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2015 State of the State Address Re-Imagined

February 5, 2015

2015 State of the State Address Re-Imagined

This week Governor Mary Fallin delivered her fifth State of the State Address touting the achievements of her administration during her first four years as Governor. Not surprisingly, she repeated her claim that Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system has somehow managed to get $200 million cheaper for business and better for workers simply by changing the system of deciding benefits to an administrative system. Apparently this feat was achieved by re-imagining the system. Her words:

We re-imagined and reworked Oklahoma’s outdated, costly workers’ compensation system.

We replaced it with an administrative system to better address injured workers’ needs, and that system has now reduced costs to Oklahoma businesses by 22 percent, allowing them to pump over $200 million dollars back into our economy.

We assume time constraints prevented the Governor from finishing that thought. If she had, another sentence would have been added:

These savings were achieved by slashing benefits for workers by 30 to 90%, allowing insurers to retain the aforementioned $200 million previously provided for injured workers.

We would very much like to re-imagine and rework that portion of the Governor’s speech discussing recent changes in the workers’ compensation system. A position more worthy of inclusion would be:

“While well-meaning, the cuts in workers’ compensation benefits have been devastating to Oklahoma families. While we should work to strengthen our new Commission and support the difficult challenges they face, we should immediately restore the benefit cuts that have resulted in workers not having a sufficient remedy for their injuries, which is a violation of our Constitution.”

The Oklahoma Coalition For Workers Rights calls for our elected officials to restore the benefits that were eliminated by Senate Bill 1062 in 2014.

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