Hello brothers and sisters,

The House Judiciary Committee today narrowly passed Senate Bill 230, which opens up grievants to paying up to $1,000 in costs and legal fees if they lose. The vote was 12-11, with 2 members not voting.

The bill moves to the House floor, where it may be placed on the first of three readings Tuesday or Wednesday. With the session ending at midnight Saturday, there is plenty of time to pass it, though it will have to go back to the Senate to approve the revised version.

One nuisance clause was removed — grievants would not have to have their grievances notarized. After it was pointed out that lawsuits don’t have to be notarized, the committee voted to drop that from the bill.

But grievants are still open to having to pay up to $1,000 in the state’s costs and attorney fees if they lose. The administrative law judge would have the right to do that if he/she “finds that the opposing party presented a grievance or defense which lacked any basis in fact or law, was not brought in good faith, or was brought with malice or wrongful purpose, including, but not limited to, delay or harassment.”

How the judge would interpret that in cases involving our members, that’s difficult to say. Those who are against the bill say that clauses will have a “chilling effect” on potential grievants.

When the revised version of the bill comes available, we will post it on our website, uelocal170.org. Go to the Legislative section on the mail menu.

Two other bills we are watching closely:

HB 4344 “Relating to Foster Care” allows for a possible 20% pay raise for CPS workers, but the wide-ranging bill has some other items, potentially good or bad. Passed the House 99-1 and the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee; it is now in Senate Finance.

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. Passed the House 94-3 and passed the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee; it is now in Senate Finance where it is on Monday’s agenda.

Please … if you want to know how a bill stands or who your senator or delegate is, please contact us at info@uelocal170.org or (304) 347-4396.