Rutledge Urges Court to Protect Private Property RightsThu, Apr 21, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined eight other attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Murr v. Wisconsin, which is challenging uncompensated regulatory takings of private property. The brief urges the Court to reject a new judicially created rule that would allow government too much latitude to heavily regulate land without properly compensating property owners. This new rule determines whether a regulatory taking has occurred by looking not just at how much the regulation affects the piece of property itself but how much the regulation affects all adjoining properties owned by the same person. Accordingly, the more adjoining property one owns, the less likely a regulation affecting one parcel would require compensation by the government.
“This case comes down to simple economics,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Landowners should not be penalized because they own multiple pieces of land. However, if the Court sides with Wisconsin, it will make it easier for any government entity to take private land without just compensation. The Fifth Amendment was adopted to protect private property rights, and I urge the Court to rule in the Murrs’ favor.”
The Murr family owns two neighboring parcels of land in Wisconsin – one that is developed and another that is undeveloped. When the Murrs planned to sell the undeveloped land, they discovered a Wisconsin ordinance that prohibited the development or sale of the undeveloped lot simply because they own the lot next door. The Murrs challenged the ordinance, alleging a “taking” was occurring of the undeveloped land under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reasoned that no taking occurred because, when the properties were combined, the Murrs retained some usage of the combined property.
However, the attorneys general write, “Nothing in the text [of the Fifth Amendment] indicates that the requirement of just compensation might be waived if the owner of the property at issue also happens to own other property nearby. What matters is whether property has been ‘taken,’ not whether the owner still has the use of the lot next door. Any other approach makes a hash of the text, and diverts the regulatory takings analysis from the actual effect of the regulatory action on the actual piece of property at issue, to focusing on the identity of the landowner and other property he or she may happen to own.”
The case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Led by Nevada, Arkansas is joined in support of the Murr family by Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Rutledge: Over 200 Pounds of Medications Collected From Mobile Office InitiativeTue, Apr 19, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that a total of 207.9 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications have been collected from prescription drug take back events at 25 mobile offices around the State. Last week, in Stone County, officials collected the 200th pound.
In January, Rutledge began partnering with local law enforcement agencies to provide prescription drug collection at each Attorney General Mobile Office. Local officers are present at all mobile office stops to ensure the medications are safely collected. This initiative provides Arkansans with another opportunity to dispose of their unneeded medications in their own community in addition to drop-off sites already available at many local law enforcement agencies.
“More than 200 pounds of unused prescription medications are now safely out of medicine cabinets,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The drug take back program is an effective way to get old and expired medications out of homes where they could be abused by children, family members or friends. Handing these drugs to law enforcement for proper disposal ensures they will be destroyed in a safe and secure manner.”
It is reported that nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses each year, with more than half of those because of abuse of prescription drugs. The National Institution on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 62 percent of teens abuse prescription drugs because they are easy to obtain from their parents’ medicine cabinet. NIDA also reports that prescription drugs are considered a gateway drug, with nearly half of heroin users reporting to have abused prescription drugs before beginning to use heroin.
Authorities collect prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, pet medicines, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers and medicine samples. The next nationwide Take Back event is scheduled for Saturday, April 30.
Child Safety Fair Set for Tuesday at UALRMon, Apr 18, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge tomorrow will host a Child Safety Fair at the Jack Stephens Center on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Members of the media planning to attend may contact Judd Deere at Judd.Deere@arkansasag.gov or (501) 317-9880.
“The Child Safety Fair is going to be a fun, educational event for young people to learn how to keep themselves safe from harm and out of danger,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I want to thank all of the exhibitors and the nearly 500 students and teachers for participating in this event.”
Thirty six exhibitors will have booths inside the Jack Stephens Center for students to learn about important safety topics through fun activities and prizes.
Among the exhibitors is the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association, who will have PC the Patrol Car to talk about the importance of staying drug free. UALR Department of Public Safety, Pulaski County Sheriff’s office and Maumelle Police Department will host a fingerprinting station. Little Rock Animal Village will have its mobile dog unit on site, and AT&T Arkansas will be present to talk about Internet safety.
Members of the Central High School Civitan Club and the J.A. Fair High School’s Ladies and Gentlemen’s Club will volunteer at the fair.
Other exhibitors include: Arkansas Children’s Hospital Fire Safety House; healthy eating habits with the Arkansas Department of Health; Steve “Wildman” Wilson with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Cooking Matters with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance; Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center; Arkansas State Police vehicles; Ace and Otey with the Arkansas Travelers; We Can Catch Kids Club with Baptist Health; Dive Into Reading with the Central Arkansas Library System; electrical safety with Entergy Arkansas; Federal Bureau of Investigation; fire safety with the Little Rock Fire Department; Little Rock Police Department horses and SWAT team; weather safety with the National Weather Service; Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School Mime Troupe; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Dermatology; Bobber the Water Safety Dog with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; recycling education with Waste Management of Arkansas; anti-bullying with Westside Mixed Martial Arts; Stamp Out Smoking with Youth Extinguishing Smoking; a fire truck and an ambulance. Additionally, the Attorney General’s office will have booths with games and activities to include bean bag toss; don’t be a target; duck pond; face painting; germ station; milk bottle exercise; rockin’ radio; safety quiz and a scavenger hunt.
Rutledge: Injunction Against President’s Unlawful Immigration Action Should be MaintainedMon, Apr 18, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the Texas Attorney General’s office concluded oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that the injunction against President Obama’s unlawful immigration action be maintained. Rutledge is part of a 26-state coalition, led by Texas, fighting the President’s executive order.
“I am very hopeful that the Court will maintain the injunction and establish an important precedent with regard to the limits of presidential power,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This is a nation of laws, and no one person is above the law, which makes this case monumental. If the Court allows the President’s unlawful action to move forward, it will open the door for any President to ignore the will of the people through their elected representatives to Congress and rewrite any law to fit his or her policy agenda.”
Arkansas joined the coalition in December 2014, at the request of then Attorney General-elect Rutledge, along with Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
A decision in the case is expected in late June.
Rutledge Commends the EPA for Not Penalizing Race Car IndustryFri, Apr 15, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after it removed language from a proposed rule that would have expanded the EPA’s statutory jurisdiction under the Clean Air Act to cover vehicles modified solely for racing or competition. Moving forward with this language would have put the rule in conflict with the intent of Congress under the Clean Air Act.
“I applaud the EPA for recognizing that Congress made it clear that vehicles used for racing purposes are not regulated under the Clean Air Act,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The EPA has listened to the concerns raised by attorneys general from across the country and will not move forward with attempting to regulate vehicles built or modified for racing purposes. This decision will help protect an industry that consumers have spent billions of dollars in, purchasing automotive specialty equipment parts and accessories.”
Rutledge and attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia sent a letter to Administrator Gina McCarthy this month raising concern about the phrase contained in the rule, “used solely for competition,” which would have reversed a longstanding practice of the EPA not to regulate this industry.
Rutledge, 24 Other Attorneys General, Fight to Save Veterans MemorialFri, Apr 15, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bipartisan group of 25 attorneys general in fighting to protect a historic cross honoring World War I veterans.
“Across the United States, countless memorials and monuments have been erected to honor the men and women who have bravely defended this nation,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Many of these monuments like the one in Maryland include religious imagery, which is fully consistent with the Constitution. However, if the 4th Circuit does not affirm the lower court’s decision, it could eventually jeopardize hundreds of historic war memorials across the country, forcing their removal or alteration.”
Rutledge and 24 other attorneys general have filed an amicus brief asking the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm a lower court’s ruling, which found the U.S. Constitution allows veterans memorials with religious symbolism.
The case involves a white, memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, built by the American Legion to remember World War I veterans. The initial lawsuit sought to force the State of Maryland to tear down the historic cross.
The district court found Maryland’s cross to be protected by the First Amendment. An appeal followed and the case rests before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Its ultimate decision could impact memorials in West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, including those at Arlington National Cemetery.
Rutledge signed the brief, which was led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, along with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The brief was filed as part of American Humanist Association, et.al. v. Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.