Oklahoma legislators are working to undo their previous
handiwork and reinstate a program that allows the state to issue Certificates
of Non-Coverage to self-employed people – including truckers.
The certificates enable truckers and others to prove to those they
contract with that they are exempt from workers’ compensation coverage
The Oklahoma House approved the measure 94-7 March 13. The bill –
HB3003 – has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further
consideration. That committee, chaired by Sen. Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee, will
have until April 6 to advance the bill to the full Senate.
If approved, the bill would effectively reverse a legislative reform
that ended the Certificates of Non-Coverage program, commonly known to truckers
base plated in Oklahoma as the CNC program. The CNC program went the way of the
dinosaurs July 1, 2005, sending independent contractors into limbo.
The CNC cards provided Oklahoma truckers and other self-employed people
with an inexpensive way to prove they were exempt from workers’ compensation
coverage requirements. They paid $10 for a one-year card or $20 for a two-year
card. The CNC cards were issued by the state after people provided proof that
they were self-employed.
The legislative reform that killed the CNC program sparked a rash of
concerns and speculation. Some Oklahoma officials said without the CNC cards,
independent contractors and self-employed people would have to buy workers’
comp policies for an estimated $350 a year and then check the “opt out” box on
Fears of that extra expense sent a flood of truckers and others to
state offices at the last minute on June 30, 2005, so they could secure
two-year CNC cards for $20. The state offices were kept open until after 8 p.m.
to serve those in line for CNC cards. An attorney general’s opinion stated that
cards issued that night and any other existing CNC cards are valid through
their expiration dates.
In July 2005, state Sen. Cliff A. Aldridge and the deputy commissioner
for the state Department of Transportation told Land Line that the reform was creating more problems than it
Pat McGuigan, deputy commissioner for the state Labor Department, said
in July 2005 that “the most efficient solution would be to bring back the CNC
That is exactly what HB3003 would do. And the bill includes a provision
that earmarks it as “emergency” legislation. That means it would go into effect
immediately upon approval, rather than being delayed until July 1, which is the
standard procedure for Oklahoma bills after they are signed into law.
– By Coral Beach, staff editor
Keith Goble, state legislative
editor, contributed to this report.