We have expanded the list of bills we are tracking, as well as one proposed amendment to West Virginia Constitution. One bill has passed the Senate, SB 217, and is in a House of Delegates Committee.

There are a few bills opposed by UE Local 170 leadership, notably Senate Bill 616. The bill, introduced January 24 by Sen. Charles Trump (R-Morgan), would make changes to the grievance procedure, with an aim of handcuffing representation and possibly discouraging those with a grievance over working conditions.

We have details of SB616 in a separate post.

Another piece of opposed legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 8, would amend the West Virginia Constitution, phasing out the inventory tax on tangible manufacturing inventory, machinery, and equipment personal property.

The amendment does provide for an unspecified “item of appropriation for replacement revenue, rising to $100 million by fiscal year 2025-26. It has been referred to the powerful Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Remember, amendments to the constitution must be ratified by the voters.

Another bill that concerns us is House Bill 4043, which would prevent state, county, and municipal agencies from covering any portions of PEIA premiums for spouses. Married workers could see a big hit in their take-home pay under this measure. It is going to the House Committee on Banking and Insurance).

We are tracking many other bills, some of which will clear committees and even pass one or both houses. SB 217 passed the Senate on January 21 with a 33-0 vote; it requires the DHHR to collaborate with Workforce Development Board and Division of Personnel for job placement.

There is currently action on on SB 352, relating to qualifications for a provisional license to practice as a social worker. This issue was folded into SB 339, a legislative rule-making bill involving DHHR policy.  SB 339 was headed for first reading in the full Senate on Tuesday (January 28). Social workers who are members should look at 64-5-1(n) to find pertinent details.

HB 4291, a de facto copy of SB 352, passed the House’s Health and Human Resources committee, and was sent to Judiciary.

Other House bills, with committee assignments and movement, if any:

  • HB 2053, providing that state retirees’ insurance benefits be restored to 2015 levels. (Pensions and Retirement)
  • HB 2104, increasing benefit to state retirees by 5% for the next 3 years. (House Pensions and Retirement)
  • HB 2130 and 2650, establishing seniority rights for public employees. (House Government Organization)
  • HB 2132, raising the amount of annual and incremental salary increases for eligible employees from $60 to $100; and changing eligibility from three years of service to one.
  • HB 2207, requiring that a state employee with a commercial driver’s license have a current medical evaluation certification. (Technology and Infrastructure)
  • HB 2308, Katherine Johnson Fair Pay Act of 2019;  the bill makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to make a condition of employment, or to prohibit an employee from disclosing information about his or her wages, benefits, or other compensation, or sharing information regarding any other employee’s wages, benefits, or other compensation. The bill also limits employers’ inquiry into a job applicant’s wage and salary history.
  • HB 2347, providing long-term care and substance abuse treatment.
  • HB 2350, permitting public employees the right to collectively bargain. (House Industry and Labor)
  • HB 2372, 2580 and 2748, continuing and/or increasing the exclusion of pension income from state income tax. (House Pensions and Retirement)
  • HB 2381, Exempting certain contracts between the DHHR and West Virginia University, Marshall University or the School for Osteopathic Medicine from state purchasing requirements. (Education)
  • HB 2463, increasing the state minimum wage based upon increases in the Consumer Price Index. (House Industry and Labor)
  • HB 2491, providing regional field employees of the DOH increases in annual pay.  (Finance)
  • HB 2575, freezing PEIA employee premiums for three years. (Committee on Banking and Insurance)
  • HB 2577, authorizing insurance to married workers without children at reduced rates under the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Act. (Banking and Insurance)
  • HB 2776, providing a one-time, 3% supplement to PERS and teacher retirees when they reach the age of 70. (House Pensions and Retirement)
  • HB 2871, increasing the state minimum wage gradually to $12 by 2023. (House Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development)
  • HB 3030, pertaining to the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Act. In summary, the bill’s purpose is to allow purchase of retroactive service credit, for periods of employment in which contributions were not deducted from the employee’s pay, in installments rather than in a lump sum under the West Virginia Public Employees Retirement Act. (House Pensions and Retirement)
  • HB 4068, increasing the state minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2025. (House Industry and Labor)
  • HB 4128, modernize the job classification of child protective caseworkers. Similar to SB 312. (Health and Human Resources)

Other Senate bills, with committee assignment and movement, if any:

  • SB 31, opens an enrollment period of 11 months in which certain members of the Public Employees Retirement System can purchase previously forfeited service credit. (Passed Committee on Pensions, now in Finance Committee)
  • SB 37, providing long-term care and substance abuse treatment. (Human Health and Resources)
  • SB 117, providing $1,000 cost-of-living adjustment to certain Public Employees Retirement System retirees and teacher retirees. (Pensions)
  • SB 146, establishing minimum monthly retirement annuity for retirants with 20 or more years of credited service. (Pensions)
  • SB 178, similar to SB 31.
  • SB 238, making state’s whistleblower law applicable to private employment sector. (Workforce Committee)
  • SB 291, require the Public Employees Insurance Agency and other health insurance providers provide mental health parity between behavioral health, mental health, substance use disorders and medical and surgical procedures. (Health and Human Resources)
  • SB 312, relating to child protective caseworkers. (Children and Families)
  • SB 559, authorizing small private employers buy in to PEIA. (Banking and Insurance)