House Speaker T.W. Shannon says a Senate bill to overhaul Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system could undergo changes in the House.
The Senate voted 34-12 for the Republican-backed bill on Feb. 27, mostly along party lines, although two Republicans opposed it. Senate Bill 1062 was then sent to the House for consideration.
The bill would transform Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation Court to an administrative system overseen by commissioners appointed by the governor.
Republican leaders say the overhaul is needed to reduce the high cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Oklahoma, but Democrats say there’s no guarantee the bill will lower costs.
Shannon said he supports the idea of shifting Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation Court to an administrative system but that the House still has to closely analyze the 260-page measure and will look for ways to make it “even stronger.”
Opponents have said the cost savings realized under the bill come mostly by limiting benefits to injured workers, and Shannon expressed concern that those hurt on the job aren’t penalized. If the bill is modified in the House, it would have to return to the Senate for consideration.