Oklahoma Workers Compensation Law Challenged

After a complete workers’ compensation system overhaul in Oklahoma was signed into law in May, the Oklahoma Supreme Court is being formally challenged. Those who filed the challenge are state Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and the Professional Fire Fighters of Oklahoma.

According to the Oklahoman, Coates said, “It’s wrong that a firefighter or any other injured worker should have to pay back benefits after returning to work. This is just one of the many problems with this new law.”

Opponents argue the law is unfair and reduce benefits for injured workers. Also, they claim it is unconstitutional because they believe it violates a state constitutional requirement that a bill cover a single subject. Joining the opponents in challenging the law are attorneys who represent injured workers.

In response to the opposition, Gov. Mary Fallin said, “I’m disappointed with the legal challenge filed…for decades, Oklahoma has had one of the most expensive and inefficient workers’ compensation systems in the country, a constant obstacle for business owners looking to expand operations or create more jobs.”

A hearing for the challenge is set for Oct. 16, with Attorney General Scott Pruitt fighting the challenge.

“We take seriously our obligation to uphold the laws of this state, and we look forward to defending this action in court,” Pruitt said.

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