Healthcare, Latest News, West Virginia Legislature

Senate Finance originates, approves bill to enhance family planning, adoption resources

MORGANTOWN – Gov. Jim Justice’s surprise move to add abortion legislation to the special session call threw the plans to deal with his personal income tax bill off the rails Monday. So, while House Health was dealing with the primary abortion bill, Senate Finance took up a companion piece.

The bill was a committee originating bill with no number – it will receive one when the Senate convenes Tuesday.

The bill has four parts. One deals with family planning services and mandates insurance coverage for vascectomies and tubal ligations. It prohibits prior authorizations, waiting periods and multiple office visits.

The second part codifies that adoptive families my access early intervention programs offered through the Department of Health and Human Resources – services already available to them, said DHHR’s Cindy Beane. Those services include Birth-to-3 and Right from the Start.

The third part doubles the adoption tax credit from $4,000 to $8,000. Committee counsel told the members that 17 states offer adoption credits ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. Among border states, only Ohio has one, at $7,000.

There is also a federal credit of $14,000, counsel said. The average cost of an adoption in West Virginia is $45,000.

The final portion removes the current prohibition for licensed pharmacists to dispense self-administered contraceptives to anyone under 18.

Counsel said the current adoption tax credit costs the state $3.2 million. Because the governor hasn’t lowered his revenue estimate to account for the additional costs, the bill would take effect July 1, 2023, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

The bill passed in a unanimous voice vote and goes to the Senate floor.

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