Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: September 17, 2013
Sen. Harry Coates
Statement from Sen. Coates on filing challenge against constitutionality
of SB 1062
On Tuesday, Sen. Harry
Coates (R-Seminole) joined Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Norman) and
the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma in filing a challenge
against the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1062, the workers’
compensation reform bill passed by the legislature and signed by
Gov. Fallin during the 2013 legislative session.
“As a longtime businessman, I recognize that it’s necessary
to have workers’ compensation rates as low as possible. In
fact, I believe we need a workers’ compensation administrative
system, just not the unconstitutional and unworkable system created
by Senate Bill 1062.
It’s wrong that a fire fighter or any other injured worker
should have to pay back benefits after returning to work. This is
just one of many problems with this new law.
Instead, I’d support a bill that would give Oklahoma an administrative
system like that in Missouri, which is working very well only a
few years after being approved by that legislature. Back in 2005
when Missouri went to an administrative system, The Oklahoman advised
the Oklahoma legislature to adopt the Missouri workers’ compensation
system. That was good advice!
In 2012, the often-quoted Oregon Study showed that while Oklahoma
had the sixth highest workers’ compensation rates in the nation,
Missouri had one of the lowest rankings at number 36. Oklahoma was
47 percent ABOVE the national median and Missouri was 14 percent
BELOW the study median.
Oklahoma needs to pass the Missouri law with no amendments and
no changes. Missouri and Oklahoma have similar constitutional provisions
regarding injuries, and the Missouri law has already survived constitutional
tests. There is no doubt that their administrative system could
work in Oklahoma and reduce rates for businesses, small and large.
I appreciate Rep. Emily Virgin and the Professional Firefighters
of Oklahoma for joining me in this effort.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Coates: (405) 521-5547