The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

November 9, 2012

New W.Va. AG seeks role in state’s policy decisions

CHARLESTON — As West Virginia’s incoming attorney general, Republican Patrick Morrisey says he wants a say in how the state operates Medicaid and plans to play a role in whether it follows the recently upheld federal health care law.

Morrisey told reporters and supporters Thursday at a state Capitol press conference that he will also refocus his office’s resources on regulations, vowing to challenge those that he concludes harm West Virginia.

While stressing that he wishes to work alongside Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, Morrisey also said that the attorney general can act independently in some of these areas.

“Depending on the issue involved we could technically go forward on our own, but the preference will be to ensure that the governor is going to join us,” Morrisey said. “We will review all federal regulations that we think have had an effect on the state of West Virginia and we will not be shy about saying what we think about those regulations.”

The 44-year-old Eastern Panhandle lawyer defeated Attorney General Darrell McGraw, a five-term Democrat, in Tuesday’s election by 2.5 percent of the vote. West Virginia last had a Republican attorney general in 1933. Morrisey thanked McGraw for his decades of public service, but vowed to end several of McGraw’s practices that he attacked during their race.

“I’m going to ban the use of trinkets with my name on it,” Morrisey declared to applause. He also said he will keep his name out of any office ads or public service announcements that run within six months before an election.

Morrisey promised to hire outside lawyers only through competitive bids and hand over all court judgments or settlements to the Legislature.

Morrisey previously practiced health care law with a Washington, D.C., firm, and was an aide and lawyer for GOP members of Congress and committees. A foe of the federal health care overhaul, he made it and President Barack Obama — who received less than 36 percent of the West Virginia vote Tuesday — major targets of his campaign.

“I’m going to work hard to try to ensure that those bad parts of ‘Obamacare’ don’t go into effect,” Morrisey said. He also said he plans to tell Tomblin and his health officials that, “I think West Virginia should be more forceful in pushing back on these pieces of ‘Obamacare.’”

Concerning Medicaid, Morrisey said he plans to share his health care background with the governor. Rising health care costs have increased the program’s burden on the annual state budget. Tomblin is also weighing whether to expand its coverage, as called for by the federal health care law but ruled non-mandatory by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“That’s an issue that rests within the governor and the Legislature to decide,” Morrisey said. “But I’d like to be part of that discussion, and plan to be part of that discussion, because I think West Virginia would benefit from someone who’s spent a lot of years focusing on health care issues.”

Morrisey said the office audit will review office staff, spending and resources. He also addressed concerns raised by McGraw supporters that he will roll back enforcement of consumer protection laws, a major focus of the Democrat’s tenure.

“I want to be clear, I don’t come into this position and pre-judge how individuals are performing their jobs,” Morrisey said. “I know that there’s been a lot of good work done by this attorney general’s office, some in the area of consumer protection. So I’m not going to throw the whole baby out with the bath water.”

But Morrisey also said a top priority is “creating a more favorable, a more predictable and a stable business environment.”

Thursday’s audience included several GOP operatives who worked on the campaign of Bill Maloney, the Republican who lost to Tomblin on Tuesday. Also on hand were top officials from the West Virginia Coal Association, which endorsed Tomblin’s re-election. They applauded Morrisey’s pledge to fight federal coal-related regulations.

Morrisey faulted the state for not joining a lawsuit against one such rule, meant to reduce downwind pollution from power plants, and said it hasn’t done enough to fight for permits needed by one of West Virginia’s largest mountaintop removal mines.

“West Virginia needs to be stronger in these areas,” Morrisey said. “Based upon the conversation that I had with Gov. Tomblin’s chief of staff, I think that we can develop a collaborative relationship, and that is my goal. I am not going to be someone who takes pot-shots at leaders of the opposing parties because the fact is we need to work together and we may disagree about a couple of things.”

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

  • Phares looks forward to retirement

    James Phares looked forward to the challenge and opportunity to help make a difference in a state education system under fire when he was hired in late 2012 as West Virginia’s schools superintendent.
    After 18 months, Phares will be stepping down on June 30 — which he said was set long ago as the day at age 61 that he’d walk with his wife into retirement.

    April 11, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads