Oklahoma workers’ comp could go private

MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: August 7, 2009
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A legislative task force began work Thursday to find the best way to privatize the state agency that provides workers’ compensation insurance.

"We have an organ of the state that is competing with private insurers for premium dollars for workers’ comp,” said Rep. Dan Sullivan, co-chairman of the Task Force on the Privatization of CompSource Oklahoma.

"It’s a fundamental issue of what is the proper function of government,” said Sullivan, R-Tulsa. "Is it to compete with private enterprise? We think not.”

A state law passed this year states it is the intent of the Legislature to privatize CompSource no later than Dec. 31, 2010.

Options include selling CompSource, which has about 300 employees, or mutualizing it, meaning it would be owned by its members, said Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Midwest City, task force co-chairman.

"All of those options are on the table,” Aldridge said.

But state Finance Director Michael Clingman, a task force member, questioned whether the state actually owns CompSource. While it’s a state agency, its holdings may be owned by policyholders.

About CompSource
CompSource was formed by the Legislature in 1933. It formerly was known as the State Insurance Fund. It does not receive a state appropriation.

It provides workers’ compensation insurance for state, county and municipal employees, as well as many private employers across the state.

It initially provided workers’ compensation insurance to businesses that couldn’t afford the required coverage.



Candidate order set

A drawing Thursday at the state Election Board office determined the order of candidates for absentee ballots in next month’s special House District 55 primary vote. The name of Cordell Mayor Alex Damon will appear first on the Democratic Party absentee ballot; the name of Cordell City Councilman Todd Russ will appear first on the Republican Party absentee ballot. For the Sept. 8 primary election, their names will be rotated randomly with the other two candidates — Democrat Larry Peck of Sentinel and Republican Jeff Ledford of Hobart. The winners will face off in the Oct. 13 election. The deadline for anyone to contest any of the candidates’ filings is at 5 p.m. today at the Election Board’s office in the state Capitol. Ryan McMullen, a Democrat, recently stepped down

as House District 55 representative to accept a

federal post. The seat covers Washita County

and parts of Caddo, Canadian and Kiowa counties.

MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU

Civil court upholds rule
The Civil Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling in a dispute over whether a Texas mining company should have access to water from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer. In a 3-0 decision, the court ruled the Oklahoma Water Resources Board had "no jurisdiction to require a permit for the

use of a groundwater trapped in the quarry pit.” Meridian Aggregates had sought a permit to use water at its quarry in the Mill Creek area where the company drills for rock used in Texas road construction projects. Several cities in the area, including Tishomingo, Ardmore, Davis, Durant and Sulphur, opposed the project, saying it took an excessive amount of water and could damage

the aquifer’s supply.

JULIE BISBEE, CAPITOL BUREAU

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