A bill that could have moved the quasi-public Injured Workers Insurance Fund further from the cash-strapped state’s coffers quietly met its end Monday night in the House of Delegates.
Originally, the bill fit in with the governor’s budget proposal – the gov wanted to take $20 million from IWIF to help balance his budget and IWIF in turn wanted the $20 million to count as a repayment of the state’s initial investment in the insurer more than 90 years ago and a prepayment of the premium tax it would have to pay.
But the General Assembly sliced the proposed transfer from the budget and the companion legislation became largely moot. Del. Dereck Davis, chairman of the Economic Matters Committee, said he wanted to water the bill down to a study of how to move IWIF further from state control. The fund is a quasi-state agency and is overseen by a nine-member board appointed by the governor.
Sen. Thomas M. “Mac” Middleton, chairman of the Finance Committee, acquiesced to a study proposal on some counts, but wanted to change the name of IWIF to the Chesapeake Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. and make its employees exempt from state-mandated furloughs.
Middleton’s bill passed the Senate, but in the tail end of the House’s session last night, Davis asked that the bill be special ordered – or taken up later – effectively sending out into the legislative ether, not to be voted on by the House.