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EPA Moves Forward with WOTUS Rule

Rutledge Disappointed EPA Moves Forward with WOTUS Rule

Wed, May 27, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement following the decision by the Obama administration to move forward with the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” rule.

“I am disappointed in the administration’s decision to move forward with a final rule, which goes beyond the scope of the Clean Water Act passed by Congress and fails to address the concerns raised by the public,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The final rule will allow the Environmental Protection Agency to unfairly target farmers and ranchers. Under this rule, any member of the Arkansas agriculture community who has water running through his or her private property, regardless of size, could be in violation of this law by performing everyday tasks like plowing and the application of pesticides and fertilizer. My office continues to review the final rule and is prepared to take appropriate legal action to prevent implementation of this unlawful regulation.”

Attorney General Rutledge testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in March urging the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers. In 2012, agriculture added $20.1 billion to the Arkansas economy, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

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Immigration Executive Action Request Denied

Fifth Circuit Denies Federal Government’s Request to Implement President’s Executive Action on Immigration

Tue, May 26, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement following the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to deny the Obama Administration’s request to begin implementing the President’s execution action on immigration. This decision follows a federal judge halting the executive action in a Feb. 16 ruling.

“This unilateral action from the President was a drastic violation of the law,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “For more than 200 years, this nation has been governed on a system of checks and balances between three separate but equal branches of government. The President violated that system by bypassing Congress, and today’s ruling from the Fifth Circuit continues to prevent the President’s unlawful action on immigration policy from moving forward.”

Arkansas is part of a 26-state coalition led by Texas, which is fighting the President’s unlawful executive actions with regard to immigration. Joining Arkansas and Texas are: 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, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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Remembering and Honoring the Fallen

Rutledge Celebrates Memorial Day by Remembering and Honoring the Fallen

Mon, May 25, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in recognition of Memorial Day.

“Today is Memorial Day, a day when we pause to reflect on the bravery and heroism of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price to protect the United States and our freedoms,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I offer my prayers and heartfelt appreciation to the families of Arkansas’s fallen soldiers. These individuals humbly stood firm to protect all of us, and their devotion to country makes me proud to be an American.”

Rutledge will attend the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at 1501 W. Maryland Ave. in North Little Rock. The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will serve as the keynote speaker. A picnic, hosted by the Arkansas Veterans Coalition, will be held at Sherwood Forest immediately following the ceremony.

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First Visit to Morgan Nick Foundation

Rutledge Makes First Visit to Morgan Nick Foundation

Thu, May 21, 2015

ALMA – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today made her first visit to the Morgan Nick Foundation headquarters in Alma. During her stop, Rutledge toured the facility and met with Colleen Nick, Morgan’s mother, founder of the foundation and board member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“Monday is National Missing Children’s Day, and I want to assure Colleen, as well as all other families across Arkansas who have missing loved ones, that they are not forgotten,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Monday will not only be a time for us to remember those who are missing but also recommit ourselves to doing everything possible to locate them.”

“Standing shoulder to shoulder in partnership with the Attorney General’s Office and the amazing people of Arkansas, we are continuing to fight together in hope for Morgan and every person who is missing,” said Colleen Nick.

Rutledge and Nick encourage families and loved ones of missing persons to attend the Attorney General’s Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event on June 10 and bring with them as much information as possible about their missing loved ones, such as police reports, photographs and dental records. Forensic analysts will be at the event to take DNA samples.

Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action, an all-day event, will take place at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. It will include a law enforcement training session during the morning, a luncheon hosted by Rutledge, and an afternoon information session that will allow for DNA collection for families of the missing. Representatives from the Morgan Nick Foundation, State Crime Lab, State Police Criminal Investigations Division, FBI and National Unidentified and Missing Persons System will be available to assist families as part of the missing persons initiative. Every service offered at the event is free of charge.

Register for the event at ArkansasAG.gov/our-office/sponsored-events/.

On the evening of June 9, 1995, Morgan Nick was kidnapped while playing with friends during a little league game in Alma. A massive investigation ensued and continues, but Morgan remains missing. The foundation believes that to reduce the number of child abductions in the future, we must educate our children and empower them with the skills necessary to protect them from the possible dangers of abduction.

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Credit Reporting Agencies Settlement

Rutledge Announces $6 Million Multi-State Settlement with Credit Reporting Agencies

Thu, May 21, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, with 30 other state attorneys general, have announced a major settlement with three national credit reporting agencies – Equifax Information Systems LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc. and TransUnion LLC. The settlement is a result of a multistate investigation initiated in 2012 by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Under the terms of the settlement, the credit reporting agencies have agreed to pay the participating states a total $6 million, of which Arkansas will receive $113,876.33, and make a number of changes to their business practices to benefit consumers.

The investigation that began in 2012 focused on consumer disputes about credit report errors, monitoring and disciplining data furnishers (providers of credit reporting information), accuracy in consumer credit reports and the marketing of credit monitoring products to consumers who call the credit reporting agencies to dispute information on their credit report.

“Arkansas consumers should be able to trust that they will receive a fair and accurate representation of their credit from any reporting agency,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These three agencies broke that trust and are being held accountable for their actions. This settlement will ensure proper safeguards are in place so that consumers are not provided with errors and misinformation about their credit.”

A violation of the settlement by any of the credit reporting agencies may be enforced by the states, according to individual state laws.

Under the settlement, the credit reporting agencies have agreed to increase monitoring of data furnishers, to require additional information from furnishers of certain types of data, to limit direct-to-consumer marketing, to provide greater protections for consumers who dispute information on their credit reports, to limit certain information that can be added to a credit report, to provide additional consumer education, and to comply with state and federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The following are key provisions of the settlement.

Higher standards for data furnishers:

  • The credit reporting agencies must maintain information about problem data furnishers and provide a list of those furnishers to the states upon request.
  • The credit reporting agencies and data furnishers must use a better, more detailed system to share data.

Limits to direct-to-consumer marketing:

  • The credit reporting agencies cannot market credit monitoring services to a consumer during a dispute phone call until the dispute portion of the call has ended.
  • The credit reporting agencies must tell consumers that purchasing a product is not a requirement for disputing information on their credit reports.

Added protections for consumers who dispute credit reporting information:

  • The credit reporting agencies must implement an escalation process for handling complicated disputes, such as those involving identity theft, fraud, or mixed files — where one consumer’s information is mixed with another’s.
  • Each credit reporting agency must notify the other agencies if it finds that one consumer’s information has been mixed with another consumer.
  • The credit reporting agencies must send a consumer’s supporting documents to the data furnisher.
  • Consumers may obtain one additional free credit report in a 12-month period if they dispute information on their credit report and a change is made as a result of the dispute.

Limits to certain information that can be added to a consumer’s credit report:

  • The credit reporting agencies are generally prohibited from adding information about fines and tickets to credit reports.
  • The credit reporting agencies cannot place medical debt on a credit report until 180 days after the account is reported to the credit reporting agency, which gives consumers time to work out issues with their insurance companies.
  • The credit reporting agencies must require debt collectors to provide the original creditor’s name and information about the debt before the debt information can be added to a credit report.

Additional consumer education:

The changes required under the settlement will be implemented in three phases to allow the credit reporting agencies to update their IT systems and procedures with data furnishers. All changes must be completed by three years and 90 days following the settlement’s effective date.

Participating in the settlement are the attorneys general from: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

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Internet Safety Event for Lonoke Youth

Rutledge and Google Host Internet Safety Event for Lonoke Youth

Tue, May 19, 2015

LONOKE – Today, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Google representatives paid a visit to Lonoke to deliver the Online Safety Roadshow, an online safety assembly developed by Google for middle school students.

Two Google employees delivered the 45 minute presentation, which focused on five tips for staying safe and being smart online. They covered topics including: thinking before you share, setting strong passwords, using settings, identifying online scams and being positive online.

Attorney General Rutledge participated in today’s presentation at the Gina Cox Center. She opened the assembly by expressing the benefits of technology but also the importance of online safety to the students.

“Technological advances bring both exciting opportunities and greater risk to our children as they use computers, smartphones and tablets,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am committed to making Arkansas a leader in online safety by teaching our students how to safely use the Internet. I am proud to bring Google to Arkansas to advance our mutual goal of keeping our children safe online.”

“With students increasingly having access to the Internet through cell phones and other devices, it is important that they learn to use these tools responsibly,” said Sana Rahman, a Google spokesperson. “The Online Safety Roadshow teaches how to be smart and safe online through a fun and interactive assembly.”

The Online Safety Roadshow is designed to educate parents and students on how to be more successful and safe online. The presentation teaches students how to be smart about the content they share online.

For more tips about how to keep yourself and your family safe online, visit google.com/safetycenter.

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