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Short takes: West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey settles suit the right way

Short takes

State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced this week reaching an out-of-court settlement with GlaxoSmithKline over the pharmaceutical company’s marketing campaign to promote the diabetic drugs Avandia, Avandamet and Avandaryl.

His lawsuit had alleged that the company failed to disclose the possible side effects of these medications.

Morrisey sued on behalf of the Public Employees Insurance Agency and the state’s Medicaid program, which is similar to the lawsuit that was used to sue tobacco companies. The idea was smoking increased Medicaid expenses.

But unlike the tobacco settlement, which was poured into other coffers. Morrisey said the PEIA will collect $10.6 million, $3.7 million goes to the state Medicaid program, $3.1 million goes to his office’s Consumer Protection fund and $4.6 million goes to the lawyers who handled the case, or roughly 20 percent of the settlement.

This is how such settlements should be handled. If the attorney general sues on behalf of an agency, the agency should get the money, minus legal fees.

Morrisey’s has been a welcome change to that office.

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Understandably, many West Virginians worry about the impact the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions will have on the coal industry.

But what about all the other industries that rely on cheap energy? Matt Letourneau of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Institute said the proposed changes by the Environmental Protection Agency will hit the entire nation.

“We know electricity prices are going to go up, we know there’s going to be an impact on GDP, based on the fact that you’re going to have to rebuild a lot of your infrastructure, and that’s going to prevent capital from going elsewhere,” Letourneau told the state Manufacturers Association Leadership Summit,

The price may be big, but the gains will be small. Less than one third of carbon dioxide emissions come from the production of electricity, according to the very same EPA.

We need a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis before going through with this plan.

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Republican voters in Virginia shocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by nominating economics professor David Brat instead of Cantor, who sought an eighth term as their congressman.

While Brat ran on economics and as an opponent to changing immigration laws, there was something bigger behind Cantor’s overwhelming defeat.

“Was immigration an issue? Yes. Was it the deciding factor to the tune of 11 percent? Not no, hell no. It’s a fairy tale,” Virginia Democratic strategist Dave Saunders told Time magazine. “People talk. And they talk about Eric Cantor. `Where is he?’ His constituent services suck. He was never in the district. And when he was in the district and he went out, he had an entourage with him. He was out gallivanting all over the country being a big deal and this is a lesson.”

People in Washington often describe a congressional or senatorial seat as Cantor’s seat, Kennedy’s seat or whoever the incumbent may be. But these seats belong to the voters, not the incumbent who is merely a temporary employee who represents the district or the state.

On Tuesday, Cantor learned just how temporary he is.


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