Rutledge Files Suit Against Alert AmericaThu, Aug 30, 2018
Says, ‘Alert America willfully chose to deceive and violate the trust of many Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit today against Alert America LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Arkansans who pay for services expect to get what they pay for,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Companies like Alert America that act dishonestly will not be tolerated in Arkansas. Alert America willfully chose to deceive and violate the trust of many Arkansans, and I will continue to pursue companies that take advantage of Arkansans’ hard-earned money.”
Alert America sold third-party alarm-monitoring services to Arkansas consumers, and many of its contracts included a prepaid service contract. Alert America closed its business and failed to remit payments to the third party. As a result, many Arkansans had services discontinued without any money being returned to consumers who had prepaid for services they never received and without any notice from Alert concerning the cancellation.
The Attorney General’s Office has discovered at least 67 affected Arkansans. Consumers report they were first notified by a third-party alarm service company that their accounts would be closed, despite having prepaid for services. The third-party company informed consumers that Alert America had terminated its relationship with the third party and had not remitted the consumers’ prepayment to the third party. Some consumers have reported losing more than $1,000 for services not received.
Rutledge is asking the court to impose civil penalties, restitution for the affected consumers, attorneys’ fees, costs, an injunction, and other relief against Alert America. Violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act carry civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation.
The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Arkansans can file consumer complaints with the Attorney General’s Office on ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge Announces Speakers for 2018 Law Enforcement SummitWed, Aug 29, 2018
Will include Utah Attorney General Reyes and former Florida Violent Fugitive Task Force member Jeffrey McGill
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the full slate of speakers for the 16th Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be held on Oct. 2 at the Benton Event Center in Benton. The annual event is a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including officers, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.
“As Arkansas’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, it is important for me to offer trainings to our law enforcement on topics such as human trafficking and emergency situations involving individuals on the autism spectrum,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The annual Law Enforcement Summit provides a unique opportunity for our men and women in blue to network and learn valuable knowledge as they protect us in our communities. I encourage all officers to register to attend so they can hear and learn from these remarkable speakers.”
This year’s summit will begin with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes discussing human trafficking prevention. Attorney General Reyes has been a leader and an international voice in the fight against human trafficking and continues to lead Utah to aggressively fight through education campaigns, support of anti-human trafficking legislation, victim recovery and advocacy. This is accomplished through grassroots and non-governmental organizations’ efforts, partnerships with local law enforcement officers and agencies, as well as work initiated by his office through the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force and prosecutors of the Utah SECURE Strike Force. Reyes’ remarks and presentation will begin at 8:30 a.m.
Rutledge will also welcome Dennis Debbaudt, who will speak at 9:45 a.m. Debbaudt will speak on autism risk and safety management because just as each emergency differs from the next, so do individuals involved, especially in regard to individuals on the autism spectrum. Officers are trained to respond to crisis situations with certain protocols, but these protocols may not always be the best way to interact with individuals on the autism spectrum. It is critical that first responders have working knowledge of autism and the wide variety of behaviors individuals on the autism spectrum may exhibit in emergency situations.
During a noon luncheon, Rutledge will again recognize one outstanding law enforcement officer from each county in addition to the statewide and regional award winners who will be announced.
The afternoon will include a presentation from Jeffrey McGill, formerly with the Okalossa County, Florida, Violent Fugitive Task Force. McGill will discuss surviving traumatic stress. This training will address the far reaches of a critical incident and what officers, supervisors, trainers and families need to know about traumatic stress.
Sworn officers who attend the Summit will receive a Bayco MT-120 Mini-TAC light.
Registration is open and available at ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Sets September Mobile Office LocationsFri, Aug 24, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for September.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to 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 it provides 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, Sept. 6
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Bradley County Municipal Building
104 N. Myrtle St.
Warren, AR 71671
Friday, Sept. 7
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Maumelle Center on the Lake
2 Club Manor Drive
Maumelle, AR 72113
Tuesday, Sept. 11
10:30 a.m. – noon
Searcy County Civic Center
515 Zack Road
Marshall, AR 72650
Thursday, Sept. 13
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Paragould Community Center
Main Conference Room
3404 Linwood Drive
Paragould, AR 72450
Thursday, Sept. 13
10:30 a.m. – noon
TC Vaughan Senior Adult Center
706 N. Division St.
Morrilton, AR 72110
Tuesday, Sept. 18
10:30 a.m. – noon
Drew County Courthouse
210 S. Main St.
Monticello, AR 71655
Thursday, Sept. 20
10:30 a.m. – noon
Hempstead County Cooperative Extension
Courthouse, First Floor
400 S. Washington St.
Hope, AR 71801
Tuesday, Sept. 25
10:30 a.m. – noon
Izard County Cooperative Extension Service
79 Municipal Drive
Melbourne, AR 72556
Thursday, Sept. 27
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Ozarka College - Ash Flat
64 College Drive
Ash Flat, AR 72513
ICYMI: Trump’s Clean Energy Plan Reinvigorates FederalismFri, Aug 24, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Thursday, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauding President Trump’s announcement to replace the so-called Clean Power Plan , appeared in Real Clear Politics.
President Donald J. Trump’s announcing his plan to gut and replace the so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP) will be greeted with cheers across America as states reassume control over their own emissions standards. The president and Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler deserve thanks, as well as the dozens of state attorneys general who leveled the first legal challenges to the validity of President Obama’s sweeping measures in federal court. If it were not for our bipartisan efforts, the voices of average citizens would never have been heard. State attorneys general stood tall and won a historic stay at the Supreme Court of the United States to halt the CPP.
But the fight didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, 25 states encouraged the EPA to continue efforts toward rescinding this plan. The Obama administration’s CPP was drafted in the shadow of the Paris Agreement, and designed more to win the praise of Europe’s elite rather than to protect our environment, states’ rights, and the American economy. In a state like Arkansas where over half of the electricity is responsibly generated from coal-fired power plants, the impact would have affected the pocketbooks of Arkansas families. These increased costs would have had a direct impact on the state’s ability to grow good-paying jobs with fair, reasonable electric rates.
As a seventh-generation Arkansan raised on a cattle farm and married to a row-crop farmer, I can assure Americans that no one cares about clean air and water more than I do. But I do not care for heavy-handed and unlawful regulations from Washington that will hurt Arkansans and all Americans.
We should brace ourselves for the deluge of negative press surrounding the president’s announcement. Those on the outer edges of the left will scream that the reversal of Obama’s climate policy will result in a doomsday environmental scenario. The sky is not falling — figuratively or literally — so let me give you some honest talk.
Before President Obama’s gross executive overreach with the CPP, the EPA’s authority in this space had been detailed under the 1970 Clean Air Act. The effects of this landmark legislation — a 73 percent reduction in six key pollutants — have been remarkable, but they were still somehow deemed insufficient by the previous administration.
The proposed CPP would have granted the EPA authority to issue top-down regulatory mandates, instituting a one-size-fits-all policy that would have cost billions of dollars per year according to the Energy Information Administration’s analysis of the plan. Moreover, it would have caused double-digit electricity price spikes in the majority of states. Perversely, these costs would have disproportionately impacted minorities and senior citizens, many of whom live in low- or middle-income households. Not only did a congressional bipartisan majority oppose the CPP, but the Supreme Court stepped in, staying the rule while it worked its way through the lower courts.
Under President Trump’s new proposal, the EPA will refrain from setting an ironclad presumptive standard of performance; instead, hand-in-glove with the states, it will establish emissions guidelines for state plans that tackle greenhouse-gas emission from operating coal plants. Specifically, the states will have three years to determine, using the EPA’s “best system of emission reduction” norms, where efficiencies can be found. Instead of arbitrarily picking winners and losers, the president’s replacement rule will safeguard jobs and provide breathing room for states to create innovative energy portfolios — all without spurring the artificial acceleration of alternative energy sources and overburdening our budgets.
The legions of detractors, both domestically and internationally, are crying foul, but does the science support their cause? No. In calculating the regulatory impact analysis of the new rule, the EPA found that replacing the CPP with the current plan could reduce 2030 CO2 emissions by 0.7 percent; reduce co-pollutant emissions (SO2 and NOX) by 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively, and mercury by between 0.5 percent and 1 percent. Although it will take some time and hard work when the new plan is fully implemented, we are looking at CO2 reductions nearly 35 percent below 2005 levels. And best yet, these figures generally track with the projections under the CPP but are achieved more methodically, intelligently, and legally.
America has been and will remain the global leader in balancing energy production with environmental concerns. We command this envied position for a few reasons, among them our strong economy and a dynamic marketplace. When the federal government decides to meddle with the energy sector, not only are we damaged economically, but the military and civil security afforded by a robust energy structure is damaged. Here, our environmentalist friends would do well to remember that, without sufficient wealth and security, we cannot help Mother Nature as we would sometimes like.
Thankfully, the Trump administration understands and appreciates these concerns, and they know that a reinvigorated approach to federalism is the first step toward finding a solution. Here, again, the state attorneys general deserve a great deal of credit for getting energized and organized to remind Washington that, absent state input and control, federal energy policy will bankrupt Americans and harm the environment. The Trump administration listened. Now comes the hard part.
Rutledge Encourages Congress to Pass Stronger Punishments for Fentanyl TraffickersThu, Aug 23, 2018
Says, ‘It is important that Congress take steps to close loopholes in our laws’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that she has joined a bipartisan group of 52 state and territory attorneys general calling on Congress to pass the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act, co-sponsored by Senator Tom Cotton. This act is intended to close a loophole that allows those trafficking deadly fentanyl to stay a step ahead of law enforcement.
“Opioid addiction is a multi-faceted problem,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, many addicts are turning to the extremely lethal fentanyl when opioids are hard to find or become too expensive. It is important that Congress take steps to close loopholes in our laws by adapting to societal changes to include more stringent punishment for criminal activity. I am proud to sign onto this letter, taking another step to combat this complex crisis by supporting the federal government’s efforts to close gaps in the system that allow dangers drugs, like fentanyl, onto our streets and homes.”
Fentanyl is currently a Schedule II controlled substance and when prescribed by a doctor can be a safe painkiller. However, without careful supervision, fentanyl can be lethal. The SOFA Act, if passed, would eliminate the current loophole which keeps the controlled substance scheduling system one step behind those who manufacture fentanyl and introduce the drug into society. The SOFA Act utilizes catch-all language allowing the Drug Enforcement Administration to proactively schedule all newly-modified fentanyl analogues.
In April, Rutledge met with Senator Cotton and hosted a press conference about the dangers of fentanyl and the disparity between the lethal nature of fentanyl and the punishments set in the U.S. Criminal Code.
Rutledge is joined on the letter, led by Connecticut and Wisconsin, by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Rutledge Praises Proposed Affordable Clean Energy PlanTue, Aug 21, 2018
Says, ‘I do not favor heavy-handed and unlawful regulations from Washington that will hurt Arkansans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the below statement following President Donald J. Trump’s announcement rolling back the Obama-era so-called Clean Power Plan.
“Today’s decision to replace the burdensome so-called Clean Power Plan with the new proposed Affordable Clean Energy rule is a big win for Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In a State like Arkansas, where over half of the electricity is responsibly generated from coal-fired power plants, the hit to Arkansas utility ratepayers pocketbooks would have been felt immediately. These increased costs would have obstructed the State’s ability to grow good-paying jobs with fair, reasonable electric rates. As a seventh-generation Arkansan raised on a cattle farm and married to a row-crop farmer, I can assure Americans that no one cares about clean air and water more than I do. But I do not favor heavy-handed and unlawful regulations from Washington that will hurt Arkansans.”
In 2013, the Obama Administration announced the final Clean Power Plan aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rutledge and colleagues successfully took immediate legal action to stay the Plan. In January, Rutledge submitted a letter with a bi-partisan coalition of 25 other states as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Power Plan. The letter encouraged the elimination of the rule and returning authority to the states to manage energy resources.
The new proposed rule will undergo a public comment period and will decrease bureaucratic red tape and compliance costs, while reducing emissions and providing flexibility to the states to best fit their specific needs.