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WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey presents budget to Senate committee

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey presented the Senate Finance Committee with his office's budget Jan. 16.

Morrisey asked legislators for an additional $26,000 annually for upgrades to technology -- something he told them needed upgraded during his budget presentation last year.

He said although the office of the Attorney General would be asking for he additional money, it would be able to ensure a minimum of $5 million to come back to the Legislature.

He said the office has saved the state $1.5 million from July through December due to internal changes.

"Our office helped (return) $7.9 million back to state Legislature," Morrisey said.

He also said the AG's office received more cuts than any other constitutional office.

The attorney general said during the water crisis that occurred Jan. 9, his office answered 150 calls on price gouging while responding and filing 74 of those claims.

Morrisey said he believes the price gouging came to a quick stop because his office approached the problem aggressively.

"I'm not going to tolerate price gouging on my watch," Morrisey said. "We want to ensure the people of West Virginia know we are going to get to the bottom of what happens, why it happens (and) take steps to ensure it never happens again."

He said although a lot of the office's energy has been focused on the water crisis, it is investigating several other laws including one regarding abortion.

Morrisey discussed the details of a law on abortion, brought up by Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha.

The attorney general said he simply enforces the law, and the law is that abortions in the state can be performed up until birth.

"Currently West Virginia permits abortions to be performed up until birth, not many people realize that, when you have individuals that may perform abortions up to birth -- that raises safety concerns," Morrisey said.

Well said he believed Morrisey was misleading the public on the actual law and investigations coming out of the attorney general's office.

"I'm focusing on the law, the reality is there's no arguing it is permitted up to birth," Morrisey said. "The Legislature makes the decisions, we're going to make sure we enforce all law vigorously whether we agree with them or not."

Morrisey and his office are currently investigating claims that abortion clinics are not regulated enough and he said they will make sure they are following state laws as such.