Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is facing some criticism after the Charleston Gazette-Mail ran an article saying he paid an outside law firm $600,000 more than his policy on paying legal fees dictates.
Still, Morrisey told lawmakers last week his policy has saved West Virginians 300 thousand dollars since its implementation in 2013. Lawmakers are now trying to make that policy law.
When Attorney General Patrick Morrisey took office, he put a new policy in place to govern how the state should hire outside counsel when his office needs help on a case. The policy implemented a bidding process and also capped the legal fees those outside attorneys can collect. Members of the House of Delegates are looking to turn his policies into law with House Bill 4007.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott says the law simply makes the process of hiring outside counsel to represent the state clearer for the Attorney General’s Office in the future.
“It was felt that it made sense that since the Attorney General went to a great deal of trouble to come up with a process that’s formalized now, but it could change with the next Attorney General. And because of the criticisms in the past, as to how that was handled and how loosely it was handled, and how it resulted in what a lot of people thought was excessive compensation that ordinarily would’ve been state money go to outside council; it was felt it was a good idea to put that process in the law, so it would apply in all future, to all future Attorney Generals,” Shott explained.
House Bill 4007 passed out of the House 96 to 1.
Eight more bills were read on the House floor Monday, including House Bill 4005, repealing the state’s prevailing wage rate, which will be up for a vote on Wednesday.