Lawsuit, Health Reform In Effect

Lawsuit, Health Reform In Effect

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Oklahomans can now enjoy the fruits of our legislative labors from the past session. More than 190 bills took effect November 1, including health and lawsuit reform. The legislation now in effect is the Oklahoma Legislature’s answer to the economic downturn, uninsured Oklahomans and a variety of other problems that you, our constituents, asked us to address.

House Bill 2026 creates an insurance hub to help match Oklahomans to private insurance plans that fit their needs. The bill also creates a core benefits package for young, healthy Oklahomans to purchase cheaper insurance policies free of the cost increases created by the state’s 36 mandates.

House Bill 1603 puts in place landmark lawsuit reform, which will also serve to reduce health care costs for all Oklahomans, reverse a trend in doctor and nurse shortages and attract business to our state. The bill caps noneconomic damages except in cases of gross negligence, cutting down on frivolous lawsuits and doctors’ insurance premiums.

Of special importance to windy Western Oklahoma, House Bill 1953 will make companies that support, repair and maintain service activities for wind industry energy companies eligible for the state’s Quality Jobs Act. This will help attract companies involved in the wind energy to one of the windiest regions in our nation.

Senate Bill 833 also deals with energy, in this case, energy conservation. To save your valuable tax dollars, the new law encourages all state agencies to develop and implement an energy efficiency and conservation plan. The law also asks each agency to designate a current employee to develop an energy plan.

Human cloning in Oklahoma is now banned, thanks to House Bill 1114. Regulatory barriers to small, family businesses have also been removed by House Bill 1003. Furthermore, schools struggling to find the right teachers have one less barrier, thanks to House Bill 394. The new law eliminates barriers to alternative teacher certification.

Unlike the federal government, which is playing loose and fast with our taxpayer dollars, Oklahoma lawmakers have tackled a variety of their constituents’ concerns without tax increases or deficit spending. Now that our legislation has become law, Oklahomans can start feeling the benefits.

If you have any questions or concerns I can be reached at my office at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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