Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law Monday a sweeping overhaul of the way Oklahoma treats workers hurt on the job. Senate Bill 1062 changes the state’s court-based workers’ compensation system to an administrative plan.
Lawmakers have until the end of this month to complete their work, including the passing of a state budget. The adjournment date might come sooner with the announcement of an agreement on how to spend the state’s money.
The budget to pay for Oklahoma’s government will be $7.1 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1, under an agreement between Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders. For most state agencies the amount of money they’ll receive in the new budget year is the same as last, but Fallin says the largest increase in the budget is for public schools in Oklahoma.
House Democrats started off the week by gathering members of their caucus and supporters of an expansion to the Medicaid insurance program. House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) says Oklahomans have sent approximately $27 billion in taxpayer dollars to the federal government.
“We come together as a community of Oklahoma citizens today and call upon our governor and our legislative leaders to just bring some of those $27 billion back to Oklahoma to take care of those people who desperately need healthcare.”
The House Judiciary Committee this week approved workers' compensation legislation by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), but didn’t get in any hurry about it.
The novel-length bill that would move the decision on how to compensate injured workers from a court-based system to an administrative one is another step closer to being law. The hearing on the bill was delayed by two weeks while the House made changes to fix some problems in the plan.