John Doak

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
Provided / Oklahoma Insurance Department

Two workers who were injured on the job have filed a legal challenge over changes to Oklahoma's workers' compensation laws that were approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2013.

The constitutional challenge was filed Friday, and the plaintiffs are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to take up the case.

The plaintiffs contend a portion of the law is unconstitutional that allows employers with their own workers' compensation benefits plan to "opt out" of the new administrative workers' compensation system. They claim it denies injured workers due process of law.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
Provided / Oklahoma Insurance Department

State Insurance Commissioner John Doak has announced that he is seeking re-election for a second term in 2014.

The Republican made the announcement Thursday in Muskogee, following his annual tour of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
Provided / Oklahoma Insurance Department

Three Oklahoma organizations will receive a combined $1.6 million in federal funds to provide navigators under the Affordable Care Act, a move Insurance Commissioner John Doak called a waste of money.

“First, (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) wastes money an increases costs for insurers and consumers by duplicating regulation already performed by the Oklahoma Insurance Department,” Doak said in a press release. “Now, they continue this wastefulness by spending more on organizations that will be duplicating the work done by Oklahoma’s licensed agents and brokers.”

More than 335,000 insurance and agents and brokers are licensed by the Insurance Department.

Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

In just six weeks, nearly one in 10 Oklahomans will be able to buy subsidized health policies from private insurance companies through a new online marketplace set up by the federal government.

Many more who don’t qualify for the subsidies will still be able to shop on the marketplace and obtain coverage, even if they’ve been turned down in the past for pre-existing conditions.

But it won’t be simple. Several companies will offer policies, with different levels of coverage. Tax credits will be available for people falling within certain income ranges. Many people will need one-on-one assistance to navigate the registration process.

Survivors of May's tornado look at a car damaged in the storm.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Several state lawmakers want to increase the penalty for looting after numerous reports of theft from victims whose homes were damaged or destroyed in last month's tornadoes.

Legislators representing several areas hit by tornadoes in May said Friday that they plan to introduce a bill next session to change looting from a misdemeanor to a felony.