The Norman Transcript

Government

February 28, 2013

Workers’ Comp Act passes the Senate

NORMAN — The Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, Senate Bill 1062, authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, passed in the full Senate by a vote of 34-12 and now heads to the House of Representatives.

Currently, 17 members of the state Senate have signed on as co-authors of the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act.

“We have to put the brakes on the runaway cost of Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system if we are truly serious about growing our economy,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “Our adversarial system has been one of the most expensive in the country, and it hasn’t done a very good job of helping injured workers get quality medical care in a timely fashion.

“The result has been disastrous for business, for Oklahoma and, most importantly, for injured workers. Today, we have taken a major step to replace our adversarial court system and move Oklahoma forward.”

Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, co-authored the measure and presented the bill on the floor of the Senate.

“It is time for Oklahoma to replace our adversarial system with one designed to help injured workers get healed and back to work,” said Sykes, R-Moore. “Today’s vote signals a new direction for Oklahoma. We will no longer settle for a system that helps trial lawyers get rich at the expense of Oklahoma’s businesses and injured workers.”

Under SB 1062, an administrative workers’ compensation system would be structured with three commissioners appointed by the governor, subject to Senate approval, for six-year staggered terms.

The commission will then appoint administrative law judges to hear all claims for compensation.

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