Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement Wednesday following the passage of Senate Bill 1062, the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, in the full Senate. The legislation, authored by Pro Tem Bingman, was passed by a vote of 34-12 and now heads to the House of Representatives.
Currently, 17 members of the state Senate have signed on as co-authors of the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act.
“We have to put the brakes on the runaway cost of Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system if we are truly serious about growing our economy,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “Our adversarial system has been one of the most expensive in the country, and it hasn’t done a very good job of helping injured workers get quality medical care in a timely fashion. The result has been disastrous for business, for Oklahoma, and most importantly, for injured workers. Today, we have taken a major step to replace our adversarial court system and move Oklahoma forward.”
Senator Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, co-authored the measure and presented the bill on the floor of the Senate.
“It is time for Oklahoma to replace our adversarial system with one designed to help injured workers get healed and back to work,” said Sykes, R-Moore. “Today’s vote signals a new direction for Oklahoma. We will no longer settle for a system that helps trial lawyers get rich at the expense of Oklahoma’s businesses and injured workers.”
Under SB 1062, an administrative workers’ compensation system would be structured with three commissioners appointed by the Governor, subject to Senate approval, for six-year staggered terms. The commission will then appoint administrative law judges to hear all claims for compensation.