The Norman Transcript

September 18, 2013

State lawmakers challenge new workers compensation law

By Tim Talley
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Two Oklahoma lawmakers and a firefighters’ organization are challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s new workers’ compensation law.

A lawsuit challenging the new statute was filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday by Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma and its president, Rick Beams.

Legislation to overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation system was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin in May. It was a top priority for Republican leaders who say the state’s previous system was a detriment to business and industry in the state.

Among other things, the law changes Oklahoma’s court-based system to an administrative one. Supporters say the change will dramatically reduce workers’ compensation costs to businesses. Opponents say cost savings will come at the expense of injured workers.