It’s not often that we feel the need to contact you between weekly Capital Eye updates, but today it feels imperative. There are two bills we need you to take urgent action on now!
First, the West Virginia Legislature is considering a bipartisan bill, HB 4543, that would cap copays for life-saving insulin at $25 for a 30-day supply. Currently, the cost of insurance co-payments for insulin can exceed $600 per month. The average price of insulin nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, and has continued to rise. As many as 1 in 4 diabetics, including many with insurance, have started rationing their insulin because of the higher prices. Rationing insulin can result in strokes, comas or even death.
HB 4543 would cap co-pays for everyone with private insurance or PEIA. It’s gotten great support from Republicans like Delegates Jordan Hill, Evan Worrell and Matthew Rohrbach as well as Democrats like Delegates Barbara Evans Fleishauer, Mick Bates and Cody Thompson. But now Big Pharma is sending its lobbyists to stop the bill, and it’s losing support.
While pharmaceutical companies make sky-high profits on an drug that’s been around for decades, West Virginians are paying the price. Tell your legislators to choose people over profit and support HB 4543!
Next up — HB 4615 “West Virginia Critical Infrastructure Protection Act” is an ALEC bill aimed at raising criminal and civil penalties for trespassing, actual damage and tampering, and conspiracy to peacefully protest near any of these infrastructures.
The bill is built on intimidation, but peaceful protest is a hallmark of democracy — we have the right to voice our concern, oppose the actions of industry and our government, and support our ideals. It is embedded in the history of our country from the Boston Tea Party to the Blackjewel miner‘s occupation.
Our current laws on trespassing and vandalism are adequate and ALREADY encompass all “critical infrastructure.” HB 4615 is an unconstitutional violation our first amendment right to protest, and of the eighth amendment imposing excessive fines meant to intimidate and silence.
We have a chance on Monday morning to share our concerns, and tell Delegates that we will not be silenced by industry and will stand up for labor, civil rights, and environmental justice. Join us to voice your opinion for the right to peaceful assembly in West Virginia, before it’s too late!
What: Public Hearing on HB 4615
When: Monday, February 10th | 8:30AM
Where: House Chamber