OKLAHOMA CITY (March 15, 2011) – State Rep. Joe Dorman said today he wants to study an idea brought to him by a constituent that could lead to significant workers’ compensation reform and help boost business growth and economic development in the state.
“A constituent of mine, who moved to Oklahoma from Massachusetts, told me about how Massachusetts has two separate workers’ compensation systems,” said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. “This allows them to have one system for many private sector jobs that is fine-tuned to attract business to the state and another system that encompasses jobs that are more hazardous, such as firefighting and law enforcement work. I think that a similar set of systems in Oklahoma could bring about greater economic opportunities, but still provide for the needs of workers in high-risk jobs for public service.”
Dorman said he plans to propose an interim study to determine the feasibility of creating two separate workers’ compensation systems in Oklahoma.
“One system would serve firefighters, law enforcement, emergency responders and other workers who face significant hazards,” Dorman said. “The other would serve the majority of workers. Each could be tweaked in different ways instead of having the one-size-fits-all system we have right now. I do not know if a system like this would work for Oklahoma, but that is the point of having interim studies too – to look at the impact of ideas such as this.”
The interim study, if approved, would take place over the summer or fall and should include a review of workers’ compensation systems around the United States to see of there are unique alternatives which would improve the system for Oklahoma, Dorman said. He also invited the public to take part if and when the study is scheduled.
Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives