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February 2016 Archives

House Bill 4012 - House of Delegates Passes the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed the "West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act" on February 11, 2016.

Senate Bill 330 - Requiring Automobile Liability Insurers Provide Ten (10) Days' Notice of Intent to Cancel

Senate Bill 330 was originally introduced to amend W.Va. Code § 33-6A-1 to allow an insurer to cancel an automobile policy for non-payment of premiums upon seven (7) days' notice to the insured instead of thirty (30) days as the statute currently provides. The Bill has since been amended, however, and now would require an insurer to provide ten (10) days' notice of intent to cancel due to nonpayment of premium. Senate Bill 330 is presently pending before the House Banking and Insurance Committee.

Governor Tomblin Vetoes the "Workplace Freedom Act" and the Prevailing Wage Bill.

Governor Tomblin has vetoed Senate Bill 1, the "Workplace Freedom Act," and House Bill 4005, an act that would have repealed the state's prevailing wage law. It only takes a simple majority vote of the members of both the House and Senate to override a veto. Since a majority of the legislators desire the enactment of both bills, it is likely that West Virginia will soon repeal the prevailing wage law and will also become the 26th state in the nation to adopt a right-to-work ("RTW") law.

Senate Bill 324 - Authorization of Transportation Network Companies

The Senate introduced SB 324 on January 19, 2016 to authorize transportation network companies ("TNCs"), better known as companies like Uber and Lyft, to operate in West Virginia. The bill takes a sweeping approach to regulating the registration and operation of TNCs. Notably, the bill addresses financial responsibility requirements of TNCs and potential "insurance gaps" which may occur. The bill requires that the driver, the TNC, or a combination of the two purchase insurance:

Senate Bill 1 - Workplace Freedom Act

On January 21st, the West Virginia Senate passed the "West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act" by a 17 to 16 vote. The Act, part of Senate Bill 1, will prohibit employment agreements that require membership in a union as a condition of employment as well as employment agreements that require non-union employees to pay union dues or fees or to make equivalent contributions to a charity.

Senate Bill 296 - Damages Awarded For Medical Expenses

Health insurance companies commonly satisfy medical bills by paying a discounted rate that is less than the amount actually billed by the medical provider. This raised an interesting question in civil cases where medical expenses were at issue: can an injured person recover damages for the full value of medical services, i.e. the amounts billed by a medical provider, or is the injured party's recovery limited to the amounts that an insurance company actually paid on his or her behalf?

Senate Bill 330 - Requiring Automobile Liability Insurers Provide Seven (7) Days' Notice of Intent to Cancel

Senate Bill 330, which was introduced on January 20, 2016, would amend W.Va. Code § 33-6A-1, governing the cancellation of automobile liability policies. Under the current statute, an insurer may cancel an individual's automobile liability insurance policy upon thirty (30) days written notice to the insured. Cancellations may be triggered if the insured violates a material term of the policy, has his or her license suspended or revoked, the insured receives certain types of medical diagnoses, or if the insured faces criminal charges arising out of the use of a motor vehicle. An insurer may also cancel an automobile policy if the insured fails to pay premiums.

House Bill 4191 - Taxation with Representation Act

On January 21, 2016, Delegate Howell introduced House Bill 4191, which creates the Taxation With Representation Act (the "Act"). Under the Act, nonresidents of a municipality who work in the municipality and pay user fees pursuant to a municipal ordinance may vote in municipal elections. House Bill 4191 has been forwarded to the House Committee on Political Subdivisions for review and consideration.