House of Representatives Hear Discussions About Workers Comp Reform

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 Springfield - Tuesday's committee of the whole inside the state Capitol was a gathering of minds and philosophies.

There were some calling for a change to the state's workers comp system, while others urged to keep it as is while targeting fraudulent claims.

"One of the most vexing issues we've had in this state for decades has been our workman's compensation system.  It's something that we've worked at as republicans, year in and year out," said Republican minority leader Jim Durkin.

Committee chairman and Democratic state representative Jay Hoffman said that,"every member on this side of the aisle is ready to enact reform that will effectively target fraud and assure businesses are liable only, and i repeat only, for legitimate claims.  At the same time, we should not take benefits away from workers who are injured through no fault of their own while trying to help a company prosper."

Members of the House heard from injured workers from other states who have made changes to their workers comp system who shared the impacts those changes had in their lives.

"While I was totally disabled I received temporarily totally disability checks in the amount of two-third's of my wages.  These payments were barely enough to get by and I had to borrow money from my mother," said Robert Allen.

John Coffell added,"within weeks of my injury, my family had our utilities shut off and my wife and I had to send our children to live our relatives.  We quickly lost our home.  This all is a result of recent changes to Oklahoma state law."

Many from the Republican side said they'd like to hold more hearings to discuss possible changes to the workers comp system at a later date.

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