Rutledge Offers First Statewide Elder Abuse ConferenceMon, Mar 2, 2020
Says, ‘conference will provide caregivers and law enforcement with the tools to respond to incidences of suspected maltreatment.’
LITTLE ROCK– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the launch of the first statewide Elder Abuse Conference. Early bird registration is now available for the free training happening Thursday, April 30 at Arkansas State University’s First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
“Protecting our seniors from financial and physical abuse is a top priority,” said Attorney General Rutledge. This conference will provide additional education to our law enforcement officers, caregivers, and family members on identifying suspected maltreatment and how to respond.”
According to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans 60 years and older, have experienced some kind of abuse. As many as five million elderly Americans are estimated to be abused each year.
The public is invited including law enforcement, medical professionals and providers, attorneys and home caregivers to learn how to better protect older and developmentally disabled adults. The statewide conference will cover a broad range of interconnected issues including: caregiver fatigue, financial exploitation, agency roles in protecting elders and endangered adults and communicating with victims who have cognitive impairments.
You can sign up today for the free, all-day training. Lunch is included. An agenda, including speakers, will be provided in the coming weeks. Applications for Continuing Education are in progress. Visit ArkansasAG.gov to register.
Supreme Court to Review Affordable Care Act’s ConstitutionalityMon, Mar 2, 2020
Rutledge says, ‘the individual mandate is unconstitutional’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following today’s announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that it would hear arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s unconstitutional individual mandate, likely during the Court’s 2020 term. Arkansas, in joining an 18-state lawsuit against the federal government, has successfully argued in the Fifth Circuit that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. A decision from the Supreme Court could settle the question whether all of Obamacare must be struck down because the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
“I have long argued the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and it’s time the Supreme Court finally addresses it,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Once the Affordable Care Act with its unconstitutional mandate are behind us, time will come for Congress to move forward and create a comprehensive healthcare law that will work with states and provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.”
In 2012, a majority of the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare against a constitutional challenge because it said the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress’s Tax Power under the U.S. Constitution. But a different majority also held that Congress did not have the power to create the individual mandate under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. As Chief Justice Roberts explained, and the four-justice dissent agreed, the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate commerce – but not to compel it, which is what the individual mandate does.
In 2017, Congress eliminated the tax-penalty portion of the individual mandate as part of President Donald J. Trump’s tax overhaul. Then, in early 2018, Rutledge joined a multistate lawsuit filed in the federal district court in Texas. In this lawsuit, the states argued that Congress rendered all of Obamacare unconstitutional by doing away with the tax penalty. Another group of states, led by California, joined this lawsuit to defend the individual mandate.
After losing in federal district court and on appeal to the Fifth Circuit, California and its allies petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The coalition, that includes Arkansas, opposed California’s petition but also filed a separate petition asking the Supreme Court to also review the district court’s decision to invalidate Obamacare in its entirety. This morning the Supreme Court granted both petitions.
In addition to Arkansas, the coalition – led by Texas – includes the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia, along with the governor of Mississippi.
Rutledge Announces March Mobile Office ScheduleWed, Feb 26, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans. In 2019, Attorney General Mobile Offices served over 2,200 Arkansans.
Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist Arkansans with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
Rutledge continues her partnerships with local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s five years in office, over 800 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices.
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, March 3
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Calhoun County Nutrition Center
1120 Prestress Drive
Hampton, AR 71744
Thursday, March 5
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Wynne Senior Life Center
715 East Canal Street
Wynne, AR 72396
Tuesday, March 10
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Nashville Senior Adult Center
206 East Howard Street
Nashville, AR 71852
Van Buren County
Thursday, March 12
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Clinton Senior Center
311 Yellowjacket Lane
Clinton, AR 72031
Wednesday, March 18
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Searcy County Senior Activity & Wellness Center
509 Zach Road
Marshall, AR 72650
Thursday, March 19
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Rison Senior Citizens Center
730 North Pecan Street
Rison, AR 71665
Tuesday, March 24
10:30 a.m. to noon
White Hall Community Center
9801 Dollarway Road
White Hall, AR 71602
Thursday, March 26
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Fordyce Senior Citizen Center
608 Moro Street
Fordyce, AR 71742
Rutledge Announces Bipartisan, Multistate Investigation of JUULTue, Feb 25, 2020
Says, ‘Misinformation and inaccurate advertising has run rampant in the vaping industry’
LITTLE ROCK– Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced joining a bipartisan, multistate investigation of JUUL Labs. The 39-state multistate coalition is investigating JUUL’s marketing and sales practices, including targeting of youth, claims regarding nicotine content and statements about risks, safety and effectiveness as a smoking cessation device.
“Misinformation and inaccurate advertising has run rampant in the vaping industry, enticing our youth to use a virtually unknown product” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Millions have been put at risk and it’s time to fight back against JUUL for making profits through deceptive practices.”
While traditional cigarette use has plummeted among young people, vaping is skyrocketing. From 2017 to 2018, Arkansas saw a 78 percent increase in high school students vaping and a 48 percent increase in middle school students vaping.
Rutledge has been at the forefront of the fight against the vaping crisis. In 2019, she hosted two Youth Vaping Summits in Little Rock and Bentonville, bringing medical experts together to help present facts and address the public on the real dangers associated with e-cigarette use.
Rutledge also issued an Enforcement Advisory to 100 online e-cigarette retailers, warning them that it is illegal to sell or ship any nicotine products, including e-cigarettes and e-liquids, to consumers in Arkansas. The advisory warned of potential legal action if businesses are found selling to minors over the internet.
In October 2019, Rutledge filed suit against three online e-cigarette retailers for violating Arkansas laws. By selling and shipping nicotine products and devices to Arkansas children without age verification, the companies are in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
To learn more about the dangers of youth vaping, visit ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Files PBM Brief with U.S. Supreme CourtTue, Feb 25, 2020
Rutledge says, ‘the stranglehold PBMs have on drug prices is driving many local pharmacies out of business’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a brief Monday with the United States Supreme Court in Arkansas’s pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) case. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in that case on April 27, 2020. In this case, Rutledge seeks to protect rural Arkansas’s small businesses and save community pharmacies from abusive PBM payment practices.
“For many Arkansans, we interact most frequently with our local pharmacists, but the stranglehold PBMs have on drug prices is driving many local pharmacies out of business,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It’s time we hold PBMs accountable for skyrocketing prescription drug prices and directly hurting Arkansan’s pocketbooks.”
In 2015, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted Act 900 to regulate PBMs who play the role of intermediary, reimbursing pharmacists for prescription drugs dispensed to insurance beneficiaries. Before Act 900’s enactment, PBMs were found to reimburse pharmacies at less than a pharmacy’s cost to acquire a drug, causing more than 16 percent of rural pharmacies to close in recent years.
In 2015, PCMA filed a lawsuit to block enforcement of Act 900. U.S. District Judge Brian Miller ruled Act 900 was preempted by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and in 2018 the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Miller’s ruling
Rutledge petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2018. Rutledge’s petition was supported by the U.S. Solicitor General and a bipartisan, 32-state coalition led by California.
The case is Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No. 18-540.
Rutledge Introduces Spring Law Clerks to Attorney General’s OfficeFri, Feb 21, 2020
Says, ‘The law clerk program allows aspiring lawyers to put their academia into action’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for the spring session to the Attorney General’s Office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.
“The law clerk program allows aspiring lawyers to put their academia into action while having exposure to some of the best lawyers and public servants in the State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Law clerks play a valuable role for the office as well as gain a better understanding of the fulfilling work of public service.”
Sierra Glover, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from Harding University with a degree in Criminal Justice in 2018. Glover is from Marmaduke and graduated from Marmaduke High School in 2014.
Bryce Moore, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. Moore is from Sherwood and graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2013.
Jackson Taylor, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science. Taylor is from Little Rock and graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 2014.
Caitlin Leggett, a second-year student the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2017 with degrees in Political Science and Journalism. Leggett is from Blytheville and graduated from Gosnell High School in 2013.
Pierce Caviness, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with degrees in History and Anthropology in 2017. Caviness is from Hazen and graduated from Hazen High School in 2012.
Nathan Reiter, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2018 with a degree in Business Administration. Reiter is from Hooks, Texas, and graduated from Hooks High School in 2015.
Amanda Partridge, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Harding University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Partridge is from Little Rock and graduated from Central Arkansas Christian High School in 2008.
Will McGrath, a second-year at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Department. He graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Business Administration in 2017. McGrath is from The Woodlands, Texas and graduated from The Woodlands Christian Academy in 2013.
Sarah Fendley, a third-year student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Department. She graduated from Lyon College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art in 2009 and from Henderson State University with a Master of Liberal Arts degree in 2013. Fendley is from Hot Springs and graduated from Lake Hamilton High School in 2005.
For more information about the Attorney General Office’s law clerk program or internship program visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.