The Norman Transcript

December 22, 2013

Okla. Farm Bureau names Sparks Champion Award recipient

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Sen. John Sparks of Norman is among fifteen of the state’s top agricultural advocates who will receive the Oklahoma Farm Bureau 2013 Champion Award during the OKFB Leadership Conference, Feb. 17-18, at the Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.  The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Board of Directors is recognizing the state leaders and legislators for going above and beyond to protect and improve agriculture and rural Oklahoma during the 2013 legislative session.  

“As the state’s largest agricultural organization, we are committed to preserving the livelihood and legacy of our fellow farmers and ranchers,”OKFB President Tom Buchanan said.  “It is an honor to distinguish these state leaders who share our vision and who continue to help make positive strides for Oklahoma agriculture.”

In addition to Sparks, Gov. Mary Fallin and the following legislators will be recognized for their outstanding efforts:  Sen. Mike Schulz, Altus; Sen. Eddie Fields, Wynona; Sen. Bryce Marlatt, Woodward; Sen. Kim David, Porter; Sen. Larry Boggs, Wilburton; Sen. Kyle Loveless, Oklahoma City; Speaker T.W. Shannon, Lawton; Rep. Mike Jackson, Enid; Rep. Dale DeWitt, Braman; Rep. Don Armes, Faxon; Rep. Jerry Shoemake, Morris; Rep. Steve Martin, Bartlesville; and Rep. Skye McNiel, Bristow.

Nominations for the awards were received from county Farm Bureau boards and the OKFB Board of Directors.  

“As a farmer and rancher in central Oklahoma, I have seen firsthand the positive impact Sen. Sparks has made on our state’s agricultural industry,” OKFB District 8 Director John Grundmann said.  “We appreciate his service and his passion for rural Oklahoma.”

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Oklahoma Speaker T.W. Shannon recently praised the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling on Senate Bill 1062, Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation reform bill.

 SB1062 changes Oklahoma’s current judicial workers’ compensation system to an administrative system. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the new system is constitutional and does not violate the Oklahoma Constitution’s ‘single subject rule’.

 “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has taken the time to consider the constitutionality and the merits of this new system,” said Speaker Shannon, co-author of SB 1062. “These reforms create a new and modern system that protects workers and is fair to Oklahoma businesses. The archaic and confrontational system this state has relied on in the past did little for workers, hurt business and only benefited the handful that profited from such a dysfunctional system. This ruling ensures Oklahoma is moving in the right direction.”

 The current workers’ compensation system will now be phased out in favor of the new administrative system which will go into effect in February of 2014.

 “This ruling will allow us to implement a system that will make sure workers are quickly compensated and treated so that they can get back to work, “ said Representative Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang. “My fellow Republicans and I applaud the Supreme Court for their fair and quick ruling on a bill that will truly make a positive impact on Oklahoma businesses and individuals.”

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