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Oklahoma workers compensation opt-out bill closer to becoming law

Oklahoma workers compensation opt-out bill closer to becoming law

Oklahoma is likely to become the second state in the nation to allow employers to opt out of its workers compensation system.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday that S.B. 1062 — the measure that the state House approved Wednesday on a 74-24 vote — is among bills she looks forward to signing.

The legislation now returns to the Senate for final approval before going to the governor, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman said in a statement about the legislation that he introduced.

The bill would reduce workers comp disability benefits, cap attorney fees and transition Oklahoma's adjudication of claims from a court-based system to an administrative one.

But large employers and workers comp service providers across the nation have watched the legislation for its potential to allow Oklahoma employers to opt out of the state' s workers comp system. They hope it will build momentum for other states to do the same.

Currently, only Texas allows employers to opt out.

Under S.B. 1062, Oklahoma employers would have to offer injured employees alternative benefit systems that are governed by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act.