Hello brothers and sisters,
The annual attack on our rights in the state’s grievance process has passed the Senate, as a similar bill did last year. Senate Bill 230 passed by a vote of 23-11, a wider margin that last year’s vote of 18-15. There was a minor technical amendment, but no debate from either side.
As a recap, the bill would, among other things:
- Require grievance statements to be notarized;
- Allow either party more opportunity to make a “motion to dismiss,” which can easily disrupt the grievance process.
- Open up the possibility for the grievant to be responsible for the state’s legal fees in certain cases, up to $1,000.
A similar bill has passed the Senate in recent years, but has not been taken up in the House.
In the House of Delegates, House Bill 4344 has passed by a vote of 99-1, and will be reported to the Senate. The bill, “Relating to Foster Care,” allows for a possible 20% pay raise for CPS workers, but the bill is broad and has many other elements.
As we watch these and other bills, keep this is mind: Sunday, February 27, is the last day bills can get out of committees in the chamber of origin. Many of the bills we are following will die after Sunday … but remember, a bill can sneak out of committee Sunday night.
HB 4365 “Relating to discontinuing operation of certain state long-term care facilities” Seeks to close 3 long-term care facilities: Lakin, Withrow, and John Manchin. Workers will be offered the opportunity to transfer to another position in state government if they qualify for such job, or take a year in severance pay and benefits. (Hopemont is not affected by the legislation at this time.) Referred to the House Government Committee, then the Finance Committee.
HB 4252 “To reduce copay cap on insulin and devices” Reduces maximum copay on prescription insulin from $100 to $35, and sets a maximum copay for devices at $100 — great news for our members who are dealing with diabetes. This has passed the House, and has advanced to the Senate and assigned to the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee.
SB 531 “Increasing annual salaries of certain state employees” This currently impacts state police, public school teachers, and public school personnel. Passed Senate, in House Finance Committee.
HB 4453 “Fair Advancements for State Employees” Bill Impacts increment pay and salary increases for state workers. Merit-based or performance-based pay increases would be used instead of across-the-board equal increases for workers. Referred to House Government Organization Committee, and then to House Finance Committee.
HB 4310 “Specifying when a public employee’s spouse may be covered by PEIA” If your spouse has access to non-PEIA healthcare, it would cause you to pay the full spouse premium, instead of “your share” plus the employer’s share of the spouse’s premium. So, where applicable, this could make the part you pay go up, or make it unfeasible to cover your spouse through PEIA. In House Finance Committee.
Other bills of note:
- HB 3124, permitting collective bargaining for public employees. In House Government Organization Committee.
- HB 3123, the “Family Leave Program” would be as good as any. That would allow four weeks of paid employee leave in a 12-month period for reasons including: birth of a child; adoption of a child; care of a child, parent, spouse, or dependent with a serious health condition. In House Workforce Development Committee.
- SB 243, “Granting all public employees 10 percent per year permanent pay increase,” In Senate Government Organization.
- HB 2117, “Providing certain employees of the Highways increases in annual pay,” House Finance.
- HB 2142, “Establishing seniority rights for public employees,” House Workforce Development.
- HB 3178, “Suspend state government pay if business is shut down due to a pandemic,” House Government Organization.
- HB 3186, “Relating to PEIA inpatient rates,” House Banking and Insurance.
- Several bills to improve pay and benefits for retirees. In committee.
Full text and status of all introduced bills can be found by searching at: https://www.wvlegislature.gov/bill_status/bill_status.cfm.
Many other questions can be answered at wvlegislature.gov, but we may be able to help you more quickly.
Please … if you want to know how a bill stands or who your senator or delegate is, please contact us at [email protected] or (304) 347-4396.