House Bill 4043, which would prevent state, county and municipal agencies from covering any portions of Public Employee Insurance Act premiums for spouses who have insurance through a separate employer, failed to pass today in the House Committee on Banking and Insurance today.

The vote was 11-11. Some opponents warned that the bill would be financially harmful to teachers and state workers; one delegate asked why his colleagues would “poke the bear” again, referring to the 2018 teachers’ strike and a fear of a repeat.

Some committee members were surprised to see the bill on the agenda, and indeed it was added this morning.