Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2011

Sen. David Holt
Sen. David Holt

Senate approves binding arbitration reform bill

The full Senate has given approval to a measure reforming the state’s binding arbitration law. Senate Bill 826, by Sen. David Holt, was approved by the Senate on Thursday. Holt said binding arbitration needs to be reformed to create a system that is more fair and equitable for the taxpayers who bear the burden of its results.

“Under the system that was narrowly approved by the Legislature in 1994, when municipalities and their unions can’t agree on an employment contract, the dispute goes to an arbitration board,” said Holt, R-Oklahoma City. “The deciding arbitrator is usually an out-of-state attorney recommended by the federal government. As a result, someone who has no stake at all in our communities makes a decision that greatly impacts Oklahomans and our wallets. This bill creates a better environment to arrive at a decision that respects the taxpayers.”

Holt said that among the reforms in SB 826 is a provision authorizing the State Supreme Court to train Oklahoma arbitrators. The bill also contains language to ensure salary comparisons used for deciding contract disputes between municipal employees and the city are an apples-to- apples comparison. The bill also protects tax dollars that the citizenry would reasonably expect to be outside an arbitrator’s discretion.

“This bill has continued to be modified as it goes through the legislative process, and we’ll continue to evaluate the language to ensure these reforms are the best they can be,” Holt said. “I also want to give my sincere thanks to Senator Kim David and Senator Dan Newberry for their efforts to make sure that all affected parties are part of the process.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Holt: (405) 521-5636

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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