases have occurred that reveal our Workers’ Compensation System is in much need of reform,” said Pro Tem Coffee. “House Bill 1600 prevents abuse of the Workers’ Compensation System by clarifying soft tissue surgeries, so accurate and honest claims can be made,” added Coffee.

Senate Bill 609 by Majority Floor Leader Todd Lamb removes politics from the judicial nominating process by promoting a system that reflects more checks and balances, and reflects the same system as that on the federal level. This legislation reduces the number of judges on the Workers’ Compensation Court from ten to eight, and brings reform to the judicial nominating process by requiring Senate confirmation of appointments to the Workers’ Compensation Court and appellate courts.

A cost savings is also a part of Senate Bill 609. Within the first year, the provisions in the legislation will save taxpayers over $400,000.

“Judicial reform is key to not only making our government more accountable and efficient, but to protecting Oklahoma taxpayers as well,” said Senator Lamb. “The checks and balances system that will be put in place as a result of this legislation provides Oklahomans with a government that works on their behalf.”

House Bill 1600 will now go to the House for final approval. Senate Bill 609 received final passage off the Senate Floor and goes next to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

For more information contact:
Sen. Coffee's Office: 405-521-5636
Sen. Lamb's Office: 405-521-5632

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