— Does the attorney general have an obligation to be proactive or reactive to possible legal issues that affect residents, the legislature and the executive branch? Please explain why or why not.
MORRISEY: The attorney general does have the duty to be proactive in educating the public about the nature of the laws and how complex they are. The object is to prevent law breaking from occurring before there are actual violations of law. So, as attorney general, I will put a premium on educating consumers, but also businesses to ensure they have the model compliance plans in place to avoid some of these stumbles that have caused some companies to get into trouble. The fact is, you want to have a proactive voice working with individuals and companies so that people understand the laws and they can ultimately comply with the laws. At the same time, if people are going to commit wrong doing, the office of attorney general will prosecute those wrong-doings very aggressively.
In what ways can the attorney general work with the legislature and executive branch to improve the perception of West Virginia’s legal climate?
MORRISEY: This has to be a top priority for the next attorney general. The fact is the office of attorney general possesses broad powers to improve the business climate in the state. First, the attorney general’s office can be a much more proactive office challenging federal regulations that impairs our way of life here in the state of West Virginia. One positive signal we could send to businesses here in the state is to have an attorney general willing to challenge EPA regulations and other regulations that, really, infringe on our sovereignty.
As attorney general, I will aggressively challenge the EPA whenever they’re wrong, regardless of who’s sitting in the White House. That’s absolutely essential. After we review the types of regulations that we’re going to challenge we’ll also look at the existing regulations that are in place in the state. We’ll try to see which regulations make sense and which ones may need to be modified.
I’ll take a list of recommendations to the Legislature and to the Governor as to what I think should be changed to improve the business climate here in the state. There will also be instances through the office of the attorney general, I will be able to issue legal opinions defining how some of those regulations will operate. All of those collectively could make a dramatic difference in the business and legal climate here in the state of West Virginia. And, that’s one of the major reasons why I’m running. The fact is, West Virginia is last in most of the economic indicators that matter; and, we have to do a much better job improving that. I believe the current incumbent has been a big part of this problem and you would see a dramatic difference in my approach to keep businesses here in the state and to lure businesses into the state verses the incumbent who acts in an arbitrary manner and chases businesses out, sometimes without a specific application to the rule of law.
In what legal area, within the scope of the attorney general’s office, do you think West Virginia residents need the most assistance/representation? Please explain.