WC Reform Bill Passed Senate

                               Oklahoma City, OK (CompNewsNetwork) - Oklahoma's worker's compensation system took a major step toward reform today with the passage of SB 1973, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee.

SB 1973, the comprehensive worker's compensation reform bill passed the Senate today. .
A review of SB 1973's reforms includes:
• Decreases the number of Worker's Comp Court judges from 10 to 8;
• Increases terms of judges from six years to eight years, limiting to one term;
• Qualifies current judges for reappointment to one eight-year term;
• Creates and defines the position of Medical Director” of the Worker's Comp Court;
• Defines “major cause”:
• Exempts employers from liability for injuries arising outside the course of employment.

And many other provisions.

“These reforms are vital to ensuring the economic viability of Oklahoma business – both large and small,” Coffee said. “With the reforms outlined in this legislation, Oklahoma's Worker's Compensation system will be more fair, equitable and efficient,” said Coffee.

“Over the past decade, we've seen claims reduced statewide, but awards have increased exponentially, causing unreasonable hardships on employers and workers both.

“This bill is the product of hours of discussions with all stake holders in this issue, from business to the medical and legal communities,” Coffee added. “Business owners are reluctant to open new business or expand existing in our state, due the costs of doing business.

“This reform will be a big step toward making Oklahoma more business-friendly, while protecting the rights of injured workers,” Coffee concluded.

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