President Pro Tempore
Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 422
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
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
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
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