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Rutledge Selected as Vice Chairwoman of NAAG Southern Region

Rutledge Selected as Vice Chairwoman of NAAG Southern Region

Fri, Jun 23, 2017

Says, ‘it is important that we come together throughout the year to collaborate at the national level but also regionally’

BIG SKY, MT – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has been selected by her colleagues to serve as the vice chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Southern Region at this week’s summer meeting in Montana. Rutledge succeeds Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III as vice chairman as Slatery assumes the role of chairman.

“I am honored to be selected by my colleagues to serve as Vice Chairwoman of the NAAG Southern Region,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As the chief legal officers of our states, it is important that we come together throughout the year to collaborate at the national level but also regionally, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the South to help facilitate that.”

NAAG has four regional conferences: Eastern Region, Midwestern Region, Southern Region and Western Region (Conference of Western Attorneys General). The members of the regions are the attorneys general from the states and territories that make up the region and customarily meet once a year to discuss important issues impacting the region.

The NAAG Southern Region consists of the attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

In addition to now serving as the Vice Chairwoman of the NAAG Southern Region, Rutledge continues to serve as the Co-Chair of the NAAG Committee on Agriculture and the NAAG Committee on Federalism/Preemption and is a member of the Internet Safety/Cyber Privacy and Security Committee and Veteran Affairs Committee.

Rutledge also serves as the Vice Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

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Joins Effort to Halt Sanctuary Cities

Rutledge Joins Effort to Halt Sanctuary Cities

Thu, Jun 22, 2017

Says, ‘President Trump’s executive order is lawful’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a 10-state coalition in defense of President Donald J. Trump’s executive order regarding the prohibition of sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.

According to Rutledge and her colleagues, these sanctuary jurisdictions violate federal law by protecting illegal immigrants from removal from the United States. The amicus brief supports the federal government’s motion to dismiss three lawsuits. The coalition argues the lawsuits are premature and undermine the President’s immigration enforcement authority granted to him by Congress.

“These sanctuary jurisdictions are a threat to public safety and obstruct cooperation between federal, state and local officials of immigration enforcement,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “President Trump’s executive order is lawful and intended to properly enforce the current immigration laws of the United States.”

The executive order directs the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure that sanctuary cities, to the extent permitted by law, may not receive grant dollars from specific federal programs. The order encourages states to comply with existing federal law that promotes voluntary cooperation between federal and state officials.

States that filed the brief include attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

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ICYMI: ‘The general wins one’

ICYMI: ‘The general wins one’

Thu, Jun 22, 2017

Excerpts from ‘The general wins one

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Editorial

Why the Federal Communications Commission decided it had the right to cap telephone rates for this state's inmates is anybody's guess – if anybody was guessing that government always thinks it knows best. As if the apparatchiks making work for themselves in Washington, D.C., know all, including what goes into prisons and phone service.

But, mirabile dictu, a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has decided that the FCC overstepped its authority when it cut – and capped – telephone rates for prisoners. Nine attorneys general from various parts of the Union, including Leslie Rutledge of Batesville and this state's AG office, sued to get to this point. Which sometimes has to be done when it concerns the federal government vs. the people…

A few points: First, and maybe foremost, the prison system isn't in the business of keeping prisoners from contacting family. "One of our goals," says Dina Tyler, deputy director of the Community Correction Department, "is to help relationships with families stay strong while someone is locked up." Otherwise, a prison isn't part rehabilitation. It's just a box. So one can assume that charging a (low) price for phone calls isn't the department's way of punishing inmates.

That said, Point No. 2: Prison isn't supposed to be pleasant, and folks inside aren't supposed to have all the freedoms of those on the outside.

Point No. 3: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made this decision. That panel isn't exactly a den of right-wing hacks looking to impose conservative ideas on an unwilling nation…

President Trump appointed Ajit Pai as the chairman of the FCC back in February. Soon after, the lawyers for the FCC said it would no longer fight in the courts to fight the states on this matter. Or, as Mr. Pai put it this week: "The D.C. Circuit agreed with my position that the FCC exceeded its authority ... . I plan to work with my colleagues at the Commission, Congress and all stakeholders to address the problem of high inmate calling rates in a lawful manner."

What a pleasant change.

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Respect for State Authority and Expertise in WOTUS Review

Rutledge: EPA Should Ensure Respect for State Authority and Expertise in WOTUS Review

Tue, Jun 20, 2017

Final definition should be consistent with intent of Clean Water Act

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s waters as part of the agency’s ongoing review of its Waters of the United States rule as ordered by President Donald J. Trump in February.

The 20-state bipartisan comment letter filed Monday outlined regulatory overreach in the existing rule and offered suggestions to better respect the authority of states moving forward.

“Properly defining Waters of the United States must be done in a way that respects the intent of Congress under the Clean Water Act,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In its current, overly broad form, the Waters of the United States rule places the burden on our farmers and ranchers and ignores the traditional role of the states to protect its water.”

The letter suggests that the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” in a manner that preserves the states’ role in protecting water resources, especially those within the border of the individual states. The attorneys general also suggest any final definition should adopt a framework consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent that includes that federal agencies can only assert authority over permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographic features that are described in ordinary parlance as streams, rivers, oceans and lakes. The letter expresses that rather than claiming jurisdiction over vast amounts of water and land, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways.

Rutledge was part of the lawsuit that resulted in a nationwide injunction, blocking enforcement of the current rule, which proved crucial in providing time for the new administration to conduct this review.

The current rule, issued in June 2015, allowed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over an untold number of small bodies of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other areas where water may flow once every 100 years.

Rutledge is joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Rutledge Fights to Protect Broadband Consumer Protections

Rutledge Fights to Protect Broadband Consumer Protections

Mon, Jun 19, 2017

Petition to FCC from industry intended to strip attorneys general authority

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general in opposing a cable telecommunications industry petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intended to stop states from enforcing laws intended to prevent false advertising related to internet speeds.

In a comment submitted to the FCC on Friday, the attorneys general underscored the long-standing critical role they have played in protecting broadband consumers. As the comment letter points out, the industry is seeking a ruling that exceeds the authority of the FCC, is procedurally improper and would upend the longstanding dual federal-state regulation of deceptive practices in the telecommunications industry. Rutledge and her colleagues believe this would leave consumers across the country without the basic state protections from unfair and deceptive business practices that help ensure they are receiving the internet speeds for which they are paying.

“Arkansans deserve complete honesty when it comes to any advertisement for goods and services,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The need for faster internet speeds and increased access to broadband is something I hear routinely when I travel our State, and my ability to protect Arkansans from misleading providers is something that must be protected.”

The industry’s petition was submitted on May 15 by two trade associations representing fixed and wireless broadband companies (USTelecom and NCTA – The Internet & Television Association). The petition seeks to enlist the FCC in improperly gutting state and federal requirements that bar deceptive advertising of internet speeds. Specifically, the petition asks the FCC to convert a limited safe harbor from FCC’s own enforcement into blanket federal and state immunity for fixed and wireless broadband companies from liability for false statements contained in advertisements and marketing.

In their comment, the attorneys general detail several improper aspects of the industry petition, including that the FCC lacks the authority to displace longstanding State consumer protection enforcement. “As the chief law enforcement officers of our respective states, we understand the vital importance of protecting consumers against unfair and deceptive business practices — including those of broadband providers. Like others providing goods and services to consumers in our states, providers of broadband internet service must be truthful in their advertisements. Broadband access is an essential aspect of our constituents’ work, life and play. The states’ traditional consumer protection powers must be left undisturbed to protect consumers from false and misleading claims by broadband providers regarding the provision of services that are an essential part of 21st century life throughout the United States,” the attorneys general wrote.

Led by the states of New York and Texas, Rutledge is joined on the letter by her colleagues from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Attorney General’s Office to Host Summer Webcast Series

Attorney General’s Office to Host Summer Webcast Series

Mon, Jun 19, 2017

Rutledge says will offer online trainings on internet safety, dating violence prevention, common scams, ID theft and FOIA

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today opened registration for a Summer Webcast Series of trainings on internet safety, dating violence prevention, common scams, identity theft and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

“After the enormous success of the Winter Webcast Series, I am excited to offer these beneficial trainings again,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Using web-based technology, my office can reach more Arkansans and offer important materials on internet safety, scams, ID theft, preventing dating violence and navigating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.”

A FOIA webcast covering public records and meetings will be available from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 20.

A training to prevent being a victim of ID theft, which occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes, will be offered from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 12.

From 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 19, participants can learn about common scams, such as the Favorite Grandchild Scam, IRS Scam, Credit Call Robocalls, Work-from-Home Scam, Door-to-Door Scam and many more. Scam artists are always finding new ways to trick consumers out of their hard earned money. This webcast will highlight some of the more common scams, offer ways to spot the scam and what to do if you have been scammed.

The internet safety training, or Digital You, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Digital You is a comprehensive, interactive educational program created by AT&T and Common Sense Media to offer tools, tips, apps, guidance and education for people of all ages and levels of online experience to learn more about how to have a safe and secure online experience. Rutledge adopted the curriculum last year.

And on Wednesday, Aug. 9, a Break the Cycle training will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon. Break the Cycle is a leading national nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive dating abuse programs. Participants will learn about dating abuse, methods for intervention and how to implement a Healthy Relationships 101 session. Rutledge partnered with Break the Cycle last year to hold regional trainings across the State.

The online trainings are free and open to the public. Registration for each one can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.

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