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Laura’s Card to Assist Victims of Domestic Violence

Rutledge Unveils a Laura’s Card to Assist Victims of Domestic Violence

Wed, Feb 17, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today unveiled a Laura’s Card to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Participating in the announcement were Representatives Charlotte Douglas (R-Alma) and Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville) and Angela McGraw, executive director of Women & Children First.

Laura’s Card was created through legislation sponsored by Rep. Douglas in the 2015 legislative session after many conversations with Laura Webb of Cabot. Webb is a survivor of domestic violence, but when she was victimized she did not know where to turn and voiced her concerns to Rep. Douglas about the need to provide resources to those in abusive situations. Now under Act 873, law enforcement officers must provide a resource information card to assist victims of crime and their families.

“As a former Lonoke County prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the horrific tragedy domestic violence situations can bring on families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In 2014 alone, the domestic violence shelters in Arkansas received almost 28,000 phone calls, of which nearly 35 percent were in a crisis situation. Together we can make a difference against these crimes that have no age, race, economic or geographic boundaries, which is why my office has produced and printed a Laura’s Card that will be distributed to all 75 counties – to sheriffs’ offices, police departments, advocacy groups and shelters. If we can save one life by sharing these resources, it is worth it.”

“Domestic violence is most often about control of the victim: physical, emotional, financial and educational,” said Rep. Douglas. “It is my hope that through Laura's Card we bring power to victims through access to their victim's rights and services that are offered to free them from a life of abuse. We must all work to turn victims into victors.”

“Domestic violence is typically about power,” said Rep. Ballinger. “The perpetrator is often lashing out in order to prove his or her power or to retain his or her power at the expense of the victim. The victim conversely, often feels powerless, unsure of what, if anything, she or he can do. Laura's Card addresses that. It is an effort to inform victims of their rights and provide them with resources that can help get them out of the destructive cycle of violence. I greatly appreciate Rep. Douglas, the Attorney General's office, the victims' advocates, law enforcement and the Domestic Violence Coalition who all worked tirelessly to bring this bill to life and to get it implemented here in Arkansas.”

“Laura’s Card is the best resource that Arkansas has offered victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse to assure victims are aware of the options and legal remedies when attempting to escape an abusive situation,” said Lee Nailling, chairperson, Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence Board of Directors. “Thanks to Attorney General Rutledge and her office for their involvement and for printing and distribution of the cards.”

“Domestic violence shelters around the State are committed to working in collaboration with law enforcement to provide consistent information for victims of crime,” said McGraw. “Laura's Card provides the ability to fulfill this purpose, and we are grateful.”

Laura’s Card now includes 24-hour crisis lines, a place for law enforcement and local shelter or service provider to include contact information, a list of victim’s rights, information about the Crime Victims Reparations Board and a website that has been created with links to numerous resources available across the State. The website, LaurasCard.ar.gov, is a clearinghouse of resources for law enforcement, service providers and victims.

In addition to working with Rep. Douglas, Webb and the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rutledge also received input to help craft Laura’s Card from the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence; Arkansas Crime Information Center; Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board; Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association; Arkansas State Police; Criminal Justice Institute and the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator.

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Passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Rutledge Statement on the Passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Sat, Feb 13, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today in response to the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The United States has suffered a terrible loss with the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His brilliant jurisprudence and legal mind have had a concrete and positive impact on every American and the legal community. The U.S. Constitution could not have had a more vocal defender during his three decades on the High Court, opining on issues that helped to preserve free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, federalism and separation of powers. He had an exceptional ability to share his wit and wisdom both in written word and speech. I extend my prayers to his family and friends, as well as Justice Scalia’s colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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Settlement with MoneyGram

Rutledge Reaches Settlement with MoneyGram

Thu, Feb 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today has reached a settlement with Dallas-based MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc. resolving a multistate investigation that tied MoneyGram to fraudulent activities based on complaints from consumers who used the company’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.

“Arkansans have heard it time and again, over the phone, in letters or in emails: ‘wire this amount of money and you will win big,’” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But these claims always turn out to be a scam, and if a consumer does wire money, it is almost impossible to get it back. MoneyGram failed to maintain effective anti-fraud measurers to prevent consumers from suffering financial losses as a result of these fraud induced transfers. Fortunately, thanks to this settlement, restitution payments will be made available to a number of Arkansans, and MoneyGram has agreed to improve its anti-fraud program, provide more warnings to consumers and improve agent training.”

Under the terms of the settlement, MoneyGram has agreed to maintain and continue to improve a comprehensive and robust anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent consumers from suffering financial losses as a result of these types of fraud induced wire transfers.

The program must be documented in writing and at a minimum must include the following elements:

  • Mandatory and documented compliance training for agents and guidelines regarding when an agent’s conduct warrants suspension or termination.
  • Suspension or termination of agents who fail to take commercially reasonable steps to reduce fraud induced money transfers.
  • A hotline system – telephonic and electronic – where employees and agents can report noncompliance with anti-fraud measures.
  • Sound mechanisms to evaluate actual fraud rates and consumer losses from fraud-induced money transfers in order to utilize that information to improve compliance.
  • Continued enhancement of technology solutions, including its Anti-Fraud Alert System

Additionally, MoneyGram has agreed to pay a total of $13 million to states to fund a nationwide consumer restitution program and for the states’ costs and fees. The settlement provides for an independent third-party settlement administrator who will review MoneyGram records and send notices regarding restitution to all consumers who are eligible to receive it under the settlement. Generally, consumers who are eligible for restitution previously filed complaints with MoneyGram between July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009, regarding fraud-induced transfers sent from the U.S. to foreign countries other than Canada.

More information about this settlement is available at the Settlement Administrator’s website, MoneyGramSettlement.com.

Rutledge reminds Arkansans who receive solicitations from strangers promising big winnings to toss those letters in the trash, delete the email or hang up the phone and those who are contacted about a grandchild, friend or family member in distress should reach out separately to the friend or family member to independently verify that the relative is actually in need of the assistance.

In addition to Arkansas, the following participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.

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Trainings to Combat Dating Violence

Rutledge to Offer Trainings to Combat Dating Violence

Wed, Feb 10, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is continuing her push to raise awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault and dating violence by teaming up with Break the Cycle, a leading national nonprofit organization providing comprehensive dating abuse programs, to offer workshops across Arkansas on healthy relationships and dating abuse. The three-hour trainings will delve into the youth experience of dating abuse, including the health and academic impacts and how it differs from adult experiences.

“If we can teach teenagers how to handle dating violence and to create healthy relationships, it will help curb the constant cycle of teen dating violence leading to domestic violence,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am proud to partner with Break the Cycle, the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Arkansas Department of Education to bring these important workshops here so that educators will be able to better communicate how to have healthy relationships. I encourage Arkansas teachers to take advantage of these trainings so that we can finally begin to break the cycle of abuse.”

Through Act 952, passed by the General Assembly in 2015, Arkansas students in grades 7 through 12 must receive instruction on dating violence awareness as a component of health courses. This training will give teachers the resources they need to comply with the act, and the Attorney General’s office is committed to supplying schools with dating violence awareness materials.

Participants will learn foundational knowledge about dating abuse, methods for intervention and instruction on how to implement a Healthy Relationships 101 session with their students or youth group. Using pop culture and media clips that are familiar to teens, the workshops will include discussions to help teens recognize abuse and become critical thinkers on how these images can affect teens’ views on healthy relationships.

Registration information can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.

Workshop attendees will hear from Jasmine Uribe and Sarah Colomé.

Uribe is a leader in the dating abuse prevention movement and serves as leadership and engagement manager for Break the Cycle, which includes overseeing Loveisrespect with the National Youth Advisory Board.

Colomé manages and implements all major projects and initiatives within Break the Cycle's Training and Technical Assistance Program, as well as provides technical assistance to grant recipients for the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

Full workshop schedule details:

Feb. 22

Southwest Educational Service Cooperative

2502 South Main

Hope, AR 71801

Feb. 23

Little Rock School District Instructional Resource Center

3001 South Pulaski St.

Little Rock, AR 72206

March 29

Northwest Educational Service Cooperative

4 Double Springs Road

Farmington, AR 72730

March 30

Southeast Arkansas Educational Service Cooperative

1022 Scogin Drive

Monticello, AR 71655

March 31

Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

1606 Pine Grove Lane

Harrisburg, AR 72432

For more information, please contact the Attorney General’s office at (501) 682-2007.

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Decision to Stay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Rutledge Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision to Stay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Tue, Feb 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has given the people of Arkansas good news tonight,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By granting a stay of the Clean Power Plan, the Court has prevented an unlawful, out-of-touch plan drafted by bureaucrats in Washington from moving forward until the legal challenges are properly resolved. This helps ensure that Arkansas and other states are not forced to comply with a rule that will likely be found unlawful and will skyrocket energy rates. The law could not be clearer that the EPA does not have the legal authority to implement this regulation, and I am confident that as this case moves forward the Courts will recognize this fact and prevent its full implementation.”

Rutledge was part of a bipartisan coalition of 29 states and state agencies that requested the stay.

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Fights Proposed Labor Rule Targeting Small Businesses

Rutledge Fights Proposed Labor Rule that Targets Small Businesses

Tue, Feb 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has sent a letter with 12 other states to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget voicing opposition to the Obama Administration’s proposed Persuader Advice Exemption Rule, which could force small businesses to disclose communications with outside counsel in labor relations matters.

The attorneys general believe the new rule would undermine long-standing protections for confidential attorney-client communications and would place undue burdens on small businesses, which would be singled out under the rule.

“Small businesses are already being hit with countless federal mandates and regulations that stifle job growth,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If Arkansas small businesses are going to compete, then Washington needs to get out of the way. Arkansans want a government that works, not one that overregulates, which is why I am urging the administration to withdraw this proposed rule.”

“The new rule would cause particular harm to small businesses in our states. The reporting requirement applies specifically to outside consultants. Because many large corporations employ in-house counsels, they will have access to legal advice on labor matters, free of the disclosure concerns raised by the new rule. Small businesses, by their very nature, are less likely to employ in-house counsel. The burden of this new rule will fall chiefly on them, with heavy penalties if they fail to comply,” the attorneys general wrote.

The attorneys general point out that for more than 50 years, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act has preserved the confidentiality of attorney-client communications by exempting attorney advice relating to labor relations issues from disclosure.

The letter, led by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, was signed by Rutledge and attorneys general from Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

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