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The Dome Report - 2020 West Virginia Legislature Update, Issue 6
February 27, 2020
The 50th day of the 2020 Regular Session of the West Virginia Legislature marks a significant boundary line between the bills that have a chance for passage and those that failed. It is known as Cross Over Day, the last day to consider bills on third reading in their house of origin.
 
By Cross Over Day, the House had introduced a total of 1,528 bills, with the Senate contributing 853. Of those bills, 243 House bills crossed over to the Senate, while 249 Senate bills crossed over to the House. Since 52 bills have completed legislation, each chamber scoring 26, there are a total of 440 bills that may yet become law.
 
Given past experience, we know only about half of that number will be enacted before the end of the session at midnight on March 7, 2020.
 
Here are some of the bills that did NOT cross over.
 
Senate Joint Resolution 9 and SB 837
Senate Joint Resolution 9 would have placed on the ballot an amendment to the state constitution permitting the Legislature, by enacting a separate law, to either exempt or reduce the ad valorem taxes on certain personal property. The Joint Resolution failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate, dying by a vote of 18-16. Its failure also doomed the companion ambitious tax overhaul championed by industry and the business community, Senate Bill 837 would have phased out the property tax on machinery, equipment and inventory (including retail inventory) and the personal property tax on cars, trucks, trailers and other “rolling stock”; increased the consumer sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6 percent; and raised the cigarette tax by 80-cents per pack, to $2.00. Since there will be no amendment to the constitution, the Legislature cannot now enact a law eliminating the personal property tax on machinery and inventory, thus eviscerating the entire purpose of Senate Bill 837.
 
SB 220, HB 2847, HB 4114, HB 4115 and HB 4063
These bills would eliminate, or otherwise severely limit, the scope of West Virginia's compulsory immunization laws.
 
HB 2660
House Bill 2660 would have permitted expedited cost recovery from captive ratepayers of a natural gas utility before the asset is proven to be used and useful, as is usually required in a normal rate-setting case.
 
HB 2722
House Bill 2722 would have permitted utilities to use statutory tax rates for ratemaking purposes even if the utility did not actually pay that rate.
 
SB 286
Senate Bill 286 would have prohibited needle exchange programs in the state.
 
SB 17
Senate Bill 17 would have brought the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act into conformity with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, thus limiting the amount of recovery available for violations of state law.
 
SB 135, SB 318, SB 548
There were a number of bills introduced in both chambers which sought to preempt local government authorities, such as cities and counties, from further regulating state licensed professions and occupations, among other things, problems that admittedly did not exist. Some of those bills include Senate Bill 135; Senate Bill 318; and Senate Bill 548.
 
Here are some of the bills that are still ALIVE and pending before the other chamber.
 
SB 275
Senate Bill 275 would create an Intermediate Court of Appeals.
 
SB 339
Senate Bill 339, which amends the rules for medical cannabis by permitting dispensaries to provide medical cannabis in dry leaf of plant form.
 
SB 752
Senate Bill 752 expands the definition of serious medical conditions for which medical cannabis is approved to include ulcerative colitis as well as opioid use disorder.
 
SB 284
Senate Bill 284, which is intended to take the place of the Affordable Healthcare Act if that is struck down by the federal courts, particularly those sections ensuring that healthcare coverage plans meet certain minimum standards, remain affordable, and are not denied on the basis of preexisting conditions.
 
HB 4543
House Bill 4543 requires insurance policies to provide coverage for prescription insulin drugs and ensure the amount may not exceed $25 for a 30-day supply.
 
SB 762
Senate Bill 762 prohibits an insurer from switching a prescription for a biological drug product for non-medical reasons.
 
HB 4003
House Bill 4003 provides that an insurance carrier shall provide coverage of health care services provided through telehealth services if those same services are covered through face-to-face consultation by the policy.
 
HB 4474 
The purpose of HB 4474 is to create a regulatory framework for the operation of and use of peer-to-peer car sharing programs.
 
SB 583
Senate Bill 583 encourages electric utilities to provide a portion of the state’s electricity needs by authorizing them to plan, design, construct, purchase, own and operate renewable electric generating facilities and energy storage resources by receiving concurrent surcharge cost recovery of those investments from the captive ratepayers.
 
 If you have any questions about the 2020 Session, please contact our Government Relations Practice Group.
 
 
Government Relations Jason C. Pizatella
304.340.3868
jpizatella@spilmanlaw.com