Dental coverage bill, others passed on W.Va. crossover day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia lawmakers approved a bill to give Medicaid recipients dental coverage and powered through dozens of other measures as a deadline to approve their chambers’ proposals ended Wednesday.

The Capitol’s annual crossover day marks the last day one chamber can vote out their own proposals and send them to the other chamber, resulting in the passage of a flurry of bills.

In the Senate, lawmakers passed a measure to provide dental health coverage for adult Medicaid recipients, with sponsor Sen. Mike Maroney saying it will save the state money in the long run. The bill now moves to the House of Delegates.

“It’s going to help overall health of West Virginians, decrease health costs for West Virginians, it’ll help with workforce, it’ll touch every aspect,” said Maroney, a Republican from Marshall County.

On the House side, delegates passed a proposal to create a task force on reducing smoking and vaping, particularly among young people in West Virginia.

The measure comes after a state health department study called teen vaping an “ epidemic ” and found that more than a third of West Virginia high schoolers vape. An estimated 4,200 West Virginians die from tobacco-related diseases annually, according to the report.

Also, in response to the death of a Roane County football player who collapsed and died during a game last year, delegates passed a bill requiring a defibrillator at high school and middle school sporting events. School sports personnel would also be trained to use the device under the measure.

The chamber also approved a measure allowing wine stores in the state to make at-home deliveries and killed a bill that would have required car inspections every two years rather than annually.

Those bills now move to the Senate.

The legislature’s 60-day session ends Saturday, March 7.