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Rutledge Joins Coalition to Fight Against Unconstitutional Obamacare

Rutledge Joins Coalition to Fight Against Unconstitutional Obamacare

Mon, Feb 26, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she has joined a 20-state coalition urging a federal district court in Texas to hold the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, unconstitutional and to prohibit the entire law.

“Obamacare has been an overreaching, unconstitutional burden for all Americans from its inception,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “For too long the federal government has mandated Arkansas’s health care without regard for the medical care Arkansans desire or can afford. It’s time for this act to be rightfully held unconstitutional so that Americans can again be free to select the health coverage best suited to their needs.”

The complaint explains that Obamacare forces an unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the states and their citizens. In NFIB v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the individual mandate, the core provision of Obamacare, as a “tax.” However, Congress has recently repealed this tax, while leaving the mandate in place. Since the Supreme Court has already held that Congress has no authority to impose such a mandate on Americans, absent invoking its taxing authority, the Obamacare mandate is now unconstitutional. Because the unconstitutional mandate is an integral part of Obamacare, the entire law must be struck down.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the coalition’s brief in a federal district court in Texas. In addition to Arkansas, other states participating are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association and Vice Chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region. She also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.

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Rutledge Speaks at CPAC

Rutledge Speaks at CPAC

Fri, Feb 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today addressed the Conservative Political Action Committee following President Donald J. Trump. Attorney General Rutledge spoke on the danger of sanctuary cities and the importance of the rule of law.

“American patriots have not laid down their lives on foreign soil only to have family and friends be harmed by policies of public officials,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This is a fight for our freedoms by defending the rule of law.”

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Rutledge Announces Attorneys Joining Effort to Combat Gun Violence

Rutledge Announces Attorneys Joining Effort to Combat Gun Violence

Thu, Feb 22, 2018

Says, ‘No Arkansan Should Live in Fear’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that her office is partnering with the U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland to tackle gun violence. Four attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office will serve as Special Assistant United States Attorneys in an effort to curb violence and increase prosecution of federal gun crimes.

“I am proud to join U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland in the important fight against violent crime,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The addition of Special Assistant United States Attorneys will help law enforcement curtail unnecessary violence and lock criminals up for the gun crimes they commit. No Arkansan should live in fear and I am confident that prosecuting and removing dangerous criminals from our streets will make our neighborhoods safer.”

Hiland introduced the Special Assistant United States Attorneys program and announced that in addition to the Attorney General’s Office, several elected state prosecutors will join the U.S. Department of Justice in tackling gun crimes. Chief Deputy Attorney General Julie Benafield, Deputy Attorney General Will Jones, and Assistant Attorneys General Emily Abbott and Amanda Jegley will be assigned to assist Hiland's office in addition to their regular duties.

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Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Takata Over Defective Airbag Systems

Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Takata Over Defective Airbag Systems

Thu, Feb 22, 2018

Says, ‘actions by Takata put consumers in danger’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a settlement with TK Holdings, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Takata, over allegations that the company concealed safety issues related to its airbag systems which were installed in a wide variety of vehicles. TK Holdings filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy in June and the court has confirmed the company’s proposed plan of reorganization.

“Takata’s deceptive practices endanger the lives of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas consumers should be able to trust that airbags will protect them, but the actions taken by Takata put consumers in danger. Under the settlement, the company will continue to provide replacement airbags for vehicles impacted – at no cost to the consumer.”

The settlement, reached between attorneys general of 44 states and the District of Columbia and TK Holdings, concludes a multistate investigation into the company’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects associated with certain airbag inflators using phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate as a propellant.

Beginning in 2008, auto manufacturers issued a number of recalls of vehicles containing these airbag inflators in response to ruptures upon deployment of the airbag. More than 50 million airbags in more than 37 million vehicles have been recalled to date, with future anticipated recalls through the end of 2019 likely, bringing the total number of affected airbags to around 65 or 70 million.

The recalls involved the use of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate to inflate the airbags upon deployment. As the compound was exposed to heat and humidity over time, particularly in warmer and wetter parts of the United States, the propellant degraded. Upon deployment, the inflator could explosively rupture, destroying the metal casing surrounding the propellant and spraying shrapnel into the vehicle’s passenger cabin. At least 20 people have died worldwide and hundreds more have been injured as a result of this defect.

The multistate alleged that the company knew that the airbag inflator posed a safety defect because of testing failures and, indeed, TK Holdings’ parent company pleaded guilty to manipulating testing data and submitting false and misleading reports to auto manufacturers. The company knew about several ruptures which occurred as early as 2004, but appropriate action to recall these unsafe inflators did not occur until November 2014. However, despite this knowledge, the company failed to properly notify regulators and the public of the serious danger posed by this defect.

The states alleged that these actions were unfair and deceptive and that the automaker’s actions violated state consumer protection laws, including Arkansas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Under the consent decree and settlement agreement, which is subject to final approval by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, TK Holdings and its successor, Reorganized TK Holdings, shall:

  • Not advertise or otherwise represent the safety of its airbag systems or phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate in any way that is false, deceptive or misleading;
  • Not represent that its airbags are safe unless supported by competent and reliable scientific or engineering evidence;
  • Not falsify or manipulate testing data, or provide any testing data that the companies know is inaccurate;
  • Except as needed to fulfill its obligations under the various recalls, sell any airbag systems using phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate as a propellant;
  • Comply with state and federal law as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration consent order and coordinated remedy order; and
  • Continue to cooperate with auto manufacturers to ensure that replacement airbag inflators are made available as expeditiously as possible from all possible sources.

The attorneys general have foregone civil penalties in order to maximize the recovery available to consumers who were the victims of this airbag defect.

In addition to Arkansas, the multistate group, led by Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, also includes Alabama, Alaska, California, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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