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Overhauling Oklahoma's workers' comp system is business group's goal

The State Chamber calls the system broken and adversarial and seeks to change it from a judicial system to an administrative one.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, said last month the 29 members of his caucus aren't ready to commit “to any kind of dramatic overhaul that guts the whole system.”

How it works

Oklahoma has 10 workers' compensation judges. Each judge hears disputed workers' compensation issues, which may be resolved informally at a prehearing or settlement conference, or by a trial. Written orders of the trial judge are final unless appealed to a three-judge review panel of the workers' compensation court, or to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The State Chamber also supports changing mediation charges so both parties split the fee of any mediator.

The chamber also wants additional civil justice changes, such as restricting lawsuits when a consumer misuses the product and making information more available when the state attorney general's office hires outside attorneys and what it pays them.

As for taxes, The State Chamber supports a corporate income tax reduction and protecting economic development incentives, such as tax credits. The state corporate tax is 6 percent and is estimated to bring in about $321 million of the $6.8 billion legislators appropriated this fiscal year. It also wants to eliminate the franchise tax for small businesses.