WVPA Sharing

Media Advisory: This week in the House of Delegates

WV Press Release Sharing

By Ann Ali

Communications Director

West Virginia House of Delegates

For the week ending Jan. 28, 2022:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the House took time near the end of week three of the regular legislative session to honor the life of former House Speaker Robert S. Kiss who died Nov. 5, 2021.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, presented House Resolution 10 to Kiss’s wife Melinda who was escorted to the floor of the House Jan. 27 by all living House Speakers and the current Raleigh County delegation.

Kiss was first elected to the House in 1988 to represent Raleigh County and spent several years as House Finance Committee Chairman before his selection as House Speaker in 1997. Kiss oversaw legislative accomplishments that included creating the state’s Rainy Day Fund, funding higher education scholarships, funding roads and highways and most notably steering the Legislature through an overwhelming state budget deficits, a failing workers’ compensation system and a medical-malpractice insurance crisis.

“I practice law at the same firm where Speaker Kiss was, and I found him to be an invaluable source of advice and counsel,” Hanshaw said. “His example, not just to me as a Speaker of the House of Delegates, but also to every member of the Legislature as we start each day together, to always think about those who will come after us, and to focus on how to make their economic and social conditions better.”

Two measures that would pave the way for West Virginia to begin utilizing its rich supply of rare earth elements advanced in the House this week after months of discussion and study in legislative interim committee meetings. The state has a vast array of coal waste piles, and those abandoned treatment solids contain concentrations of the rare earth elements in high demand because of their essential role in making most electronic and automotive products. The Water Research Institute at West Virginia University has determined that cleaning acid mine drainage can be a rich source of rare earth elements.

House Bill 4003 would establish a clear legal right of title to the chemical compounds, elements and substances derived from the treatment of acid mine drainage, setting definitive roles in the cleanup and extraction of rare earth elements from those coal waste piles. The bill goes next to the House Judiciary Committee for debate. House Bill 4025 would provide a severance tax exemption of up to five years for the extraction, production and sale of rare earth elements and other critical materials as an economic development incentive. The measure goes next to the House Finance Committee.

House Bill 4252 overwhelmingly passed the House Wednesday. The measure would limit the maximum amount a person with health insurance would be required to pay for a prescription insulin drug to $35 per day for a 30-day supply, as well as a limit of $100 for a 30-day supply of diabetes devices, such as blood glucose strips. The limit for an insulin pump would be $250.

“This is an attempt to help our families with one of the main health problems in West Virginia,” said House Health Committee Chairman and lead sponsor of the bill Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell.

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, has advocated for lower insulin copays for many years, and said the bill would be a relief to many West Virginians.

“I am so thankful for this bill because it will truly save lives,” she said.

As of Jan. 28, a total of 1,046 bills had been introduced in the House of Delegates, 24 House bills had passed the House and two bills had completed the legislative process. The last day to introduce bills in the House is Feb. 15 and the regular session ends at midnight March 12.

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