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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

For Immediate Release: February 16, 2010

First Step Toward Reforming System, Improving State’s Business Climate

Two measures by Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee which will take giant strides toward reforming Oklahoma’s expensive and cumbersome Worker’s Compensation system passed in committee today.

SB 1973, the comprehensive worker’s compensation reform bill passed the Judiciary Committee today. SJR 66, which would limit claims for legal services for workers’ compensation benefits also passed the same committee. SJR 66 will go before the full Senate.

A review of SB 1973’s reforms includes:
• Decreases the number of Worker’s Comp Court judges from 10 to 8;
• Increases terms of judges from six years to eight years, limiting to one term;
• Qualifies current judges for reappointment to one eight-year term;
• Creates and defines the position of Medical Director” of the Worker’s Comp Court;
• Defines “major cause”:
• Exempts employers from liability for injuries arising outside the course of employment.

And many other provisions.

“These votes are an important first step toward making Oklahoma’s Worker’s Compensation system more equitable and efficient,” said Coffee.

“Over the past decade, we’ve seen claims reduced statewide, but awards have increased exponentially, causing unreasonable hardships on employers and workers both.

“Business owners are reticent to open new business or expand existing business in this state, due to the volatile nature of awards, and the resulting increased costs to conduct business in Oklahoma,” he continued. “This is an important reform toward making Oklahoma more business-friendly, while protecting the rights of injured workers.”

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

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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