From The Well

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Day 56



House Health kills bill to increase age to purchase tobacco products 


On a voice vote, members of the House Health and Human Resources Committee killed Engrossed Committee Substitute for Committee Substitute for S. B. 348 – relating to tobacco usage restrictions. The bill restricted sale of tobacco products to individuals less than 21 years of age and imposed a secondary fine of $25 on adults caught smoking in a vehicle with children less than 17 years of age as passengers.


The same committee on Jan. 15 approved with little discussion HB 2077, which prohibited smoking in an enclosed motor vehicles with a child less than eight years of age. The bill made smoking in cars a secondary offense with a $25 fine. That bill died in the House Judiciary Committee.


Bill allowing APRNs, PAs to provide MAT mental health services passes House

Engrossed Committee Substitute for H. B. 2531 – Permitting trained nurses to provide mental health services in a medication-assisted treatment program— unanimously passed the Senate. It now returns to the House, after the Senate added qualified physician assistants to those individuals allowed to provide mental health services to patients in Medication-Assisted Treatment programs.


Bill requiring quicker overdose reporting passes House

Committee Substitute for S. B. 520 – This bill was unanimously approved by the House on Monday and goes back to the Senate. The House adopted a minor amendment that requires Senate concurrence.


Mandatory reports to the Office of Drug Control Policy would be required within 72 hours drug overdoses. Quarterly reports are currently required. Pharmacies and prosecuting attorneys are exempted from reporting.


Practice agreement between physician assistants and hospitals unanimously passes

S. B. 668, which relates to physician assistants collaborating with physicians in hospital unanimously passed the House. The bill allows hospital-based physician assistants to practice without a collaborating relationship with a single physician, as is currently the requirement. Physician assistants practicing in a hospital must file practice agreements with the Board of Medicine and may collaborate with more than one physician. Collaborating physicians are not required to be identified in the practice agreement.


The House amended the bill and it now goes back to the Senate.


Governor signs prior authorization bill


HB 2351, tightening preauthorization requirements for managed care organizations and insurance companies, was signed March 1 by the governor.Most, if not all the physician legislators are sponsors.


While somewhat esoteric, dealing with the length of time managed care companies and insurance companies have to make prior authorization decisions, the bill has a complicated history. It passed the legislature last year and but was subsequently vetoed for constitutional reasons by Gov Jim Justice.


Coal severance tax rebate passes Senate Finance Committee


House Bill 3144, which creates the North Central Appalachian Coal Severance Tax Rebate Act was reviewed by Senate Finance Monday.


Deputy Secretary for the Department of Revenue, Mark Muchow, came before the committee to address a concern over the lack of a fiscal note expressed by Senator Cory Palumbo. Muchow explained that it’s hard to establish a a solid number for a rebate drawn from the state’s coal industry, but predicted the initial start up administration cost for the bill would be around $70,000.


WV Legislature


Legislature Live
Meeting Notices


Proposed Rules
Legislative Wrap-up


Some information in this update is collected from the WV Legislature’s Daily/Weekly Blogs.

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