By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey spoke at several locations during a recent visit to Tucker County including one stop at the Tucker County Courthouse in Parsons, West Virginia. During this visit Morrisey spoke to local officials and business owners.
Morrisey explained to the audience members that in his ten years as Attorney General the office has never had as many ongoing cases as they do now. He continued by updating on three top cases the Attorney General’s office is currently working on in his office. Morrisey said, “I am glad many people are here today so we can chat a little bit about the opioid settlements and the structure of the organization that will house the settlements that will be really critical for Tucker County and for the state as a whole. So, we will talk a little bit about opioids and the opioid settlements. We will talk a little bit about our role defending state law and also some of the other work we do or charged to do for the state in terms of disability fraud, Medicaid fraud, etc. And then we will also talk a little bit about the Federal litigation that we are involved in because that absolutely impacts Tucker County.”
Morrisey went on to say, “From a personal perspective I am a big believer that for West Virginia to move to the next level we need to be strong in a lot of key areas to give the best educational system possible. That to me means good private sector options from the best and robust public schools.”
After mentioning a book about the northwest ordinances where people would go to get land in Ohio and were guaranteed free public schools he recently read Morrisey said, “I take that seriously. We need to have very strong public schools in the state of West Virginia. I am hopeful that our successful defense of the Hope Scholarship will make our system more competitive, have better options in the private sectors for families who need that option, but then also we have to picture that our public are the best around. That is how we are going to help move more to our great state, and we need more people to move to the great state of West Virginia.”
In reference to Amendment 2 Morrisey said, “Our job is to defend the state laws. So, whether constitutional amendments pass or fall I am going to be in the position of accessing what happens. We are going to have to step up and openly defend it.”
As a way of defending the state the Attorney General’s office sued the National Treasurer over the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money because of the many constraints placed on the states over the spending clause. Morrisey said, “They said West Virginia can not either directly or indirectly use any money for tax cuts. They also said our revenue can not be lower through those tax cuts. I have never seen spending provisions like that.”
Morrisey explained he had reached out to the Treasure department to know exactly what the rules were and what they meant but received no response. He went to court and sued because he did not want West Virginia “holding the bag” Morrisey said, “West Virginia gets $1.25 billion of the ARPA and that is important for our state.” If Morrisey and his office wins the case that could mean $500 million to $1 billion difference allocated to the state and allow the state to do a broader comprehensive tax cutting.
Telecommunications providers are also being held accountable for their services in the state. Morrisey said he could not go into much detail at the moment but to know that his office is working to ensure that broadband providers are actually providing what they advertise.
Morrisey touched on many other subjects such as quality of the workforce and how the opioid epidemic is having an impact on it, infrastructures and anti-trust laws, disability fraud, elderly abuse and sticking up for those them so they are not left vulnerable and protecting West Virginia from federal overreach.