Morrisey to focus on 17-point plan - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Morrisey to focus on 17-point plan

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The state's newest top lawyer told attendees at a Nov. 8 news conference he will follow through with his 17-point plan in the first few months he is in office.

Patrick Morrisey, the state's first Republican attorney general in 80 years, beat incumbent Democrat Darrell McGraw in the Nov. 6 election. McGraw had served in that position for 20 years and was seeking his sixth four-year term.

Morrisey, a Harpers Ferry health care lawyer, captured 51 percent of the votes while McGraw received 49 percent, according to unofficial results.

"We want to focus on our 17-point plan. … You so often hear political campaign proposals and worry about them enacting them. You don't have to worry about that with me," he said.

Morrisey's 17-point plan consists of the following:

Eliminating trinkets — "We want to ban the use of trinkets with my name on it," Morrisey said. "This job is about the people, not putting yourself first."

Sending settlement money back to the Legislature and taxpayers — Morrisey would institute a policy to return future lawsuit settlement monies back to the state Legislature.

Ending taxpayer-funded campaigns — Morrisey would prohibit the use of broad-based office advertising for at least six months prior to an election.

The use of competitive bidding for hiring outside counsel — Morrisey would initiate a competitive bidding policy for how the attorney general's office hires outside counsel at a reasonable price. He contends such a system would reduce political influences and restore integrity to the office.

Conducting a full-scale audit of past attorney general's office expenditures — Morrisey said he wants to ensure the state spends its money wisely and that appropriate policies and procedures govern employee conduct. The audit will reprioritize resources to areas that need them most and ensure employees "are acting in a manner consistent with the highest ethical standards."

Collaborating with the Legislature to enact ethics reform — All future attorneys general should abide by basic principles of ethics and the state constitution, Morrisey said.

Taking on the Environmental Protection Agency — Morrisey would review all lawsuits pending by other state attorneys general and, after consulting with the governor and Legislature, determine which lawsuits the state of West Virginia should join against the federal government. The top priority would be on EPA litigation.

Creating an Office of Federalism and Freedom — This office would refocus some of the attorney general's office priorities on challenging federal policies that have a tenuous nexus to law or the U.S. or state constitutions.

Holding a jobs summit — This summit would identify any overreaching regulations that impair business growth in the state.

Addressing Medicaid — Morrisey said he would work with the governor and Legislature to help address the budget shortfall facing the program and make recommendation, through legal counseling, as to how the state can meet its financial challenges while advancing new strategies to improve health care.

Cracking down on Medicaid fraud — Morrisey would initiate a close review of Medicaid eligibility to ensure government resources are being appropriated to those who need them most.

Fighting prescription drug abuse — Morrisey would request new prosecutorial authority from the Legislature to help pursue criminals who help facilitate the drug problem across the state.

Prosecuting election fraud — As attorney general, Morrisey said he would request the Legislature clarify the roles of attorney general and secretary of state so the attorney general gains the authority to prosecute violations of ethics and election fraud, and so the attorney general plays a more active role in election law policy.

Educating West Virginians on health care — Morrisey said he would work with the Department of Health and Human Resources to conduct consumer education forums about Medicaid, Medicare enrollment issues and other existing health care programs.