Gov. Fallin signs workers comp, infrastructure bills
Published: May 8th, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin has signed House Bill 1910, forming the Long-Range Capital Planning Commission and creating a long-term plan to maintain state assets. The chief executive has also signed Senate Bill 1062, forging the most significant changes to workers compensation insurance in state history.
H.B. 1910, a priority for Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, was co-sponsored by Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa. The measure envisions repairs to the state Capitol and development of an eight-year plan to address maintenance repair and infrastructure issues. The commission will also have authority to recommend liquidation, reuse or reallocation of government property.
In a statement after Fallin’s signature was affixed to H.B. 1910 on May 7 (Tuesday), Speaker Shannon said the legislation “shows this legislature’s commitment to becoming better stewards of the people’s buildings and the taxpayers’ money. Oklahoma now has a process in which responsible decisions can be made on repair and maintenance issues without taking on unnecessary debt which will burden future generations of Oklahomans.
“Oklahoma has a chance to prove to the country that conservative values lead to prosperity. If we are to succeed, we must show that we as lawmakers value the very infrastructure we have asked the people to invest in.”
Pro Temp Bingman commented, “The people of Oklahoma are the owners of buildings like the state Capitol, and they simply deserve better than an endless carousel of deterioration and depreciation. We can no longer wait to begin critical repairs to the state Capitol and other public assets in need of immediate rehabilitation.
“This Eight-Year Plan is a conservative, methodical approach to responsibly maintain these buildings and ensure the people of Oklahoma see a return on the investment they’ve made.”
The governor, who signed the two measures without public ceremonies, said in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK: “It’s important we maintain and improve state assets, rather than watching them deteriorate. House Bill 1910 puts us on a path to ensure state infrastructure and buildings like the Oklahoma Capitol are well-maintained and cared for. My thanks go out to the Oklahoma Legislature for working with me to develop a plan to address the state’s many infrastructure needs.”
On May 6 (Monday), S.B. 1062, the workers’ comp bill — virtually certain to reduce insurance costs for state businesses – became law with the governor’s signature.
The measure was the pro temp’s top priority this session. In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Bingman said “Oklahoma’s runaway workers compensation court has been the number one roadblock to job growth for decades, and today, we’re finally putting the brakes on these costs. Replacing our broken workers’ compensation system is historic.
“The Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act sends a clear signal to job creators that Oklahoma is truly open for business. This bill is especially needed to help us control the year-to-year fluctuation of costs, and to help us compete for good manufacturing jobs while making sure injured workers are treated fairly.”
Bingman thanked members of the Senate, as well as the governor and the speaker, for helping to press the measure into law.
In his statement on S.B. 1062, Shannon said, “Oklahoma has finally found a modern solution to an old problem. For too long, workers and businesses have been subjected to an archaic and inefficient workers’ comp system. This monumental shift from an adversarial judicial system to an administrative system will lower costs for businesses and get injured workers the quick relief they need.”
Gov Fallin thanked the Republican leaders for sending the bill to her desk. She asserted, “S.B. 1062 completely overhauls our flawed workers’ comp system, dramatically reducing the costs to businesses and freeing up private-sector resources that can be invested in jobs rather than lawsuits. Additionally, our reforms ensure injured workers are treated fairly and given the medical care needed to return to work.
“This is an important pro-growth policy that will help us attract jobs and build a stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma