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Attorney General Morrisey Asks Court to Stay ‘Preliminary and Injunctive Relief’ Against Hope Scholarship Act

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Tuesday filed a motion in the state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals for a stay pending appeal of the preliminary and injunctive relief recently granted against the Hope Scholarship Act.

“The lower court’s ruling undermining parents’ freedom to choose how they educate their children is legally wrong and deeply disappointing, and we are ready to appeal as soon as the lower court issues its written order confirming its ruling from nearly two weeks ago,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “In the meantime, we are urging the appellate court to stay the decision so that thousands of West Virginia families can receive the money the Legislature intended for the upcoming school year—which starts in a matter of weeks. The Hope Scholarship Act is an important law and we will fight for our kids and the hard working families of our state to retain this law and uphold its constitutionality.”

The Legislature passed and the Governor signed the Hope Scholarship Act into law in 2021. It provides money for students leaving the public schools system—the scholarship allows families to use the funding for a variety of expenses, including tuition and fees at participating private schools and other extracurricular activities.

Recently, a Kanawha County Circuit Court judge enjoined the state from implementing the program, finding it violates a provision of the state constitution that requires the state to provide a thorough and efficient system of free public schools.

Attorney General Morrisey wrote in the motion that “absent a stay, the state and its families will suffer irreparable harm: A validly enacted law will stand mute because the Legislature’s policy judgments ‘troubled’ a single judge, and students across the state will be stripped of educational opportunities for at least a year.”

The Attorney General added that the Circuit Court acted without jurisdiction and awarded relief “that no party had requested, agreed with baseless claims, and speculated harms into existence.”

Read a copy of the motion at: https://bit.ly/3uYLwpv.