At a glance
Workers' compensation bills propose dramatic changes
Dramatic changes in Oklahoma's workers' compensation system will be considered by the state Legislature this year. Over half of the more than 30 workers' compensation reform bills that have been introduced are shell bills that do not yet have substantive language, but here is a look at some that propose significant changes.
This 239-page bill by state Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, HB 1546, would create a new administrative system governed by a three-member Workers' Compensation Commission. Its members would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The commission would decide cases involving injuries that occur beginning Nov. 1, 2013. The old Workers' Compensation Court would continue to hear cases involving injuries before that date, but would be phased out by 2020 and the judges' jobs would be eliminated.
This bill by state Rep. Arthur Hulbert, R-Fort Gibson, also would create an administrative system, but calls for the system to be a division of the state Insurance Department, which would oversee its operation. Under this proposal, a Commissioner of Workers' Compensation Insurance would be appointed by the governor to administer the system. Senate confirmation would be required for the commissioner.
SB 428 and SB 485
These virtually identical bills by state Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, and state Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, would create a new administrative system governed by a three-member commission, whose members would be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. It also would create a workers' compensation fraud investigation unit within the state Insurance Department.