CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would rein in the authority of state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is moving in the House of Delegates with just more than two weeks left in the 2014 Regular Legislative Session.

The Attorney General Ethics and Accountability Act, HB 4490, was scheduled to be taken up on the House floor on second reading, meaning possible amendments, on Thursday and, if approved, could advance out of the House before the end of the week.

As proposed, that bill would establish new ethics rules for the attorney general, require the attorney general to turn over any money won through litigation to the state’s general revenue fund, and prohibit the attorney general from getting involved in lawsuits unless the governor, house speaker and senate president approve.

House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) said the bill is about the operations of the Office of Attorney General in the long term.

“Going forward, there will be successors to Patrick Morrisey and they want to make sure that you don’t get a rogue attorney general in that office that goes off half-cocked on whatever political soapbox they want to pursue,” he said.

Morrisey said he does not understand why the House is targeting his office only and sent a letter to Miley on Tuesday raising questions about the constitutionality of the bill members of the House Judiciary Committee approved, earlier this week, with a vote along party lines.

There have been some claims House Democrats are targeting Morrisey, a Republican, for personal reasons.

“Ever since I’ve taken office, I’ve bent over backwards to reach out to people across the aisle to try to develop some consensus for the state of West Virginia,” Morrisey said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”  He said those efforts have been successful with leaders in the executive branch and the state Senate, but have struggled in the House.

“We have a lot of problems facing our state.  I think it’s important that we don’t engage in this partisanship we saw coming out of House Judiciary.  We (need) to focus on the critical challenges facing West Virginia,” said Morrisey.

In 2002, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Morrisey’s predecessor, Darrell McGraw, a Democrat, when his authority challenged.

The Supreme Court said the following: “No statute, policy, rule or practice may constitutionally operate, alone or cumulatively, to limit, reduce, transfer, or reassign the duties and powers of the Office of Attorney General in such a fashion as to prevent that office from performing its inherent constitutional functions.”

The 2014 Regular Legislative Session ends on Saturday, March 8.

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Comments

  • NCWV

    The politicians who voted for that should be investigated. Bet they all have something they don't want the AG to find.

  • Wirerowe

    Genesis of this bill
    " mr. Speaker we could lose the majority of the house in November"
    " that cannot be. What can we do"
    " blame the republicans?"
    " that is a problem all of our state elected officials are democrats"
    " sir you forgot about Morrisey"

  • Riley

    The idiot voters of West Virginia are once again to blame for putting this clown into office. I had to look again when I saw the news that this freak of nature had won office. Not that I was any fan of his predecessor. The people of West Virginia are their own worst enemies.

    • Aaron

      As bad as he is, he's better than his predecessor.

  • Pickle Barrel

    Enjoy your last year as speaker, Mr. Miley. You'll be in the minority party a year from now pulling unconstitutional stunts like this.

  • Protechcpa

    And some wonder why those of us who hope for a brighter future for the state are upset over the "majority of failure" running and ruining our homeland. Just as we cannot choose our parents, we cannot choose our native state. I will forever be a true blood West Virginian, but the conduct of the dominate party makes me ashamed of my home.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    The AG should also have to demonstrate basic math skills, say for example, knowing that liters are smaller than gallons.

    Aaaaaah, fuggetaboudit.

  • Independent View

    Certainly A. James was a clown and total embarassment to the State of WV, however, I would add to the list of "clowns" in WV politics, none other than the present Secretary of State!
    As my grandfater said thousands of times, "a man or woman that stands for nothing will fall for anything." Ms. Tennant comes out of her house each morning, wets her finger to check the political wind and runs to get out in front of the herd!
    When there is any serious discussion about eliminating political offices in WV, two immediately come to mind: eliminate the office of secretary of state which has served for decades as the launching pad for governor. Examples, Jay, Manchin and Tennant. The few and rather insignificant duties of the office could be transerred to another agency without missing a beat. However, it would derail the Democrats gravy train of providing a high-profile political office launching pad, with few real duties, but a handsome salary and benefit package for doing little. The office of SOS mimicks what was said years ago about the office of Vice-President of the U.S., "it's an inside job, with no heavy lifting."
    The other office(s) that should be eliminated are the cabinet secretaries. This state is not large enough to require these positions, that agency directors can handle. These positions are similar to the dozens of czars Obama has appointed--needless and a drain on state revenues.

  • SMOKEHOLE

    Of course these democrats never had any problem with McGraw using the office as his own personal fiefdom.

    Democrats like Miley continue to drag the people of this state through the mud.

    This is the same petty jackass that tried to prevent WVU from building a baseball field.....