Attorney General, Press Association Announce 2016 FOIA RoadshowsFri, Feb 26, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Arkansas Press Association (APA) today announced the 2016 schedule for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Roadshows, which are informal workshops on the act and include the FOIA Made Simple presentation by the Attorney General’s office, detailing responsibilities and rights covered by the Act related to public meetings and documents.
For the first time ever, the roadshows will now include two dates where a live webcast will be offered where participants can watch and type questions to presenters.
“As the people’s lawyer, it is a top priority of mine to educate the public about their rights under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “That education is not limited to those in and around Little Rock, which is why I am proud to partner with the Arkansas Press Association to offer regional roadshows and for the first time, a live webcast. I will do whatever I can to help Arkansans better understand one of the strongest transparency laws in the nation, and I encourage all of those interested to join us.”
“The Arkansas Press Association and the Office of the Attorney General have combined forces for a number of years now to bring these important forums to the people of Arkansas,” said Tres Williams, APA’s director of government relations and communications. “They are essential tools for informing custodians of public records and other public officials of their responsibilities under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. They also provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness among average citizens across the state as to their rights under the law and the importance of preserving transparency and citizen involvement in government.”
All roadshows are free and open to the public. Register at ArkansasAG.gov. The program has been approved for 2.0 hours of general Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit.
FOIA Roadshow Schedule:
Wednesday, March 9
10 a.m. to noon
Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis
Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center, Room 136
Friday, April 1
10 a.m. to noon
Thursday, May 12
10 a.m. to noon
Arkansas Tech University, Russellville
Doc Bryan Student Services Building, Multipurpose Room 242
Tuesday, June 21
10 a.m. to noon
Tuesday, Sept. 6
10 a.m. to noon
University of Arkansas Community College at Hope
Thursday, Oct. 13
10 a.m. to noon
University of Central Arkansas, Conway
Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center, Rooms 112 and 113
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act was enacted by the General Assembly in 1967 after a strong push from a coalition of citizens and journalists and with the support of then-Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. The bill passed the House and Senate without a dissenting vote. Gov. Rockefeller later reflected that the passage of the FOIA was one of the most significant achievements of his time in office.
Today’s announcement comes after Rutledge and the APA published the 17th edition of the FOIA handbook. Print copies of the Freedom of Information Handbook are available upon request from the Attorney General’s office by calling (501) 682-2007, and electronic copies of the handbook are available at ArkansasAG.gov and at ArkansasPress.org.
For more information about the roadshows, please email email@example.com.
Rutledge Seeks to Challenge Costly FCC OrderWed, Feb 24, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today has filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The lawsuit challenges an FCC order that would effectively limit the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government may recover from Inmate Calling Systems (ICS).
Rutledge, along with Attorneys General from Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri, are seeking to intervene in order to join the lawsuit, State of Oklahoma v. FCC, which is in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“Since this order from the FCC was finalized in October, I have spoken with numerous sheriffs, the Arkansas Department of Correction and other agencies about the loss of revenue this order would impose on local communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Increased financial strain is not something local jails or prisons can handle at this time. Based on the feedback I received, I am seeking to join a lawsuit, brought by my colleague from Oklahoma, which will invalidate this order.”
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. As explained in the motion to intervene, “the Order is arbitrary and capricious as it does not consider these costs and allow for reasonable cost recoupment by the states. The intervening states will also argue that the Order is unconstitutional and not authorized by federal law.”
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, in a constitutionally-suspect power grab, the new caps will apply to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.
Two FCC commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, opposed the order, calling it well-intentioned, but saying the order bends the FCC's legal authority and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for MarchWed, Feb 24, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. In October, the initiative celebrated the milestone of holding office hours in all 75 counties, marking the first time that the Attorney General’s office has held office hours in each county across the State.
The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
Attorney General Rutledge recently expanded the services offered at mobile offices to include Prescription Drug Take Back boxes. Rutledge is partnering with local law enforcement agencies across the State who will handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter/com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Thursday, March 3
Central Arkansas Development Council Arkadelphia Senior Activity Center
1305 N. 10th St.
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
Tuesday, March 8
10 a.m. – noon
Southwest Arkansas Development Council Camden Senior Center
465 Columbia Ave. SW
Camden, AR 71701
Thursday, March 10
Lincoln County Senior Center
201 N. Drew St.
Star City, AR 71667
Monday, March 14
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Mena-Polk County Senior Citizens Inc.
401 Autumn Drive
Mena, AR 71953
Tuesday, March 15
Stuttgart Senior Citizens Center
811 S. Buerkle St.
Stuttgart, AR 72160
Tuesday, March 29
Monticello Senior Citizens Center
203 Henley Drive
Monticello, AR 71655
Thursday, March 31
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Newport Senior Life Center
947 Hout Circle
Newport, AR 72112
Rutledge Announces Medicaid Fraud Conviction of Little Rock WomanTue, Feb 23, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Pulaski County woman for Medicaid fraud. Quashonna Evans pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Evans will serve one year probation and pay a fine of $1,000.
“Attorneys and agents within the Attorney General’s office are working diligently with local prosecutors to combat abuse within the Medicaid system,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This conviction was the direct result of a citizen complaint, and I encourage all Arkansans if they suspect Medicaid fraud to contact the Attorney General’s office.”
Evans, 27, of Little Rock pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, a Class A misdemeanor. Evans billed the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services that were not rendered.
The case was prosecuted in coordination with Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge Welcomes Spring InternsMon, Feb 22, 2016
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has accepted five students from across the State into the Attorney General’s office internship program.
“My intent is to provide experiential learning opportunities for these interns as they assist with consumer and safety education and outreach activities statewide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The internship program allows for exposure to the public service sector and enhances their collegiate experiences, enabling them to be more career ready. I hope these interns will continue to use their skills to serve Arkansans.”
Lauren Potgieter-Langston graduated from Arkansas State University in 2015, majoring in criminology. Potgieter-Langston is from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she attended Collegiate Girls’ High School and graduated in 2010. She is working in the Public Affairs Department.
Bryce Moore is a junior, studying public administration at the University of Central Arkansas. He is from Sherwood and graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2013. Moore is working in the Public Affairs Department.
Shannon Nicholson is a freshman, double majoring in criminal justice and psychology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Nicholson is from Sherwood, where she attended Sylvan Hills High School, and graduated in 2015. She is working in the Communications Department.
Isabella Schmidt is a junior, double majoring in psychology and Spanish at UALR. Schmidt is a Little Rock native, was homeschooled online and graduated in 2011. She is working in the Communications Department and Special Investigations Division.
Derek Vickers is a junior, studying criminal justice at UALR. Vickers is from Mayflower, where he attended Mayflower High School and graduated in 2013. He is working in the Communications Department.
Rutledge Selects New Deputy Attorney General for Civil DepartmentThu, Feb 18, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today named Ryan Owsley of Little Rock deputy attorney general for the Civil Department. Owsley is an experienced attorney who has been an assistant attorney general in the Opinions Department since 2008.
“The people of Arkansas will be well-served by having Ryan as the deputy attorney general for the Civil Department,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have witnessed Ryan’s remarkable knowledge and ability to clarify some of the most complex parts of the law through his work in the Opinions Department. His understanding of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act is one very few can match. I know Ryan is excited to get to work with the talented attorneys in the department as they work to represent the agencies, boards and commissions of Arkansas in an effective and professional manner.”
Before joining the office, Owsley worked in private practice handling insurance-defense litigation and appellate work. Prior to private practice, Owsley clerked for then Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber. A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and an honors graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Owsley served as an editor of the UALR Law Review.
Owsley succeeds David Curran, who left last month for an opportunity with the University of Arkansas System.
Handling approximately 500 cases each year in State and federal courts, the Civil Department’s attorneys serve as counsel representing State agencies, officials, boards and commissions when any are named as defendants in civil lawsuits. The lawyers also initiate lawsuits to protect the interests of the State.