Greetings All,

Take a deep breath. The 2022 session of the West Virginia Legislature is over, and not a minute too soon.

When midnight Saturday (March 12) arrived, we had survived several bad bills that did not pass. One bill to close three of our state-run health-care facilities, never got off the ground. And in the most surprising development, the House of Delegates buried Senate Bill 230 on Friday the 11th, rejecting it 39-61.

The bill would have made a number of changes to the state employees’ grievance process, most for the worst. Among other things, members would have been exposed to a charge of up to $1,000 if an administrative law judge finds a grievance filed in bad faith – and how do you determine that? The bill  would have had a chilling effect.

That may be the only bill we were tracking that passed, but one surprise slipped through our radar – House Bill 4020, which will divide the DHHR into two departments – the Department of Health and Department of Human Resources. Both will be represented by a cabinet-level secretary.

If the governor signs the bill, the changes will take effect on July 1, 2023. The bill outlines a few details on which division goes with which department, but many “dirty” details are undetermined.

Other notable bills that died on the last day:

HB 4344 “Relating to Foster Care” would have allowed 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. It was amended in Senate Finance committee to remove pay raise provision and public info dashboard, among other things. The amended bill passed the Senate 33-0 at 9:12 p.m. and sent back to the House. The House failed to address it.

HB 4252 “To reduce copay cap on insulin and devices” This would have reduced maximum copay on prescription insulin from $100 to $35, and would have set a maximum copay for devices at $100 and insulin pumps at $250 — great news for our members who are dealing with diabetes. The Senate passed the bill 31-3 with amendments and sent it back to the House, but the House failed to take it up.

As you well know, several bills that would have benefited our members and your fellow state workers did not make it; most were not even brought up in committee. If you have any questions about any such bills, contact us at info@uelocal 170 or call (304) 347-4396.