Press Releases


Oklahoma House of Representatives
Media Division

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: State Rep. Kris Steele
Office: (405) 557-7345

Contact: State Rep. Doug Cox
Office: (405) 557-7415

Steele, Cox Receive Honorary Pharmacy Degrees

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 15, 2009) - Speaker Pro Tempore Kris Steele and state Rep. Doug Cox both received honorary degrees of pharmacy from the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy today.

"The pharmacy board was formed to protect Oklahomans by examining laws and policy regarding the practice of pharmacy," Steele, R-Shawnee, said. "I am honored to be recognized by the board. They have offered us many sharp insights and I am thankful for their efforts on behalf of all Oklahomans."

Dr. Diana Hampton, an ophthalmologist and House Doctor of the Day, serves as the board's public member. She presented the honorary degrees and said Cox and Steele were being honored for their help in passing legislation recommended by the board.

"We appreciate Dr. Hampton and the board of pharmacy and I am humbled to receive this honorary degree from them," said Cox, R-Grove. "Members of the board carefully consider what policy should be enacted and I am proud to have helped them get meaningful laws passed to help protect our citizens."

Hampton presented the awards in the House Chamber as she was introduced as the House Doctor of the Day. Physicians provide service at the state Capitol's first aid station during the legislative session as part of the Doctor of the Day program.


Oklahoma House of Representatives
Media Division

April 8, 2009

Contact: State Rep. Doug Cox
Office: (405) 557-7415

Cox votes to screen state assistance applicants for drug abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Rep. Doug Cox voted and debated in favor of a bill today that would require drug screening for people applying for or receiving assistance through the "temporary aid to needy families" (TANF) program.

Under Senate Bill 390, persons identified as in need of substance abuse services would be conditionally eligible to receive TANF assistance only if they participate in a recommended substance abuse treatment program.

Cox pointed out that many of Oklahoma 's ills have a connection to drug abuse, including the state's high incarceration rate, the number of children in foster homes, and the high number of Oklahomans raising their grandchildren.

"We know that children raised in a home where the parents abuse drugs are much more likely to use drugs as teens and adults," said Cox, R-Grove. "We will never break the viscous cycle of poverty and drug abuse and all the associated social ills associated with them unless we tackle this problem."

Cox advised his colleagues to view this bill as a way to help people and families, rather than punish them.

"There are no criminal penalties associated with this bill," he said. "It simply guides people with substance abuse problems to treatment that can enable them to be better parents and live successful productive lives."

Substance abuse and associated problems are very expensive to Oklahoma taxpayers, consuming dollars that could be used for education, roads, and healthcare.

"I have had constituents ask me year after year why many hard-working Oklahomans have to take a drug test to get a job and those who get state assistance do not," Cox said. "This bill addresses some of their concerns."

The bill, which Cox co-authored, has already passed through the Senate.


Oklahoma House of Representatives
Media Division

February 25, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: State Rep. Doug Cox
Capitol: (405) 557-7415

State Legislator Urges Oklahoma Youth to Accept Obama Challenge

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Rep. Doug Cox today urged Oklahoma 's youth to respond to President Barack Obama's call to seek higher education.

"I hope students across Oklahoma will accept President Obama's challenge to get at least one year of education after high school," said state Rep. Doug Cox, M.D.

This week the president said students who do not graduate from high school are letting down not only themselves but their country.

"I would go a step further and say they are also disappointing their family and the citizens of Oklahoma ," said Cox, R-Grove. " Oklahoma citizens make sacrifices in order to finance a free K-12 public education with their tax dollars. The fact that over 20 percent of our students fail to graduate high school is a black eye for our state. I also want to challenge our teachers to find the key that unlocks the motivation and interest in each student that will keep those children in school."

Cox said if more Oklahoma students obtain at least one year of post-high school education, the state of Oklahoma will become economically competitive and attractive to employers.

"One of the keys to recruiting industry with good jobs is to have a skilled, educated workforce," Cox said. "With the number of career tech institutes, accredited trade schools, two-year colleges, and four-year universities in Oklahoma , there is opportunity for every high school graduate to further their education and stay close to home if they wish."

He noted the state is also increasing its commitment to funding scholarships, such as the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program.

"OHLAP and other scholarships, along with low-interest student loans and work/study programs make higher education more affordable for all Oklahomans," Cox said. "The key to our state and our country's futures lies in education. Let us put partisanship aside and accept and meet the president's challenge. By doing so we will move our nation into a bright competitive future."


Oklahoma House of Representatives
Media Division

February 23, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: State Rep. Doug Cox
Office: (405) 557-7415

Legislators, Mayor Find New Stove for Community Center

OKLAHOMA CITY - Within 24 hours of putting in a call in to state Rep. Doug Cox, the Jay Community Center 's broken stove had been replaced with a new one.

Cox, R-Grove, received a call last Wednesday from Bonnie Rudick of the Oklahoma State University Extension Office reporting that the community center's electric stove was broken. He immediately phoned state Sen. Charles Wyrick . Together they and Mayor Wayne Dunham were able to contact Metro Builder Supply in Joplin who offered to donate the new stove.

"A lot of civic organizations - including the OSU Extension office, quilting groups and groups that raise money for a number of causes - use the center and the stove to put on functions," Cox said. "Charitable organizations hold Indian taco fundraisers and chili feeds. It was very important to replace it."

"I was pleased we were able to help out the community center so quickly," Wyrick, D-Fairland, said. "The community center serves a very important function in providing a number of groups with a place to hold their events. I am also grateful to the donor for saving the taxpayers a bit of money in this tough year."

Cox said that Wyrick drove the stove to the community center himself.

"If it hadn't been for a delay caused by an issue they ran into hooking it up, they would have had that thing up and running just a short while after reporting it broken," Cox said. "Senator Wyrick drove the stove there himself after locating a home builder who was good enough to donate the stove. With the budget shortfalls we face this year, every little bit helps and I am grateful to the donor for giving taxpayers one less thing to fund."


Oklahoma House of Representatives
Media Division

February 16, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact: State Rep. Doug Cox
Capitol: (405) 557-7415

Physician-Legislator Calls for Workers Comp Reform

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Rep. Doug Cox today joined the ranks of those urging reform of Oklahoma 's workers compensation system.

"As a physician and legislator I want a system that delivers the needed medical care to injured workers," said Cox, a Grove Republican and emergency room doctor. "We need to treat these workers as quickly and efficiently as possible."

However, he said Oklahoma 's current workers comp system actually discourages treatment of injured workers.

"Physicians are hesitant to take work comp cases under the present system because too often, after seeing an injured worker, the physician receives a subpoena for medical records and has to waste a great deal of time Xeroxing records and dealing with legal hassles," Cox said.

He said the current system also discourages workers from actually rehabilitating.

"I know many physicians are tired of releasing an injured employee to return to work only to find out later the worker was poorly motivated, preferring instead to take his chances on winning a big settlement through a workman comp case," Cox said. "In addition, physicians are concerned that even with the high number of injured workers receiving permanent partial disability payments, not enough cases are referred for actual vocational rehabilitation. I believe vocational rehabilitation should be started earlier in cases when it is warranted."

A recent legislative study found the rate of permanent partial disability payments (PPDs) in Oklahoma is almost twice the regional average, yet in 2006 Oklahoma 's workers' compensation system ordered vocational rehabilitation for only 4 percent of all cases.

Cox noted the current workers' compensation system is also a drag on the state economy.

"The present system has resulted in higher rates for Oklahoma companies and that discourages economic development," Cox said. "We cannot offer enough up-front incentives to compensate for the high workers comp rates incurred year after year for even well-run Oklahoma businesses. "

Cox said any reform of Oklahoma's workers compensation system should emphasize efficient and quality medical care, and returning employees to the workforce as soon as possible (either at their old job or by retraining them for another job).

He said the reforms will impact some physicians who are bilking the system.

"I am saddened to admit there are some unscrupulous physicians who seem to be in the pockets of the workers comp attorneys and willing to write whatever disability rating the attorney requests," Cox said. "That has to end. I feel we should take a good look at any bill that reforms our present system to better serve the injured worker and Oklahoma industry. Industry deserves a system that helps an injured worker and does not place undue financial strain on Oklahoma companies"