Rutledge Attends White House Conference on Rural ProsperityTue, Jan 30, 2018
Says, ‘rural communities are the backbone of our country’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today attended the White House Conference on Rural Prosperity with State & Local Leaders. The event brought together leaders from around the country to meet with Vice President Pence and cabinet members to discuss how the federal government can assist rural communities, and witnessed signing of a formal agreement between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve coordination and collaboration.
“Vice President Pence reiterated that rural America has been a priority for the Trump Administration from the beginning,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Attorney General, I believe the focus on communities like Ashdown, Lake Village and Yellville will help all of America thrive, and it is refreshing for Washington to acknowledge that rural communities are the backbone of our country. Rural prosperity means American prosperity."
Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke attended the conference, along with Intergovernmental Affairs Director Blake Rollins, Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram and National Economic Council Special Assistant to the President DJ Gribbin.
Rutledge attended two breakout sessions during the event. “Achieving E-Connectivity” featured USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett and Federal Communications Commission Wireline Advisor Jay Schwarz. “Developing the Rural Economy” featured Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs Ted McKinney and USDA Senior Advisor to the Secretary Rebekah Adcock.
Rutledge also attended a lunch discussion with Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Connecticut Agriculture Commission Steven Reviczky, Vice President of NASDA New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte, Agriculture Special Assistant to the President Ray Starling and Special Assistant to the President and Intergovernmental Affairs Deputy Director Doug Hoelscher.
Rutledge Praises EPA’s Approval of Arkansas State Implementation PlanMon, Jan 29, 2018
Says, ‘the state plan brings power back to Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of revisions to the Arkansas Regional Haze State Implementation Plan.
“I am pleased the EPA is doing what is right for Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Under the Obama Administration, the EPA ignored the visibility improvements made by the State of Arkansas and imposed the Federal Implementation Plan, placing expensive regulations on Arkansans to accomplish imperceptible environmental benefit. The state plan gives power back to Arkansas to provide the best plan for the Natural State.”
Rutledge filed litigation in November 2016 against the EPA’s federal plan. Instead of working with the State, the EPA published its proposed Federal Implementation Plan for Arkansas in April 2015 and solicited feedback. Attorney General Rutledge, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and a number of industries, institutions and facilities impacted by the proposed plan provided comments during this time. Despite the comments urging the EPA to withdraw the plan, the final plan was signed in August. Approval of the State Implementation Plan replaces the overreaching Federal Implementation Plan.
Rutledge Sets February Mobile Office LocationsMon, Jan 29, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for February.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and assisted nearly 1,000 Arkansans last year.
Rutledge believes in face-to-face conversations to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents 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.
This year, the Cooperative Extension Service will be on hand at each mobile office to also provide information on the services they provide statewide.
Rutledge continues her partnership with local law enforcement across Arkansas to offer prescription drug take back boxes at each mobile office. Law enforcement will be at all mobile offices to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
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:
Thursday, February 1
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Clark County Cooperative Extension Service
640 South 6th Suite B
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
Tuesday, February 6
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Garland County Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Street
Hot Springs, AR 71901
Thursday, February 8
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Central Arkansas Development Council Benton Senior Activity Center
1800 Citizens Drive
Benton, AR 72015
Tuesday, February 13
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Lonoke County Cooperative Extension Service
2001 Highway 70 E
Lonoke, AR 72086
Thursday, February 15
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Faulkner County Cooperative Extension Service
844 Faulkner Street
Conway, AR 72034
Thursday, February 22
10:30 a.m. – noon
Arkansas County Cooperative Extension Service – DeWitt Office
1009 Liberty Drive
DeWitt, AR 72042
Tuesday, February 27
10 – 11:30 a.m.
Star City Senior Center
201 N. Drew Street
Star City, AR 71667
Rutledge Releases Prescription for Life VideoFri, Jan 26, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today, as part of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, released a video highlighting the first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program that has been launched across Arkansas.
“The opioid drug epidemic knows no bounds and impacts nearly all Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Prescription for Life program is aiming to educate high school students about the dangers of prescription drugs. Arkansas has the highest rate for non-medical use of prescription painkillers in the country for children ages 12-17. This video is just one of the prevention tools in our multifaceted approach for reaching young Arkansans and bringing that number down.”
Prescription for life has launched in 32 schools, reaching more than 2,100 students.
Rutledge Names Communications DirectorFri, Jan 26, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today named Nicole Waugh as communications director for the office.
“Nicole is a seasoned communications professional who will be an invaluable asset to this office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Her years of experience will ensure timely communication with the Arkansans we are charged to protect and serve on a daily basis. Along with a solid background working with local and national media, Nicole brings enthusiasm and a fresh view that will serve her well as my new communications director.”
Waugh, who has been serving as Communications Manager of Government Affairs for the National Apartment Association, began her political career as a field staffer for a California congressional campaign. Nicole spent nearly four years at the National Rifle Association and played a significant role in the association's Public Affairs Division. Waugh holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from the University of California, Davis where she began work in campaign communications.
Waugh replaces Judd Deere who now serves as the director of state & local communications for the Trump White House.
Rutledge Ramps Up Investigation of Opioid ManufacturersWed, Jan 24, 2018
Says, ‘opioid manufacturers have profited substantially from the sale and distribution of opioids in Arkansas’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has retained outside counsel to assist staff lawyers in investigating and potentially prosecuting certain pharmaceutical companies that have contributed to the opioid epidemic.
This investigation is an important step to stopping the rampant abuse and misuse of prescription medications. Arkansas has been disproportionately impacted by the opioid crisis with the number of drug overdose deaths in the state increasing from just over 100 in 1999 to more than 400 in 2016. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control reports Arkansas has the second highest prescribing rate in the country, enough for each person in the state to have more than one opioid prescription in his or her name. Arkansas is also ranked highest in the nation for misuse of painkillers by students, ages 12-17 at 6.2 percent; the national average of 4.7 percent
“Many of these opioid manufacturers have profited substantially from the sale and distribution of opioids in Arkansas and should be held accountable for remedying the crisis they created,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The identified law firms have been selected for their specialized expertise and resources to supplement the work of the staff attorneys so as not to take away from ongoing, important cases the office handles on a daily basis.”
Rutledge has entered into a contract with Dover Dixon Horne PLLC in Little Rock, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in Seattle, Washington, Mike Moore Law Firm and Davidson Bowie PLLC in Mississippi, and McGowan Hood and Felder in South Carolina. Dover Dixon Horne is a well-known and well-respected Little Rock law firm. The other law firms have extensive knowledge in similar complex litigation on behalf of government entities, and they presently represent the states of Ohio, Louisiana and Mississippi in lawsuits against the opioid manufacturers. The firms have been retained on a contingency fee basis according to Arkansas laws that allow the Attorney General’s office to supplement its own staff and resources with outside law firms. If successful in pursuing claims against opioid manufacturers who caused this crisis, the law firms will be paid according to Arkansas law. If the State is not successful, the firms will not get paid.
Today’s announcement is just the newest step in a multifaceted approach to solving the opioid crisis. In the fall, Rutledge launched a new program called Prescription for Life. Prescription for Life is a first-in-the-nation education initiative featuring a digital platform offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 32 schools and reached over 2,100 students. Each year, Rutledge has partnered with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit serves as a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators, and gives an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment. And in addition to the bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Rutledge began partnering in 2016 with local law enforcement across the state to provide prescription drug take back boxes at every mobile office the Attorney General hosts yearly in all 75 counties which has already resulted in nearly 500 pounds of prescription drugs being safely disposed and out of reach of children and those with addictions.