Attorney General Rutledge Proposes The GIRLS ActMon, Feb 22, 2021
Rutledge introduces ‘Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation for Sports Act’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today proposed legislation to ensure equity in women’s sports in the State. The draft legislation is titled “The GIRLS Act” (Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation for Sports Act) and seeks to protect access to athletic opportunities for girls and women in K-12 and post-secondary institutions. If passed, it would ensure fair competition by limiting girls’ sports to girls and women’s sports to women in as evidenced by an original birth certificate.
“As a mom of a two-and-a-half year old girl, and having grown up playing a number of sports, I know first-hand the benefit that sports has on developing self-discipline, confidence, teamwork and leadership,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This proposed legislation would make sure that young women in Arkansas can compete on a level playing field—no matter what sport they choose.”
During his first days in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13988, entitled Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. By signing this executive action, the Biden Administration signaled that it intends to require schools to allow biological boys who self-identify as girls onto girls’ sports teams.
By creating protected space for girls and women’s sports, the legislation proposed by Rutledge’s office provides opportunities for girls and women to demonstrate their skill, strength and athletic abilities while also providing them with opportunities to obtain recognition, accolades, college scholarships and the many other long-term benefits that flow from athletic achievement.
The proposed bill allows anyone who, as a result of a violation of the legislation, is deprived of athletic opportunities or suffers any other harm to seek a court order stopping the violation along with damages and attorney’s fees in a lawsuit against any Arkansas school that violates the legislation.
The lead sponsors of the bill are Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View and Representative DeAnn Vaught of Horatio.
Attorney General Rutledge Joins Multistate Coalition Urging Biden Administration to Arrest and Remove Unlawful Immigrants Convicted of Sex CrimesFri, Feb 19, 2021
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined a multistate coalition of attorneys general urging President Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Johnson to reverse the Biden Administration’s last-minute cancellation of Operation Talon. Operation Talon is a nationwide ICE operation that focuses on removing illegally present convicted sex offenders from the United States.
“We must protect Arkansans and Americans by continuing with Operation Talon and taking illegal sex offenders off our streets,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Our letter urges President Biden to reverse his cancellation of Operation Talon which played a critical role in combating human trafficking and protecting innocent lives in America.”
The letter argues that canceling Operation Talon could embolden sexual predators who seek to enter the United States illegally and exacerbate issues of sexual assault and trafficking in the immigrant community.
The letter states, “According to data collected by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, during the period from October 2014 to May 2018, ICE arrested 19,752 illegal aliens with criminal convictions for whom the most serious prior conviction was a conviction for a sex-related offense.”
Protesting the cancellation of Operation Talon, the letter says, “The cancellation of this program effectively broadcasts to the world that the United States is now a sanctuary jurisdiction for sexual predators. This message creates a perverse incentive for foreign sexual predators to seek to enter the United States illegally and assault more victims, both in the process of unlawful migration and after they arrive. It will also broadcast the message to other criminal aliens who have committed less heinous offenses that any kind of robust enforcement against them is extremely unlikely.”
The letter also details how human trafficking and sexual assault are endemic issues in the immigrant and migrant communities, especially at the border. The letter, citing the Polaris Project, continues, “the overwhelming majority of victims of sex and/or labor trafficking in the United States were foreign nationals, not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. For cases in which citizenship status was known, 77.5 percent of trafficking victims (4,601 out of 5,939) were not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.”
In addition to Arkansas, state attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia also signed on to the letter.
Rutledge Wins Judgment against Deceptive Roofing CompanyTue, Feb 16, 2021
Greenhagen Exteriors Ordered to pay $172,348 to Consumers and State
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the judgment against Chance and Samone Greenhagen and their company Greenhagen Exteriors, LLC of Little Rock for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). The Order states that Greenhagen is to pay $72,348 in consumer restitution, $100,000 in civil penalties, and the State’s costs and fees. Additionally, Greenhagen is enjoined from conducting any residential home improvement business until the restitution, civil penalties, fees, and costs are paid in full.
“This judgment should serve as a warning to businesses looking to circumvent business practices to make a quick buck,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I strongly advise Arkansans to contact my office any time a contractor fails to complete a project without getting a refund for work not completed.”
Last May, Rutledge filed the lawsuit against Greenhagen on behalf of five consumers who paid almost $90,000 in advance for roofing and home improvement work. Consumers also filed complaints with the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board, which revoked Greenhagen’s contractor’s licenses and issued a cease and desist order.
If you are a consumer who has been impacted by the actions of Greenhagen or any other contractor, Rutledge encourages you to contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge: President Biden Removing Support for Medicaid Work Requirement is a Huge Step Backwards for ArkansasFri, Feb 12, 2021
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued this statement following the decision by the President Biden administration to take action against the state’s Medicaid work requirement waiver.
“It is unfortunate that President Biden and his administration felt compelled to take steps to withdraw the approval of Arkansas’s work-requirement pilot program without giving it an opportunity to succeed,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The one-size-fits-all Medicaid program doesn’t work. Our work-requirement initiative sought to create a partnership with able-bodied Arkansans to encourage well-being and personal responsibility while still providing healthcare coverage for those seeking gainful employment. Thwarting a reasonable program for strictly political purposes has real consequences for Arkansans and is an overreach of executive power. I urge the Biden Administration to reconsider this decision.”
Arkansas Works is a pilot Medicaid expansion program designed to encourage able-bodied Arkansans, without dependents, to transition into the workforce and build a stronger, more resilient connection with their communities.
Rutledge Files Suit Against an Accessibility Company for Deceptive PracticesFri, Feb 12, 2021
Says, ‘It is unconscionable to deceive families with loved ones who have disabilities’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a lawsuit has been filed against Accessibility Specialties, Inc. (ASI), and its co-owners, Russell Mashburn and Billy Rice. ASI sells mobility and accessibility equipment, and it modifies vehicles to support individuals with disabilities. At least on one occasion, ASI was hired to make a customer’s van accessible, but without the owner’s knowledge, ASI sold the vehicle to a third-party and kept the proceeds of the sales. Additionally, ASI made agreements with at least two other consumers to sell their vehicles on consignment, but did not give the proceeds of either sale to the owners of the vehicles. ASI, Mashburn and Rice knowingly deceived Arkansas consumers, and each faces violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA).
“It is unconscionable to deceive families with loved ones who have disabilities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will hold these defendants fully accountable for this appalling practice and will pursue any others who engage in this type of conduct.”
ASI has been in business in Little Rock since 1996 and would sell equipment like stairlifts, elevators, ramps, power wheelchairs and also offered accessible van rentals and would make personalized modifications to customers’ accessible vans. The business is also a licensed used car dealer and would sell used accessible vehicles Arkansans with disabilities or their families.
Through an investigation, it was revealed ASI would sell vans without the owners’ authorization. In August 2020, a customer hired ASI to convert their Toyota Sienna van for their teenaged son who is disabled. After a few weeks, the customer found out ASI had wrongfully sold the Toyota Sienna for $49,500 without the owner’s consent. The buyer of the vehicle did not know ASI wrongfully sold them the van.
On another occasion, ASI agreed to sell a customer’s assessable van for $11,000. Once the sale was made, ASI took the $11,000 and never paid the proceeds to the original owners of the vehicle. At another time, ASI sold a customer’s accessible van and a wheelchair on consignment but never paid the proceeds of $23,000 to the customer.
The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, alleges that each defendant is liable for any unrecovered restitution due to affected consumers, and asks the court for an injunction prohibiting further deceptive acts, the revocation of their authority to conduct business in Arkansas, and up to a $10,000 civil penalty for each violation of the ADTPA.
For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
Attorney General Rutledge Calls on President Biden to Reinstate Keystone XL PermitWed, Feb 10, 2021
Says, ‘Arkansans have lost their jobs because of President Biden’s unilateral action’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a coalition of 13 other attorneys general called on President Joe Biden to reconsider his unilateral revocation of the 2019 Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and advised him that the states are reviewing available legal options to protect their citizens and interests.
“Arkansans have lost their jobs because of President Biden’s unilateral action, which will do irreparable harm to our economy, and I encourage him to reverse it,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “This destructive decision is being reviewed by me and my colleagues to determine what legal options are available.”
The letter from Attorney General Rutledge and the attorneys general coalition reiterates the harms President Biden’s decision will inflict on Americans: Thousands of displaced workers, increased reliance on energy produced in Russia and the Middle East, and lost economic activity and opportunity.
“Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities. Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences,” General Rutledge and the attorneys general coalition wrote to President Biden. “Having cudgeled the energy sector, your decision will increase heating and fuel costs for families and businesses across the country and disrupt other industries including agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, and even the affordability of consumer goods. Americans you were elected to serve will ultimately foot the bill in higher prices, lost jobs, and less security.”
The attorneys general criticized President Biden for failing to consult states on the costs to consumers and economic impacts, setting a dangerous precedent for other permits and projects, and “virtue signaling to special interests.”
“Please be aware that the states are reviewing available legal options to protect our residents and sovereign interests. In the meantime, we urge you to reconsider your decision to impose crippling economic injuries on states, communities, families, and workers across the country,” General Rutledge and the attorneys general wrote.
The effort was led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia.