Hold the celebration until after midnight Saturday, but the bill the leadership of UE Local 170 feared the most, Senate Bill 616, has run out of steam. So has SB 820, which would have allowed the DHHR to transfer ownership of facilities such as our state hospitals.

Both bills passed the Senate, but did not clear committees in the House and have not been brought to the House floor for First Reading.

There will be a few bills for our members, West Virginia’s public workers, to watch in the Legislature’s final day of the session. Two such bills cleared a big hurdle on Friday, House Bill 4543 and SB 217 — both with ramifications for PEIA members.

HB 4543 deals with insurance coverage for diabetics, both on PEIA and private insurance. The major item is a cap on co-pays for insulin — the House-passed bill set a $25 cap for each 30-day supply.

The Senate passed the bill 33-1 (Azinger voted against), but that chamber raised the cap to $100. If the House does not agree to the amended bill, the bill would need to be worked out in a conference committee and any compromises approved by both chambers.

SB 217 would require the require the PEIA and other health insurance providers to provide mental health parity between behavioral health, mental health, substance use disorders, and medical and surgical procedures. The bill passed the House with amendments 84-14, and goes back to the Senate.

SB 312, relating to the provisional licensure of social workers, has been completed and is heading to the governor for his signature. So has SB 339, a wide-ranging DHHR rules package, and HB 4581, which includes DHHR employees in the West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry and Employment Screening process.

HB 2497, which strengthened the whistleblower law and was supported by UE Local 170, was signed into law about a week ago