West Virginia Rejects False Claims Legislation

The West Virginia House of Delegates has refused to adopt false claims legislation for the state.

The Government Fraud Prevention Act, previously known as the False Claims and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014, was intended to uncover fraud against the state, would have given the West Virginia Attorney General the power to investigate such activity and would have permitted individuals to bring suit against anyone who knowingly caused the state to pay a false claim.

Opponents of the bill expressed concern that enactment would have a negative impact on job growth because it would make small businesses reluctant to come to the state. House Delegate John Shott stated that the businesses community has been “open, hostile and well-organized” in its response to the proposed act. According to House Delegate Paul Espinosa, the legislation was duplicative because fraud prevention laws already exist.

Supporters of the bill, on the other hand, stated that the monetary compensation produced by the act would be funneled back into the economy and could help balance the budget. House Delegate John B. McCuskey responded that while this was possible, it was not a guarantee.

In the end, by a small margin, West Virginia’s proposed false claims act was voted down.

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