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January 18, 2013

State Chamber leader outlines legislative agenda

STILLWATER, Okla. — State Chamber of Oklahoma President/Chief Executive Officer Fred Morgan reviewed his organization’s legislative agenda Thursday night at the Wes Watkins Center on the Oklahoma State University campus.

Morgan, the keynote speaker at the annual meeting and awards banquet, outlined the State Chamber’s four-pronged legislative agenda.

Legislation in each session affects Oklahoma’s business climate, Morgan said as he quoted American author Mark Twain who said “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

The State Chamber, Morgan said, will encourage legislators to:

• Continue efforts to reform the state’s worker’s compensation laws.

• Improve workforce development efforts.

• Accept additional federal money to expand Medicaid services and create a state health-care exchange instead of using a federal exchange established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

• Protect the state’s economic development incentive programs.

Workers’ compensation costs have been an issue with Oklahoma businesses for years, Morgan said.

“We have to stop tinkering around the edges with our state’s broken workers’ compensation system, and start over with an administrative approach that has been successful at lowering rates in other states while continuing to protect workers,” Morgan said.

Workers’ compensation cases are handled in the Oklahoma court system, he said.

Oklahoma legislators have made some adjustments to workers’ compensation laws, but it’s time to revamp the system, Morgan said.

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