At the State Chamber, we fight for Oklahoma’s future by defending the right of every business to thrive. That’s why we joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, Portland Cement Association and the Tulsa Regional Chamber in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its burdensome abuse of power known as the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. We are proud that earlier this month, our challenge resulted in a federal judge issuing a stay against implementation of the rule to assess its legality.
It’s unfortunate that business organizations and Oklahoma’s attorney general must resort to legal means to stop federal overreach; it’s something Congress should be addressing through legislation. But the State Chamber is not afraid of taking the side of business against the rising tide of government regulations that threaten the very survival of the job creators of this state.
This is just one legal challenge the State Chamber is taking on. Our partner, the Oklahoma Civil Justice Council, is also involved in defending the historic workers’ compensation reforms against challenges by lawyers invested in maintaining the previous antagonistic system. Reforms that have resulted in three consecutive years of loss cost reductions, saving more than $350 million over that period, are under attack. Workers’ comp reform was part of our legislative agenda for years before it finally passed and we will work just as hard defending those reforms as we did getting them passed. Similarly, we will aggressively defend the hard-won legislative victories of the litigation reforms passed in the 2013 special legislative session. All of these reforms were designed to improve the business climate, which historically ranked very low.
Our member committees are hard at work this month putting together items for our 2016 legislative agenda. Not surprisingly, nearly every meeting includes concerns about the rising tide of government regulations. It seems to be a never-ending battle. But it’s a fight we are committed to because Oklahoma businesses, and the people they employ, are worth fighting for.
This article was posted in The Journal Record as part of Fred Morgan's monthly opinion editorial.