Senator Mike Schulz
The Senate has completed another busy week of work. While we moved through a heavy volume of legislation, we paused on Thursday to mark the 17th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building took the lives of 168 people. A crowd of more than 2,000 gathered at the Oklahoma City National Memorial to pay tribute to the victims. In the Senate, we observed a 168-second moment of silence in remembrance.
Legislative efforts to reduce the state’s income tax continue to take shape. The Senate this week advanced House Bill 3038, another bill that would cut the state’s income tax. While much work remains to be done in determining a final course of action on tax proposals, we believe that lowering taxes and enabling Oklahomans to keep more of the money they earn is a fundamental priority.
As we pursue this goal, we are also committed to fully funding the core functions of state government. We are taking a deliberative approach with these measures and will give them thorough consideration as they advance through the legislative process.
The Senate this week approved another important workers’ compensation reform measure. The Legislature in recent years has worked hard to fix Oklahoma’s broken and costly workers’ comp system, and we are continuing to find ways to reduce its costs and burdens on Oklahoma businesses. Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce recently surveyed more than 5,000 Oklahoma businesses to gain an in-depth understanding of their thoughts on our state’s business climate. Not surprisingly, business owners consider our workers’ compensation system to be the worst aspect of Oklahoma’s business environment and an impediment to growth.
House Bill 2155, the Oklahoma Option, will allow Oklahoma employers to offer alternative workers’ compensation insurance to their employees, as long as the benefits are similar to the state’s plan. Under the bill, injured employees will receive the same level of benefits they get in our workers compensation court system, if not better. This reform will reduce costs and help injured workers get back on their feet, ensuring they have the care they need to get back to work.
Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator Mike Schulz at the State Capitol, Room 418, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, or call me at (405) 521-5612.