CompSource bill heads to Fallin
The House approved House Bill 2201 Monday, which would convert CompSource Oklahoma from a state entity to the new CompSource Mutual Insurance Co., a private, mutualized company owned by policyholders rather than the state. Legislatively created in 1933, CompSource was designed as an insurer of last resort for those who can't get coverage through the private market. But in recent years because of regulatory advantages, it controls about 30 percent of the market. Rep. David Perryman, D-Chickasha, said the move will be bad for its about 26,000 policyholders and is heading for the entity to be sold. He said it will be harmful to small businesses and working people who can't get insurance otherwise. Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, said there are no plans to liquidate CompSource or give it away. He said it should result in lower premiums. The House voted 67-30 to pass HB 2201. It now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin.
Nursing home camera bill signed
Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed Senate Bill 587, which makes it clear that recording cameras may be placed in a nursing home resident's room, either by the resident or a family member. It also prohibits a nursing home facility from refusing to admit a person who wants a recording camera in the room or to remove a resident because a camera is in the room. It also prohibits the nursing home from removing a camera or obstructing it. The measure also requires the nursing home to move a resident in a shared room who wants electronic monitoring to another room if the other resident in the shared room refuses to consent to the use of a camera in the room. “This measure will give families peace of mind being able to monitor their loved ones and know what's happening in their rooms at all times,” said Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, the bill's author. SB 587 goes into effect Nov. 1.
Islamic group denies allegation
The executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a legislator is abusing his status as a state representative by making unfounded allegations against his organization. Adam Soltani said statements by Rep. John Bennett are “irresponsible at best and libelous at worst.” Bennett, R-Sallisaw, issued a news release Monday on House of Representatives stationery saying that Oklahoma's legislative caucus on counterterrorism has collected evidence that the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had ties with an imam who has supported terrorists in the past. Bennett said the imam spoke at the group's annual banquet last month in Oklahoma City, and that the imam was identified as being director of an Islamic center in Virginia that was frequented by several of the 9/11 hijackers.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU