Wednesday’s Crossover Day at the WV Legislature saw the demise of HB 3136, a bill that would have taken Medicaid coverage away from people who do not meet new work reporting requirements. Most Medicaid recipients who can work are already working- 68% of non-disabled adults on Medicaid in West Virginia are in working families. As other states have seen, this legislation would have caused people to fall between the cracks while struggling to navigate bureaucratic red tape, losing vital health care coverage in the process.
While no bill is dead until midnight on the last night of the session, it would take some serious bending of the rules to resurrect this harmful piece of legislation.
We appreciate the hard work of our coalition partners working together to educate lawmakers included American Friends Service Committee, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, WV FREE, National Association of Social Workers-WV, ACLU-WV, Prevent Child Abuse-WV, Recovery Point-WV, West Virginia Hospital Association, West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, West Virginia Council of Churches, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, Betty Rivard, Renate Pore, Professor Simon Haeder, Call to Action for Racial Equality, West Virginia Together for Medicaid, and concerned West Virginians across the state.
Another bad bill which did not make it out of its house of origin was HB 3137 that would have reduced the personal income tax by $200 million each time a designated fund reached $200 million. This bill originated out of the House Finance Committee just last week. Read more in Ted’s blog post.
SB 412, Katherine Johnson Fair Pay Act of 2019, progressed through the Senate but was not passed in time to make it over to the House, so it is dead for this session.
SCR 41 is still alive and under consideration by the Senate. It would create a study resolution on the implementation, costs, and benefits of creating a paid family and medical leave insurance program in West Virginia.
SB 564 passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House Health and Finance Committees. It would increase Medicaid coverage for pregnant women up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Read more in this one-pager by Senior Policy Analyst Jessie Ice.
HB 3144, the coal tax rebate bill would allow coal producers to claim 35 percent of the cost of new equipment and machinery and use that credit to offset what they owe in severance tax. This could blow big holes in our state budget while doing little to create jobs.
HB 3142 would reduce the coal severance tax from 5% to 3% over the next two years, costing the state $30 million this year and $60 million the following year. While touted as a way to make West Virginia steam coal more competitive, even if every penny of the cut went toward lowering the price, it would come nowhere near matching the nearest competitor. This is due to the high cost of mining West Virginia’s thin coal seams.
Legislators supporting both bills did not suggest how they would be paid for or what would be cut in the state budget to make up for the lost revenue they would create. They await action by the Senate Finance Committee.
Even if all of the severance tax cut went to lowering the price of WV coal, this would not bring us anywhere near competitors’ prices. Read more in Sean’s blog post.
Yesterday, Governor Jim Justice signed HB 2459 into law repealing the lifetime ban on those convicted of a drug felony from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. West Virginia was one of just three remaining states to still have this policy in place.
Thank you for your calls of support for this bill!
Want to do more to fight hunger?
Please take a moment to comment on the USDA proposed rule that would take food assistance away from over 755,000 people (including folks in 28 counties across West Virginia).
The Trump Administration’s proposed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule would time limit food benefits for unemployed and underemployed people who can’t document sufficient weekly work hours. They would lose SNAP eligibility after three months.
Here is an easy link where you can submit comments. The deadline to comment is April 2, 2019.
Join the Mountaineer Food Bank, Facing Hunger Food Bank and other anti-hunger activists next week at the state Capitol. The goal of this partnership and this day of action is to connect individuals facing food insecurity to their local resources. Learn more here.
Get Ready for the Big Health Care Debate of 2020! Save the date and join the discussion over lunch (provided) at the Covenant House, Charleston, WV. Noon – 2:00 PM.
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