New Year's resolutions for our state Legislature

By The West Virginia Record | Jan 15, 2015

We're barely halfway through January, but it's a safe bet that most of the West Virginians self-deluding enough to make New Year's resolutions have already broken them – unless they resolved not to keep their resolutions, or not to make them in the first place.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is proving to be one of those rare individuals who does keep resolutions.

When he ran for office in 2013, Morrisey outlined his resolutions for the coming year, which consisted, essentially, of promises to do everything differently from the way it was being done by the man he hoped to replace: his predecessor, Darrell McGraw. Few candidates have ever had a better negative example not to follow.

Lo and behold, as 2014 progressed, Morrisey the officeholder proceeded to do just what Morrisey the office seeker had promised.

Before the year was half over, he announced that a multimillion-dollar settlement had been reached with GlaxoSmithKline, that the federal government had been apprised of the terms and made no claim against the settlement money, that the bulk of the funds would be returned to the state, and that a policy Morrisey had instituted for compensating outside counsel had resulted in a savings of nearly $3 million.

What a stark contrast to the previous 20 years!

Morrisey would like to see some of the changes he's made in the state attorney general's office codified into law, and he's got other ideas for improving state government. What it all amounts to is an informal list of New Year's resolutions for our state Legislature:

  1. Transparent outside counsel policy

  2. Settlement funds policy (if unencumbered, return to state)

  3. Ban on taxpayer-funded, election-year ads promoting incumbents

  4. Regular audits of all state agencies, departments, divisions, and offices

  5. Term limits for state attorney general

  6. Legal reforms regarding calculation of liability, added protection for religious liberties, state relationship with EPA, etc.

  7. Tax reform

Great resolutions! Now let's follow through on them.

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