The West Virginia House of Delegates voted against the Government Fraud and Prevention Act, a state version of the federal False Claims Act. The bill would have permitted whistleblowers to file lawsuits against businesses that allegedly submitted false invoices to state and federal programs.
Opponents of the bill said it would hurt job creation in the state, Legal Newsline reports:
Critics said the bill also sent the wrong message to the business community and would encourage “sue-and-settle” litigation that benefitted only plaintiffs lawyers and the whistleblowers they would represent.
On Tuesday, the debate over the bill grew heated.
One opponent of the bill took offense that seniors, fire departments, and secondary road repairs were included in the legislation. “I’m fed up with having this group of individuals drug into every piece of bad legislation we try to pass,” he said.
“This bill is a way to create plaintiffs,” another opponent of the bill testified. “This is not a way to fix our state’s budget problems.”