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Oklahoma workers’ comp could go private

MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: August 7, 2009
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Ov
er the years it expanded to also provide coverage for employers that meet its eligibility criteria.

Sullivan said CompSource has about a 5 percent advantage over private carriers because it doesn’t have to pay premium taxes and doesn’t have to contribute to the state’s guarantee fund, which covers the costs of claims of an insolvent insurance company.

"That automatically gives them a competitive advantage,” he said.

CompSource officials said the agency has about 26,000 policyholders and writes about 35 percent of the workers’ compensation policies in the state. Other employers are self-insured or are insured by private companies.

The task force is required to make a report to legislative leadership by Dec. 1. Information in the report could lead to proposed legislation.

"What we have to look at during this privatization is: How do we continue to cover those people that cannot purchase policies on the open market?” Sullivan said.

The incentive behind the privatization is to lower workers’ compensation insurance rates, Sullivan said. Rates should fall because of increased competition, he said.

It’s too early to determine what effect privatization would have on the fate of CompSource’s employees, Sullivan said.


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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