CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he wants to talk with members of the House of Delegates about what to do with funding received as part of the state’s settlement with McKesson Corporation.
Morrisey told MetroNews the state Legislature has the power to decide how to spend the monies; his response comes after a bipartisan coalition asked him to hold all related funds so the Legislature can decide the best actions.
“Patrick Morrisey wants to ensure that monies are returned to the Legislature to address the problem of substance abuse. There is no debate about whether monies should be returned,” the state Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.
“The AG believes the vast bulk of available resources should be for treatment and the monies prioritized on the basis of need. That’s a broader question for the Legislature to decide. They control the power of the purse. The AG is eager to have a discussion with the leadership of both Houses and rank and file members to ensure monies are spent wisely.”
The state will receive $37 million as part of a settlement with McKesson. The group of lawmakers said Monday the funds should be appropriated for efforts addressing the state’s opioid crisis.
Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” the money should go toward treatment services, prevention efforts and law enforcement.
“It all needs to go to what the settlement was meant for: the drug problem,” he said. “If the attorney general is committed to that, that’s great. Then we’ve gotten somewhere.”
Delegate Andrew Robinson, D-Kanawha, co-signed a letter with Delegate Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette, in May asking Morrisey to use the settlement monies for treatment services.
“If he’s dedicated to sending all that money back to the Legislature, then we have an agreement and we can move forward,” he said of Morrisey/
Robinson’s office in the state Capitol is near Morrisey’s office; Robinson said he hasn’t heard back from the May request.
“That’s what gives me worry,” he said. “Maybe, out in the media and out in public we have that agreement, we don’t have that agreement behind closed doors.”