Rutledge Applauds Supreme Court WOTUS DecisionTue, Jan 23, 2018
Says, ‘Today’s unanimous victory in the Supreme Court is a big win for Arkansans and proves the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot outwit the American legal system’
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds today’s announcement by the Supreme Court to unanimously reverse the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and reaffirm Arkansas’s decision to challenge that rule in federal district court. In August 2015, Arkansas and 12 other states were successful in securing a nationwide injunction in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota which challenged the definition of “Waters of the United States,” (WOTUS) against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirms the District of North Dakota’s authority to enjoin the unlawful WOTUS rule.
“Today’s unanimous victory in the Supreme Court is a big win for Arkansans and proves the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot outwit the American legal system” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The swift and strategic response of our coalition of attorneys general in 2015 was the best way to address the political agendas of our overreaching federal government.”
The original WOTUS rule was issued in June 2015 and allowed the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assert expansive federal authority over a vast number of small bodies of water, roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years. The EPA has proposed to rescind the WOTUS rule, and Rutledge and colleagues from 24 states have also filed comments urging the EPA to fully eliminate the Obama-era rule and enforce the pre-existing WOTUS definition.
Rutledge Urges EPA to Fully Rescind Clean Power PlanFri, Jan 19, 2018
Says, ‘the Clean Power Plan is both unlawful and bad policy’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced she has submitted a letter with 25 other states and state agencies encouraging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to permanently rescind the so-called Clean Power Plan.
“Last fall, the EPA began rolling back the so-called Clean Power Plan,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This was a great first step to redirect power back to the states. It is now time for the Plan to be completely rescinded. I urge EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to recognize that the Clean Power Plan is both unlawful and bad policy.”
The bipartisan coalition filed its public comment letter as part of the EPA’s proposed repeal of the Power Plan, encouraging the agency to eliminate the overreaching Obama-era rule and return authority to manage energy resources to the states.
Arkansas joined the West Virginia-led letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, along with the Louisiana Public Service Commission, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
Rutledge Launches Prescription for Life in Morrilton High SchoolThu, Jan 18, 2018
Morrilton students get their first look at Prescription for Life
MORRILTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today continued to promote the first-in-the-nation education initiative called “Prescription for Life” at Morrilton High School. Prescription for Life was created by the Attorney General’s office and features a digital platform to help high school students in the State understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse.
The Attorney General’s office is covering the cost of the program, which means Prescription for Life comes at no cost to participating schools in Arkansas. Since the program launched in September, it is now operating in 32 schools across the State and more than 2,100 Arkansas students have participated in Prescription for Life.
“Prescription for Life has started a conversation in many high schools across Arkansas about the dangers of abusing and misusing prescription medications,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through this program, teachers and administrators are showing a commitment to tackling the opioid epidemic. It is my goal that this educational program will become a model for other states that will no doubt help save lives.”
Rutledge observed a health class of students going through the 30-minute course, which was followed up with a post-assessment survey to measure changes in students’ attitudes and behavior.
“We are excited to have Attorney General Rutledge to present her Prescription for Life program,” said Principal Danny Ketcherside. “I think it will greatly benefit our students and our community overall. The students and staff are excited about the new program and think it is going to be beneficial for them in the future.”
Using an evidence-based public health approach, the digital course empowers high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. The course is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and State academic standards.
The self-paced modular course uses video, animations, simulations and interactivity to deliver a personalized, self-guided learning experience. The real-life simulations demonstrate the impact misuse can have on students’ physical and mental health, relationships and future goals while the scenario-based exercises help students practice how to support other students in their choices regarding the safe use of prescription drugs.
Educators from the Attorney General’s office are also available to conduct teacher in-service trainings in person and through webcasts and give presentations to parent and community groups throughout the State about how to talk with young people about risks associated with opioid use and how to recognize signs that their loved ones are abusing drugs.
The curriculum is part of the Attorney General’s already robust prescription drug abuse prevention initiative. During 2017, more than 160 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas.
Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arkansas, increasing from 287 in 2015 to 335 in 2016, according to data from the State Crime Lab. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and double the death rate a decade ago. That is more than the number of deaths from car accidents in 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of drug overdose deaths – six out of 10 – involve an opioid.
Find more information about the program and how to bring it to schools or other settings at ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Participates in Conversations with Women of America event at the White HouseTue, Jan 16, 2018
Says, ‘Too often women are pigeon-holed as only caring about certain issues’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General released the following statement after attending the White House Conversations with Women of America event today.
“Too often women are pigeon-holed as only caring about certain issues when, in fact, all issues are women’s issues,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I am proud to stand on behalf of women in Arkansas and across the country in discussions with the Trump Administration about eliminating barriers to job creation and economic growth, ensuring we effectively combat the opioid epidemic and addressing concerns over illegal immigration and national security.”
Rutledge participated in panel discussions with top White House officials including Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson today to discuss economic development in rural states and communities; how the Administration plans to lead the efforts to combat the opioid abuse crisis; providing guidance and opportunities for states to combat fraud and abuses in our Medicaid systems; and how best to foster a healthier relationship between state and federal governments when targeting human trafficking.
President Donald J. Trump also made a surprise appearance at the event recognizing a handful of women including Attorney General Rutledge.
Winter Webcast Series to be Hosted by Attorney General’s OfficeFri, Jan 12, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge opened registration for a Winter Webcast Series of trainings on common senior scams, dating violence prevention, internet safety, identity theft, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and prescription drug abuse and misuse prevention.
“This series of webcasts is an important tool for Arkansans to learn about the diverse resources provided by the Attorney General’s office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Technology gives us a unique opportunity to connect with Arkansans across the state. Once again these trainings will be available to help individuals navigate the internet safely, recognize warning signs of dating violence, avoid common scams and identity theft and access public information through the Freedom of Information Act. To educate more people on the pain pill epidemic, I have added a program about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse.”
From noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, participants can learn about scams that often target seniors, such as the Favorite Grandchild Scam, IRS Scam, Work-from-Home Scam, Door-to-Door Scam and many more. Scam artists are always finding new ways to try to trick consumers out of their hard earned money. This webcast will highlight some common scams, offer ways to spot the scam and what to do if you have been scammed.
On Wednesday, Jan. 24, a Break the Cycle training will be offered from noon-1 p.m. Break the Cycle is a leading national nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive dating abuse programs. Participants will learn about dating abuse, methods for intervention and how to implement a Healthy Relationships 101 session.
The internet safety training, or Digital You, will take place from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Digital You is a comprehensive, interactive educational program created by AT&T and Common Sense Media to offer tools, tips, apps, guidance and education for people of all ages and levels of online experience to learn more about how to have a safe and secure online experience. Rutledge adopted the curriculum in 2016.
A training to prevent being a victim of ID theft, which occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes, most commonly to obtain access to credit in your name, will be offered on from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14.
A FOIA webcast covering public records and meetings will be available from 10 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, Feb. 28.
And the Prescription for Life webcast brings a first-in-the-nation curriculum to Arkansas high school students. The digital platform addresses the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. The program is free to high schools across Arkansas. The webcast will be available from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7.
The online trainings are free and open to the public. Registration for each one can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Faulkner County Man for Crimes Involving ChildrenTue, Jan 9, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of Steven Wayne Bramlett, of Conway, on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony.
Bramlett, 56, was arrested by the Attorney General’s office Cyber Crimes Unit. He is being held in the Faulkner County Detention Center on $1 million bond.
Special agents in the Attorney General’s office began investigating Bramlett after agents determined that someone using a computer at Bramlett’s address downloaded sexually explicit material involving children.
Bramlett was convicted in 1979 of attempted capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison. In 2015, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned his sentence because he was 17 at the time of his offense. He was resentenced and released in February 2016.