Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Cullison: Support for Special Session Weak

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Cullison: Support for Special Session Weak

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma Senate president said Tuesday he had yet to detect strong support for a special state legislative session on workers compensation reform, as proposed by Gov. David Walters.

Senate President Pro Tem Robert Cullison, D-Skiatook, did say, however, he would favor a special session for the purpose of changing state ethics rules.

"I have not talked to the governor, but I can't find any sentiment from any side _ whether it be business, labor, physicians or what _ interested in a special session," he said.

"They feel that unless an agreement has been reached beforehand on workers compensation, they see no need in going through the motions of a special session on workers compensation."

Changes in the state ethics rules would be a valid reason to convene a special session so they could be straightened out prior to the candidate filing deadline, Cullison said. "It not only creates an extremely heavy burden on incumbents, but it will make it almost impossible for people who are running for the first time to comply with these rules" in their current form, he said.

"If they (State Ethics Commission) reach a consensus that these rules should be amended, I feel it would be wise for us to have a special session prior to filing time so that everyone could have a level playing field and know exactly what the rules are, when they file for office," Cullison said.

"Hopefully, the governor would call us back for this purpose. If not, we probably would not have much trouble calling ourselves back in, particularly with the blessing of the Ethics Commission."

Meanwhile Tuesday, representatives of organized labor and the business community were scheduled to meet in Gov. David Walters' office to try and reach some common ground on a workers compensation reform proposal.

Among the labor representatives was Steve Featherston, president of United Auto Workers Local 1999 at the General Motors Corp. assembly plant in Oklahoma City.

"Labor's objective is to make sure that the person that receives the injury doesn't turn out to be the victim in the system, whatever the system turns out to be," he said.

"I think an agreement can be reached with everybody, if everybody looks at the person who's injured as the person that needs to be taken care of," Featherston said. …

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