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Engrossed Version House Bill 3271 History

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BILL FOR INTR W CLERK3

ENGROSSED

H. B. 3271

 

(By Delegates White, Campbell, M. Poling, Kominar, Marshall, Iaquinta, D. Poling, Stowers, Anderson, Border and Cowles)

 

(Originating in the Committee on Finance)

 

[February 25, 2011]

 

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §12-4-14a; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-3-33a, all relating to the distribution of state funds to volunteer fire companies and departments generally; establishing the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund; providing that the state auditor administer the distribution of moneys of the fund to volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments to help defray workers’ compensation insurance premium increases; providing additional funding from various sources; and requiring reviews, assessments and reports to the Legislature prior to termination of provisions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §12-4-14a; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-3-33a, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 12. PUBLIC MONEYS AND SECURITIES.ARTICLE 4. ACCOUNTS, REPORTS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS.

§12–4-14a. Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy for Volunteer Fire Departments; creation of Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund; auditor to administer.

    (a) In recognition of the burden of increasing workers’ compensation insurance premiums on volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments, the Legislature has determined that additional funding assistance should be made available to eligible departments to pay those premium increases beginning with invoices due and payable on or after July 1, 2011.

    (b) There is hereby established a special fund in the state treasury which shall be known as the “Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund.” The fund shall be administered by the State Auditor and consist of moneys deposited in the fund pursuant to §33-3-33a, any other funds appropriated by the Legislature for volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments for the purposes of this section, and the interest or other earnings on the moneys in the fund. Balances in the fund at the end of any fiscal year shall not expire, but shall be expended for the purposes of this section in ensuing fiscal years pursuant to appropriation of the Legislature.

    (c) The state auditor shall administer the distribution of moneys of the fund to volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments to help defray workers’ compensation insurance premium increases.

    (1) Volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments shall request supplemental funds by submitting to the auditor the following information:

    (A) The previous fiscal year’s workers’ compensation premium invoices with paid receipts;

    (B) The current fiscal year’s workers’ compensation premium invoices showing the amount due and due date and any applicable paid receipts; and

    (C) Any other information the auditor may deem necessary for administering the subsidy on such forms and schedules as the auditor may direct. The auditor is authorized to set up an electronic filing system at the discretion of the auditor for filing of the aforementioned information.

    (D) For purposes of this section, “fiscal year” means the fiscal year of this State.

    (2) After determining that there is a premium increase and the amount of the premium increase for the volunteer company or department requesting the subsidy, the auditor shall make disbursements in the manner set forth in subsection (d) of this section subject to the following requirements:

    (A) The volunteer company or department must be in good standing with the State Fire Marshal;

    (B) The volunteer company or department must be registered with the auditor’s office in a form and manner prescribed by the auditor prior to being eligible for consideration of any subsidy, which registration must be completed no fewer than thirty days prior to the due date of the workers’ compensation premium;

    (C) The volunteer company or department must agree that the subsidy for its workers’ compensation insurance premium increase will be paid directly to its insurance carrier by the auditor and that it will timely pay the balance of the premium due;

    (d) Beginning with the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2011, and continuing in each fiscal year thereafter, after the auditor has verified that a company or department is eligible for a subsidy pursuant to this section, he or she shall pay on behalf of that company or department its subsidy, which is calculated by subtracting the individual base year premium from the individual premium. In no event shall a company or department receive a workers’ compensation premium subsidy greater than one hundred percent of its premium increase.

    (e) For fiscal years after the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2011, the auditor shall consult with the insurance commissioner to determine the total amount of workers’ compensation premium due by volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments for any subsequent fiscal year. The auditor may determine payment dates based upon information reasonably available for such a determination.

    (f) For the purposes of this section:

    (1) “Individual base year premium” shall mean the workers’ compensation insurance premium that became due and payable by a volunteer company or department after June 30, 2010, but before July 1, 2011.

    (2) “Individual premium” shall mean the workers’ compensation premium due and payable by a volunteer company or department in each twelve month period beginning on or after July 1, 2011.

    (3) “Volunteer company or department” shall mean a volunteer or part volunteer fire company or department that was qualified to receive a distribution from the Fire Protection Fund pursuant to section thirty-three, article three, chapter thirty-three of this code on July 1, 2010 and is, at the time of the distribution under this section, eligible to receive distributions from the Fire Protection Fund.

    (g) The auditor may promulgate emergency rules and may propose for promulgation legislative rules, in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, as are necessary to provide for implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this section.

    (h) The implementation of the provisions of this section shall undergo a review to assess its effectiveness after three years of operation. The auditor shall submit a report to the Legislature not later than June 30, 2013, and provide details of the implementation, including funds distributed and departments taking advantage of the subsidy, as well as the assessment of its effectiveness.

    (i) No provision of this section may be construed to require the auditor to provide funding for the purposes of this section in any amount in excess of the moneys available in the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund.

    (j) Upon the conclusion of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the provisions of this section shall expire and be of no further force and effect, the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund shall be closed, and any balances remaining in the fund shall be distributed as provided in section thirty-three-a, article three, chapter thirty-three of this code.

CHAPTER 33. INSURANCE.

ARTICLE 3. LICENSING, FEES AND TAXATION OF INSURERS.

§33-3-33a. Excess moneys of Fire Protection Fund deposited into Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund.

    (a) Beginning July 1, 2011, and in each fiscal year thereafter until June 30, 2014, the excess of the aggregate of amounts collected by the commissioner that are otherwise required under any provision of this code to be deposited into the Fire Protection Fund over the aggregate of those amounts deposited into the Fire Protection Fund during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, shall be deposited into the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund established pursuant to section fourteen-a, article four, chapter twelve of this code and expended solely for the purposes established in that section.

    (b) On or before August 1, 2011, the commissioner shall transfer $7.5 million from the premium tax savings fund created under section thirteen, article twelve, chapter twenty-nine of this code to the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund and expended solely for the purposes established in section fourteen-a, article four, chapter twelve of this code until June 30, 2014.

    (c) The State Fire Marshal, in consultation with the commissioner and the Secretary of Revenue, shall conduct a review of the needs of each volunteer or part volunteer fire company or department serving in the various counties of the state. On or before June 30, 2013, the State Fire Marshal shall submit to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance a comprehensive report of the review and the State Fire Marshal’s recommendations, substantiated by the findings of the review, of steps that may be taken to meet the needs of the volunteer and part volunteer fire companies and departments, including, but not limited to, the following:

    (1) An assessment of all current funding received by the volunteer companies and departments, and a further assessment of the funding necessary to provide the community protections required for the areas served by the volunteer companies and departments, the extent to which those needs are being met, the extent to which they are not being met, and recommendations of sources of funds to meet additional needs and the amounts needed, if any;

    (2) An assessment of the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for the volunteer companies and departments and recommendations for any actions that may be undertaken by the volunteer companies and departments and others to reduce those costs;

    (3) An assessment of the causes of any decline in recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters and recommendations for improvements in this area, including any recommendations for incentives that have a demonstrated record of significant increases in recruitment and retention as well as recommendations of sources of funds to provide those incentives, if funds are necessary;

    (4) An assessment of the level of financial accountability that should be required of volunteer companies and departments in order to provide the Legislature the information necessary to target future funding for their activities based upon the safety and fire protection needs of the various areas of the state;

    (5) An assessment of the comparative levels of funding for volunteer companies and departments provided by counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions and the means by which that funding is provided, including identification of those which contribute little or no funding to the volunteer companies and departments within their jurisdictions, together with recommendations for increasing those levels of contributions;

    (6) An assessment of the comparative levels of funding for volunteer companies and departments provided by their own efforts, and the means by which that funding is provided, including identification of those which provide little or no funding through their own efforts, together with recommendations for increasing these sources of funding;

    (7) An assessment of the comparative economic and other benefits provided by the various volunteer companies and departments to their particular counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions, as well as to citizens of the local communities they serve;

    (8) Other assessments and recommendations which the State Fire Marshal deems appropriate in the circumstances.

    (d) Upon the conclusion of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the provisions of this section shall expire and be of no further force and effect and the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund shall be closed. Upon closure of the fund, from any balances therein remaining, the state auditor shall first, to the extent available, transfer to the Fire Protection Fund an amount equal to the aggregate of funds deposited into the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund during the fiscal years ending June 30, 2012, 2013 and 2014 pursuant to subsection (a) of this section that would otherwise have been required to be deposited into the Fire Protection Fund, and any balances thereafter remaining in the Volunteer Fire Department Workers’ Compensation Premium Subsidy Fund shall expire to the general revenue fund of the state.

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