CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation to dismantle the current state Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board passed the Senate Wednesday on a party line 18-16 vote, over objections from Democrats who said the bill amounted to killing the messenger.
The bill (SB 622) would reconfigure the board, which each year must approve PEIA health care benefits packages for public employees and retirees.
The board would shrink from 10 to eight members; a union representative and an at-large citizen member would be removed from the current board.
Senate Government Organization Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, cited the $120 million funding deficit facing PEIA in the coming plan year as a reason to revamp the board.
Increasing PEIA employer premiums by $43.5 million to avoid about $120 million in severe cuts in benefits has been a sticking point all session, with Democrats repeatedly accusing legislative leadership of failing to have a plan to fully fund PEIA.
“We realize there’s a problem with this board,” Blair said. “We came into this session with a $120 million shortfall.”
However, Democratic senators countered that PEIA board members had warned about funding issues …