GOP Attorneys General Pressing NAAG to Return $280 Million

A dozen Republican state attorneys general are fed up with what they view as the leftward drift and self-dealing of their nonpartisan national association and are asking the organization to change its ways and return roughly $280 million in assets to the states.

The National Association of Attorneys General was created in 1907 as a bipartisan forum for all state and territory attorneys general. Over the last year, several of the group’s Republican members have asserted that NAAG has become a partisan litigation machine that improperly benefits from the many tort settlements it helps to engineer.

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West Virginia Legislature Sends Sweeping Pro-Life Bill to Governor’s Desk

The West Virginia legislature approved a sweeping measure Tuesday that would allow abortion only in cases of medical emergencies, rape, and incest.

The bill (HB 302) passed in the state Senate, 22-7 and the state House, 77-17, and has been sent to the desk of Governor Jim Justice (R-WV).

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30 Months into the COVID-19 Pandemic, at Least a Dozen States Are Under ‘Emergency’ Orders

In October 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court stripped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of the unilateral powers she was using when she declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer had been using a 1945 law – which was prompted by a three-day race riot in Detroit three years earlier – that had no sunset provision in it and didn’t require approval by the state legislature.

In May 2021, Whitmer told a news agency that if she still had that 1945 state-of-emergency law, she would use those powers, but not for anything related to a pandemic.

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West Virginia’s Republican Senator Saves Its Coal Industry

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia may be saving her state’s coal industry after the Senate Democrats’ climate bill, backed by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, threatened to place new regulations on coal.

Manchin’s agreement included a provision that explicitly authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further regulate coal production under a variety of legal provisions that could have rendered the recent Supreme Court rulings, which stated that Congress must clearly authorize the agency’s actions, irrelevant. However, Capito asserted that the authorization did not comply with budget reconciliation rules on the Senate floor on Sunday, leading the Senate parliamentarian to eliminate the provision, according to a press release.

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Commentary: One State Went from Bottom to Top in Education Choice and Innovation

West Virginia has experienced a dramatic expansion of educational freedom over the past year, from the state legislature passing a near-universal Education Savings Account (ESA) program, called the Hope Scholarship, to loosening state compulsory school attendance laws for participants of learning pods and microschools.

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21 States Join Lawsuit to End Federal Mask Mandate on Airplanes, Public Transportation

Twenty-one states have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continued mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are leading the effort. Moody filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida along with 20 other attorneys general. DeSantis said the mask mandate was misguided and heavy-handed.

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Commentary: In West Virginia, Carpetbagger Alex Mooney Meets His Match

When we last checked in with U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), evidence of his misuse of campaign funds had been referred to the House Ethics Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

As American Greatness has reported, Mooney’s congressional campaign used campaign money to pay for the congressman’s personal expenses, including $3,475 in meals from Chick-fil-A and other fast-food restaurants, two vacation trips to resorts in West Virginia, and $17,250 in gift card purchases from a Catholic Church gift shop. He has repaid more than $12,000 of a disputed $40,115 as a result of the OCE investigation.

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Sixteen States File New Lawsuit Against Federal COVID Vaccination Mandate

Sixteen states again are challenging a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers who work at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Friday’s filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana comes after the issuance of final guidance on the mandate from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), arguing the guidance is an action that is reviewable.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 vote Jan. 13 against the original Louisiana challenge to the mandate and a similar Missouri filing.

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In West Virginia, the Enhanced Child Tax Credit’s Lapse Cuts Deep

As millions of families across the country grapple with the fact that the expanded child tax credit could lapse for months, if not permanently, those in few states stand to hurt more than those in West Virginia.

The monthly credit, amounting to as much as $300 per child, has been a lifeline to many across the state, which ranks 49th out of 50 in average income. The expansion, adopted in March as part of the coronavirus relief package, has especially helped those earning the lowest, many of whom were once partially or completely excluded from receiving it because their incomes were too low to qualify.

West Virginia had already struggled as coal mining declined and drug overdose deaths rose, but after being decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, economic recession that resulted and subsequent inflation as the state recovered, residents said that the expanded payments provided a sense of financial security when so much seemed uncertain.

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Scientists Believe Meteor Exploded over Pittsburgh

aerial view of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Scientists believe a meteor exploded early New Year’s Day over Pittsburgh, causing mysterious loud noises and vibrations that shook the city.

“The loud explosion heard over SW PA earlier may have been a meteor explosion,” the U.S. National Weather Service tweeted Saturday, posting an image showing a flash of light it claimed was “not associated with lightning.”

“No confirmation, but this is the most likely explanation at this time,” the agency said.

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Manchin Reportedly Told the White House He Supports a Billionaire Tax

Joe Biden and Joe Manchin

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told the White House last week that he was willing to endorse some type of billionaire tax in President Joe Biden’s domestic spending package before coming out against it days later, The Washington Post reported.

Manchin said that a tax on billionaires’ wealth could be a means to pay for the package, according to the Post, citing three people familiar with his offer to the White House. The outlet reported that it was unclear whether Manchin provided an estimate of how much money the provision would raise.

Programs in Manchin’s $1.8 trillion counteroffer included universal pre-K for ten years, expansions to the Affordable Care Act and billions of dollars for climate change mitigation measures, according to the Post, but it did not include the child tax credit, which many Democrats have touted as one of the single biggest policy achievements of the year.

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Top Republicans Pressure Manchin to Switch Parties

Republicans are upping their calls for West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to switch parties after he said he would not vote for President Joe Biden’s domestic spending bill.

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told Nexstar that he texted Manchin to encourage him to switch after he came out as a “no,” telling him, “Joe, if [Democrats] don’t want you we do.”

While Cornyn said he did not get a response, he said that Manchin switching would be “the greatest Christmas present I can think of.”

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Manchin Says He Won’t Vote for Mass Spending, Climate Bill, Dealing Blow to Biden

Senator Joe Manchin speaking

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., declared Sunday he won’t vote for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, saying he feared the bill’s mass spending and climate provisions may worsen inflation.

“This is a no,” Manchin told Fox News Sunday, “I have tried everything I know to do.”

The West Virginia Democrat’s decision all but dooms Biden’s signature legislation in an evenly divided Senate.

Manchin said he was concerned about the continuing effects of the pandemic, inflation, and geopolitical unrest. His decision came after an intense lobbying campaign by the president and fellow Democrats failed to change his mind.

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