Rutledge: D.C. Circuit Grants Stay of Costly FCC Order
March 7, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted in part a motion to stay an order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that effectively limited the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government may recover from inmate calling systems (ICS).
“The stay from the D.C. circuit is welcome news for local budgets and law enforcement across Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Because of the court’s action, jails and prisons will not be shortchanged during the legal challenge to the FCC’s order. If this costly order had taken effect, the result would have been disastrous for many local communities.”
The court’s decision to stay in part the FCC order comes after Rutledge, along with attorneys general from Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Missouri, filed a motion last month seeking to intervene in order to join the lawsuit, State of Oklahoma v. FCC. The court has not acted on the request.
The FCC’s order, which caps rates and limits fees for ICS, ignores significant ICS- and security-related costs borne by the states and their need to recoup these costs from ICS providers.
In the final order, the FCC caps inmate calls at 11 cents per minute for all local and long distance calls from state and federal prisons. In jails, prices will range from 14 cents to 22 cents per minute, depending on the size of the institution. The new cap accounts for a more than 50 percent decrease from previous limits. Additionally the new caps will apply to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.