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Morrisey’s office seeks county meeting records

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has directed county commissions across the state to turn over meeting minutes, but Morrisey refuses to explain the reason for the inquiry.

A Morrisey aide contacted at least 10 county commission offices this week, seeking copies of minutes of the each commission’s past four meetings, said Vivian Parsons, executive director of the County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia. Minutes describe, in writing, the events of a meeting and list attendees.

Parsons said Morrisey’s directive has left county commission “folks on edge.” Morrisey’s office has given county officials just two days to submit the records. Parsons called his office Thursday for an explanation.

“I was told only that nothing was wrong, and there was no cause for concern from the counties,” Parsons said. “All I got was, ‘No, nothing is wrong, nothing for counties to worry about.’”

Morrisey’s office would not comment on the document request Thursday.

Several county administrators speculated that Morrisey wants to find out how many of West Virginia’s 55 counties open their meetings with a prayer.

Earlier this week, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the Parkersburg City Council, asking the council to stop reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the start of meetings. Other national groups have recently contacted some county commissions in West Virginia about their prayer practices…

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