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; and providing additional funding from excess insurance premium taxes.
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 February 1, 2015, 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.
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, 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.