Legislators broke with precedent this session by sweeping about $7.5 million out of an attorney general's account for consumer protection settlement funds (something they never dared when Darrell McGraw was A.G.) There's still about $12 million in the account, and legislative leaders reportedly told Patrick Morrisey they'd take that, too, if he protested too much.
(Morrisey also got about $1.86 million of that total re-appropriated back to his office for technology upgrades, salaries, etc.)
Speaking of Morrisey, give kudos where they are due for his Solomon-like analysis of the West Virginia University sports' media rights imbroglio.
Morrisey cut through a lot of clutter in getting to the point that WVU is selling its media rights, not buying anything -- and therefore, following procurement rules and bidding out the contract was a nicety, not a legal requirement.
WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck could well have picked up the phone and asked IMG to make their best offer for the tier 3 rights, but opted to put the rights up for bid. Botched though it may have been, re-bidding almost certainly will bring the same outcome.
One of the ongoing storylines of the 2013 session was Senate Majority Leader John Unger's repeated concerns over the Legislature's inability to control the state Supreme Court budget, particularly with measures in the governor's prison overcrowding bill to give additional oversight on community supervision programs for ex-inmates, as well as on magistrate pay raises, which are funded out of the Supreme Court budget.
Interestingly, although the Supreme Court -- whose budget covers all court systems in the state -- constitutionally was not bound by Gov. Tomblin's 7.5 percent spending cut for state agencies, this month the court notified the governor it has reduced its 2013-14 budget by $4 million, returning that money to general revenue.
Meanwhile, condolences to the senator on the death of his mother.
Finally, one mystery solved. ... There has been a Caterpillar generator at the north circle of the Capitol since last summer. (I initially thought it was for Multifest last August.)
Turns out it's being used by the auditor's office to help keep the Financial Information Management System computers running in the event of a power outage. (Actually, according to Justin Southern in the auditor's office, the computers have backup power -- the generator is to keep air-conditioning operating in the computer room.)
However, that eyesore could be gone later this summer, with requests for bids out for an uninterruptible battery power supply to replace the generator.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.