Rutledge Reorganizes Civil DepartmentWed, Jul 1, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a reorganization of the Civil Department at the Attorney General’s Office. The State Agencies Division, which had functioned as a division within the Civil Department will now function as its own department. Meredith Blaise Rebsamen, a member of the Attorney General’s staff for nearly six years, has been named deputy attorney general for the State Agencies Department.
Attorneys in the State Agencies Department provide legal representation to the more than 200 State agencies, boards, commissions, two-year colleges and other entities. Agency attorneys provide day-to-day counseling, as well as assist their client agencies with promulgating rules and regulations, complying with the Freedom of Information Act, resolving personnel disputes and interpreting laws passed by the Arkansas General Assembly. The Civil Department will continue to represent State agencies, officials, boards and commissions when any are named as defendants in civil lawsuits.
“Arkansans deserve to have the Office of the Attorney General function as the State’s top law firm,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Included in that responsibility is ensuring that the office is best representing and providing top-notch legal advice to Arkansas’s numerous agencies, boards, commissions, colleges and other entities to resolve problems efficiently.
“I am excited to have Meredith as the new deputy attorney general of the State Agencies Department. Meredith has demonstrated herself as one of the finest attorneys in the Attorney General’s Office, and I have no doubt that through her experience, leadership and professionalism, the people of Arkansas will be well served.”
Rebsamen joined the Attorney General’s Office as an assistant attorney general in the Agency Division of the Civil Department in October of 2009. During her tenure as an agency attorney, Rebsamen has represented nearly 50 state boards, agencies and commissions, as well as several two-year colleges. She previously practiced as a litigation associate at the Rose Law Firm. Rebsamen graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law where she was executive editor of the UALR Law Review.
Since taking office, Rutledge has reorganized the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Public Protection Department to include sworn law enforcement officers, created the Military and Veterans Affairs Initiative, launched Attorney General Mobile Offices, started a series of Rutledge Roundtables being held in all 75 counties and plans to hire Arkansas’s first Solicitor General.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Chicot County Woman for Medicaid FraudWed, Jul 1, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of Tabitha Woods of Dermott by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit on one charge of Medicaid Fraud, a Class B felony.
Woods, 43, was arrested in Dermott. She is accused of billing Medicaid for providing services for her mother while she was clocked in and working as a contract employee at the Arkansas Department of Correction Delta Regional Unit. Woods also billed Medicaid while her mother was admitted to a long-term care facility. Woods was transported to the Pulaski County Jail where bond was set at $250,000.
Medicaid fraud occurs when Medicaid providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. Woods is awaiting trial.
Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for Early JulyTue, Jun 30, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for the first half of July.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city.
The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter/com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:
Tuesday, July 7
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Hampton City Hall, Council Room
121 N. 2nd St.
Hampton, AR 71744
Tuesday, July 7
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Fordyce City Hall, Council Room
101 S. Main St.
Fordyce, AR 71742
Thursday, July 9
10 a.m. – noon
Helena-West Helena City Hall, Lobby
226 Perry St.
Helena, AR 72342
Thursday, July 9
2 – 4 p.m.
Mid-Delta Senior Citizen Center, Lobby
705 W. 6th St.
Brinkley, AR 72021
Wednesday, July 15
10 a.m. – noon
Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center, Lobby
945 S. College Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Wednesday, July 15
2 – 4 p.m.
Van Buren Municipal Complex, Council Room
1003 Broadway St.
Van Buren, AR 72956
Rutledge: Supreme Court Says the EPA Cannot Ignore CostsMon, Jun 29, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Michigan v. EPA, a case in which Arkansas was a party. The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must consider the economic costs of complying with the regulations it imposes.
“Today is a victory for Arkansas’s economy and consumers as the Supreme Court reined in the EPA. We all want to protect the environment to make sure that we pass along clean air and clean water to future generations. I’m pleased the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA cannot ignore the costs of those regulations it seeks to impose. As Justice Antonin Scalia indicated in his majority opinion, the Clean Air Act makes several mentions of costs, which should be one of the many factors the agency considers as it proposes new rules. The EPA’s own estimate of the cost of compliance with the challenged regulation was $9.6 billion per year, with only $4 to $6 million per year in benefits.
“This ruling should serve as a reminder to the EPA that it is not above the law. Last month, the EPA put forward its unprecedented rule to expand its authority over numerous isolated bodies of water, a clear violation of the Clean Water Act. In addition, later this summer, the EPA is expected to finalize its Clean Power Plan, which will seek to impose illegal requirements on States and power plants. Both rules exceed the intent provided by Congress and will have devastating effects on Arkansas. In light of today’s ruling, I encourage the EPA to withdraw its WOTUS rule and carefully consider the legality of the Clean Power Plan.”
Rutledge Comments on U.S. Supreme Court Glossip v. Gross DecisionMon, Jun 29, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Glossip v. Gross. The Supreme Court upheld a procedure used by some States to carry out executions by lethal injection.
“The U.S. Supreme Court today has once again ruled that capital punishment by lethal injection is constitutional. Today’s decision is an important step toward ensuring that executions can be carried out and that justice is served. The Attorney General’s Office continues to handle ongoing litigation concerning Arkansas’s lethal injection statute, and I am confident the State will prevail in the end, allowing executions to resume.”
Rutledge Joins Lawsuit Challenging the EPA’s WOTUS RuleMon, Jun 29, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined with 12 other States in filing a complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) challenging a new rule defining “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, under the Clean Water Act. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota.
“From the beginning, I have explained that this rule from the EPA and the Corps goes beyond the intent of Congress under the Clean Water Act and will negatively impact Arkansas’s agriculture community – a community that accounts for one in every six jobs across the State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have also indicated that I was prepared to take any and all legal action to prevent implementation of this unlawful regulation, which is why I am proud to join 12 other states in filing this lawsuit today. I am confident that the courts will once again affirm that local oversight and local control is the best way to protect our waters.”
In the complaint, the States contend the new definition of WOTUS violates provisions of the Clean Water Act as set forth by Congress, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the U.S. Constitution.
The expansive new rule brings numerous isolated bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Corps, which will result in landowners having to seek additional federal permits or face substantial fines and federal criminal enforcement actions if they do not comply.
The States are seeking to have the rule vacated and the EPA and the Corps enjoined from enforcing the new definition of WOTUS.
The States assert that the EPA’s new rule wrongly broadens federal authority by placing a majority of water and land resources management in the hands of the federal government. Congress and the courts have repeatedly affirmed the States have primary responsibility for the protection of intrastate waters and land management. The States argue that the burdens created by new requirements from the EPA on waters and lands are harmful to the States and will negatively affect farmers, developers and landowners, and thus the overall economy.
In addition to Arkansas, Rutledge is joined in filing today’s lawsuit by attorneys general from Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, as well as the New Mexico Environmental Department and the New Mexico Office of State Engineer.
A copy of the complaint is available by clicking here.