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Court Hears Arguments

Rutledge: Court Hears Arguments Challenging the EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule

Thu, Apr 16, 2015

Occurs same day that the EPA is holding a public hearing in Arkansas to discuss the federal implementation plan for regional haze

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in the federal lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 111(d) rule that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from electric generating units. At the request of Attorney General Rutledge, Arkansas was granted intervention in this case on March 9. These arguments occurred on the same day that the EPA held a public hearing in Arkansas on the federal implementation plan for regional haze. Rutledge released the following statement:

“Today, the D.C. Circuit has heard that this proposed rule goes beyond the EPA’s authority, granted by Congress in the Clean Air Act, and seeks to impose a national energy policy that will harm the U.S. economy. Requiring states to reduce carbon emission by 30 percent in 15 years would simply put many out of business, leaving Arkansas unable to maintain steady job growth.

“Also today, the EPA is holding a hearing in Arkansas to receive public comments on a federal plan to address regional haze. This plan, along with the 111(d) rule, could force large numbers of power plants across the U.S. to close, including ones in Arkansas. I hope the EPA will listen to the concerns of the public at this hearing. In the Natural State, we value clean air and clean water, but this type of federal overreach will lead to reduced economic growth – something the people of Arkansas cannot afford.”

Rutledge sought the motion to intervene on Feb. 13 to join the lawsuit with attorneys general from West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Kentucky. Wisconsin was granted intervention after Arkansas.

As indicated in the motion, Arkansas is required to meet the sixth most stringent obligation of all the states under the proposed 111(d) rule, yet Arkansas ranks 46th in per capita income. The EPA proposes emissions rate reductions of 41 percent and 44 percent as interim and final requirements. The drastic reductions required under the proposed rule will negatively impact existing industry, future economic development and electric ratepayers in Arkansas.

Rutledge testified about this proposed EPA rule, as well as other EPA policies at the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on the Interior in February. Click here for a copy of Rutledge’s opening statement, or a video can be found here.

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Child Safety Poster Contest Winners

Rutledge Announces Child Safety Poster Contest Winners

Thu, Apr 16, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the winners of the 2015 Child Safety Poster Contest, which is sponsored annually by the Attorney General’s Office. This year’s poster theme was Bring Our Missing Children Home. Rutledge released the following statement:

“I want to congratulate this year’s winners of the Child Safety Poster Contest. There were a record number of participants with 1,171 entries. Students from across the State submitted posters with the winners coming from North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Cabot, Mena, West Memphis, Little Rock and my own elementary school, Southside in Independence County. These students did an excellent job highlighting this year’s theme, and I am extremely impressed by the talent of our young Arkansans.”

Attorney General Rutledge also extended her appreciation to the three contest judges, Melinda Faubel with AT&T, Cynthia Hass with the Arkansas Arts Council and Paul Leopoulos with the Thea Foundation. AT&T also helped sponsor the contest, BK Moulding donated supplies to mat each poster and the Thea Foundation is hosting this evening’s reception, where the winning entries will be on display.

This evening’s reception at the Thea Foundation, located at 401 Main St. in North Little Rock, is open to the public and media. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

2015 winners:

Kindergarten

  • Carter Brown, Stagecoach Elementary School (Cabot), 1st Place
  • Rhamiya Smith, Faulk Elementary School (West Memphis), 2nd Place
  • Arabella Johnston, Lakewood Elementary School (North Little Rock), 3rd Place

1st Grade

  • Tevarious Jones, Faulk Elementary School (West Memphis), 1st Place
  • Sasha Walker, Edgewood Elementary School (Pine Bluff), 2nd Place
  • Jacob Acosta, Eastside Elementary School (Cabot), 3rd Place

2nd Grade

  • Fatima Adame, Faulk Elementary School (West Memphis), 1st Place
  • Rylee Lemley, Southside Elementary School (Independence County), 2nd Place
  • Elizabeth Hardcastle, Southside Elementary School (Independence County), 3rd Place

3rd Grade

  • Vincent DeLuca, Carver Elementary School (Little Rock), 1st Place
  • Kiylee Hughes, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 2nd Place
  • Lina Mesa, Stagecoach Elementary School (Cabot), 3rd Place

4th Grade

  • Mason Smith, Magness Creek Elementary School (Cabot), 1st Place
  • Matiyah Rowland, Carver Elementary School (Little Rock), 2nd Place
  • Jadyn Cook, Lakewood Elementary School (North Little Rock), 3rd Place

5th Grade

  • Sarah Grenier, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 1st Place
  • Amanda Booth, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 2nd Place
  • Isabella Balkenhol, Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena), 3rd Place

The winning fifth grade poster, submitted by Sarah Grenier, will be entered into the National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest, hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Information about the 2016 contest will be announced later this year.

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Statewide Tele-Town Hall on Arkansas FOIA

Rutledge to Hold First Statewide Tele-Town Hall on Arkansas FOIA

Mon, Apr 13, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she will hold a statewide tele-town hall meeting to educate the public about the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Rutledge released the following statement:

“Arkansas has a strong FOIA that is regarded across the country as one of the best at holding government accountable and helping citizens stay informed. As the people’s lawyer, I am committed to protecting the democratic ideal of an open and transparent government and helping educate Arkansans about the FOIA. I am excited to use technology in an innovative way to help bring Arkansans closer to their government.”

The statewide tele-town hall will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 23. For those interested in participating, please sign up by emailing foia@arkansasag.gov with your name, telephone number and city.

The tele-town hall will be the first in a series of informational meetings, both traditional as well as webcast, to inform Arkansans about the FOIA.

All that is needed to participate is a telephone. Participants will be given an opportunity to ask Attorney General Rutledge questions related to the FOIA. Those who have signed up in advance will receive an automated phone call just before the tele-town hall begins and will receive instructions on how to participate.

Print copies of the 16th edition of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook are available upon request from the Attorney General’s Office, and an electronic copy of the handbook is available on the Attorney General’s website by visiting arkansasag.gov/media-center/foia.

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Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness
Rutledge Distributes Funds from S&P Settlement

Rutledge Distributes Funds from S&P Settlement to Help Arkansans and Provide for Public Safety Needs

Fri, Apr 10, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that the $21.5 million from the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) settlement will be distributed in accordance with Act 763 of 2013.

This follows her Feb. 3 announcement of the multistate settlement agreement, which stemmed from allegations that S&P misled investors when it rated structured finance securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

“Arkansas received $21.5 million in a multistate settlement that demonstrated no company no matter its size can circumvent the law and take advantage of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “After weeks of deliberations and discussions with Governor Hutchinson, President Pro Tempore Dismang, Speaker Gillam and various stakeholders, I will distribute this settlement to help Arkansans receive workforce training to help the State better compete for good-paying jobs, as well as for public safety and law enforcement needs.”

“I greatly appreciate General Rutledge's plan to direct these settlement dollars toward urgent statewide needs, including the Crime Victims Reparation program, which has faced a funding shortfall in recent years,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “From the beginning, she expressed to me and legislative leaders her desire to use these funds to support important needs of our state. I am grateful for the Attorney General’s cooperation and leadership through this process.”

“Arkansas youth, adults and persons with disabilities have a strong advocate in Attorney General Rutledge,” said Dr. Charisse Childers, director of the Arkansas Department of Career Education. “The department is grateful for these additional resources which will be used to grow our career and technical education and workforce development programs across the State. To grow Arkansas’s economy, we must ensure that workers have the skills to succeed and these funds will help achieve that goal.”

“This is an exciting time at the University of Arkansas System Criminal Justice Institute,” said Dr. Cheryl May, director of CJI. “I greatly appreciate the commitment of Attorney General Rutledge to help CJI build on the long-standing promise to make our schools safer by supporting law enforcement and educational professionals with training and resources. CJI looks forward to continuing this important partnership, which will build on the successes of the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office and the CJI Safe Schools Initiative. Together, we are going to create safer environments for our children to learn.”

“I want to thank Attorney General Rutledge for recognizing the important needs of Arkansas firefighters,” said Greg Gray, legislative chairman of Arkansas State Firefighters Association. “Volunteer fire departments are a critical part of ensuring that our local communities and neighborhoods remain safe and prosperous, and this investment will go a long way in helping provide much needed training and equipment.”

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, $21.5 million was directed to the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund. At the direction of Attorney General Rutledge, $20.5 million will be distributed to the State Treasury. Another $1 million will be retained in the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, an allocation permitted by Arkansas law.

The Attorney General will distribute $2.5 million to the Crime Victims Reparation Fund, with an emphasis on assisting victims of sexual assault; $2 million to the Department of Career Education to be used for education and training grants; $600,000 to the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute to benefit the Safe Schools Initiative and Missing Persons Program; $500,000 to the Department of Health for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; and $500,000 to the Department of Rural Services to provide for the needs and training of local volunteer fire departments. The remaining $14.4 million will be distributed to the State Treasury and will be allocated for public safety and law enforcement programs, including resources to offset the overcrowding facing our local jails.

In early 2013, Arkansas joined the U.S. Department of Justice, the District of Columbia and 18 states in suit against S&P. The federal and state complaints against S&P alleged that despite S&P's repeated statements emphasizing its independence, S&P misled investors when it rated structured finance securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. S&P allowed its analysis to be influenced by its desire to earn lucrative fees from investment bank clients. While at the same time, investors and other market participants, including state regulators, relied on S&P's promises of independence and objectivity. The complaints alleged that the agency knowingly assigned inflated credit ratings to toxic assets packaged and sold by the Wall Street investment banks. The misconduct began as early as 2001 and became particularly severe between 2004 and 2007.

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Office to Launch Intern Program

Attorney General’s Office to Launch Intern Program

Thu, Apr 9, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that her office is launching an intern program for college students seeking to learn more about a career in government and public service.

“Internships can be invaluable for college students to gain real-world experience as they try to decide their career path,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “An internship in the Attorney General’s Office will encourage careers in public service and offer students the opportunity to directly impact people across the State. The Attorney General’s Office already has a well-established law clerk program, but our internship program will benefit students not necessarily interested in law school or not yet in law school.”

Departments include: Civil, Communications, Community Engagement, Criminal, Finance, Information Technology, Medicaid Fraud Control, Opinions and Public Protection.

Applicant packet information is available under the employment section at ArkansasAG.gov.

2015 internship deadlines:

  • Deadline to apply for the summer session is May 1. Summer session will run from June 1 to Aug. 7.
  • Deadline to apply for the fall session is July 1. Fall session will run from Sep. 1 to Dec. 11.

Some interns may be able to arrange for college credit for their internship, depending upon the requirements of their college or university.

Those with questions about the Attorney General’s Office intern program should contact the Human Resources Department at (501) 682-2007 or internship@ArkansasAG.gov.

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