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Attorney General Criticizes House Bill As Unconstitutional

Reported: Feb. 28, 2014 6:58 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 28, 2014 7:18 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - Of the 96 delegates who voted on the Attorney General Ethics and Accountability Act, all 52 democrats present voted yes. All 44 republicans pushing the button said no.

"(HB) 490 is unconstitutional and this is just a purely partisan attack on me personally and the office of attorney general" Republican Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia's Attorney General said. "The most important thing, though, is that this bill would literally compromise the office of attorney general's ability to do basic functions."

The bill would force the attorney general put any money he wins or recovers into the general revenue fund, require the office's contracts be approved by the secretary of state and would specify how special assistants are hired.

But its passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee is far from a sure thing.

"I don't believe there is support in the senate for the bill as it is now," Senator Daniel Hall, Wyoming County democrat said. "I suspect if it does come out it will come out a little different. Maybe significantly different."

Morrisey says he has spoken with Senate Judiciary Chair Corey Palumbo about the bill. He says one of its most serious flaws is that it would be devastating to the Consumer Protection Division.

"This bill would gut consumer protection," Morrisey said. "Because quite frankly we would only receive money for consumer protection when we win a case. It doesn't take long to think through why that model is flawed because we conduct many investigations and do a lot of educational work that never gets compensated from court cases.



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