General Rutledge Applauds President Trump’s 2020 State of the Union AddressTue, Feb 4, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
“Tonight’s address is further proof that President Trump has kept his promises. President Trump has posted historic economic advances through business growth and deregulation, appointed two talented jurists to the U.S. Supreme Court and signed outstanding trade deals that will continue to improve the quality of life for all Americans. After years of over-regulation stifling businesses, hard-working Arkansas families finally feel a greater sense of hope for the future and their children’s future. I look forward to working with the administration in 2020 to prioritize affordable healthcare that covers pre-existing conditions, establishing safe and legal immigration policies, supporting our military efforts around the world and continuing to solidify America’s place as a global powerhouse. I applaud President Trump’s strides in enhancing the American dream and support him in his efforts to come.”
General Rutledge Files Lawsuit Against Unlicensed Hot Springs Towing BusinessMon, Feb 3, 2020
Says, ‘Every time this illegitimate business is put to work, its customers are unknowingly put at risk.”
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit today against Classic 24 Hr. Towing & Recovery, a Hot Springs business for operating without a license, mandatory permits, vehicle registration or liability insurance. The owner, Paul Vujicic, advertises that his company has been in business for more than 40 years, yet evidence shows, it has never been properly licensed.
“Every time this illegitimate business is put to work, its customers are unknowingly put at risk,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas has these regulations in place for the safety and protection of both consumers and business owners.”
According to the complaint, Vijicic has been cited repeatedly by the Hot Springs Police Department for failure to register his towing vehicles, failure to have insurance, as well as safety and moving violations.
In 2014 Classic 24 Hr. Towing was caught operating without the required safety permits. The investigator informed Vijicic that he was violating Arkansas law. A similar interaction occurred in 2017, and Vijicic was cited for displaying a fake safety permit on the rear window of one of his tow trucks. The Towing and Recovery Board demanded he quit towing immediately. Vijicic continued to operate.
In 2018, the Towing and Recovery Board ordered Vijicic to pay a $10,000 civil penalty before the Board would issue him a license or safety permits. Again, Vujicic was later discovered to be operating with two unpermitted trucks.
In 2019, Vujicic applied to perform towing and recovery for the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
These unconscionable acts violate the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). Each violation can amount to a $10,000 fine. The Attorney General asks that the Court prohibit Classic 24 Hr. Towing & Recovery from doing further business until it has all the required permits.
Jonathan Funk Photography Ordered to pay $200,000 to Consumers and StateFri, Jan 31, 2020
Rutledge says, ‘Photographs of some of life’s most precious events will finally be given to their rightful owners’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the judgment against Jonathan Funk and his company Jonathan Funk Photography, LLC for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The Order states the LLC is to pay $98,625 in restitution, $100,000 in civil penalties, $1,135 in filing fees and service costs and to transfer images to consumers. After the initial lawsuit in 2018, Rutledge received two hard drives containing thousands of digital files belonging to a few of the affected consumers.
“Photographs of some of life’s most precious events will finally be given to their rightful owners where they can be appreciated and shared,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans who pay for photography services at their weddings or other special events expect to get what they pay for, but companies like Jonathan Funk Photography who act dishonestly will not be tolerated in Arkansas.”
In 2018, Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Jonathan Funk Photography after receiving 54 complaints from Arkansans impacted by Funk’s deception. The business advertised in many local Arkansas magazines offering photography services and professional portraits of newborns and special events. Consumers paid in full after their photography session and waited patiently for several months, never receiving the portraits Jonathan Funk Photography promised to deliver. As a result, Arkansans lost money and, more importantly, lost the memories they sought to capture.
The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court. The LLC defaulted and Judge Timothy Fox granted the Motion for Relief against the LLC. The State also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment against Jonathan Funk that Judge Fox also granted.
Arkansans can file consumer complaints with the Attorney General’s Office on ArkansasAG.gov or by calling (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge Announces February Mobile Office ScheduleFri, Jan 31, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for February.
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, February 4
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
McAuley Senior Center
5010 Highway 7 North
Hot Springs Village, AR 71909
Thursday, February 6
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
CADC Benton Senior Wellness & Activity Center
1800 Citizens Drive
Benton, AR 72015
Tuesday, February 11
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The PEAK Center of Cabot
506 North Grant Street
Cabot, AR 72023
Thursday, February 13
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Conway Senior Wellness & Activity Center
705 Siebenmorgen Road
Conway, AR 72032
Thursday, February 20
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Stuttgart Senior Citizens Center
811 South Buerkle
Stuttgart, AR 72160
Tuesday, February 25
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Star City Senior Citizens Center
207 North Drew
Star City, AR 71667
Thursday, February 27
9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Jackson County Senior Center
400 North Pecan Street
Newport, AR 72112
Rutledge’s Northwest Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Open for EnrollmentTue, Jan 28, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the 2020 Northwest Arkansas Law Enforcement Training event will be held on Wednesday, March 11 at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Rutledge annually hosts these free regional trainings throughout the State, where all participants will receive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and Commission Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) credits. This year’s event will feature instructors from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy and Alcoholic Beverage Control who will discuss the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.
“Meeting Arkansans where they are includes providing free and relevant educational resources to our law enforcement officials,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This training will highlight the many issues law enforcement officials face with the legalization of medicinal marijuana that they can take back to their agencies and better protect all Arkansans.”
Participant will hear presentations on the enforcement and impacts on law enforcement of Arkansas’s medical marijuana law from Alcohol Beverage Control Agent Chris Boyd and Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy Training Supervisor Clint Scrivner. Assistant Attorney General Jill Irwin will present on Monsters Behind the Machines, which will look into some of the cases that have been investigated by the Attorney General’s Office Special Investigations Division.
Kevin Metcalf with the Washington County prosecuting attorney’s office will discuss cyber response in missing persons cases. He has assisted in the recovery of numerous missing and exploited children and in the identification and apprehension of sexual predators in multiple states. He also founded the National Child Protection Task Force. He developed a system for working with cellphone-related data in criminal cases, which is offered by Amazon as a mobile device foundational course and a series of instructional books.
Registration is now open for the March 11 event, which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The Attorney General’s Office has applied for 5.25 hours of CLE credit and has been approved for 5.5 hours of CLEST credit. Lunch will be provided.
Attorney General Rutledge Supports Final EPA Rule Ending Overreaching RegulationsFri, Jan 24, 2020
Says, ‘This streamlined definition will give clarity and protect Arkansas’s key industries.’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge commended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its final Navigable Waters Protection Rule released Thursday, which includes a revised definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). It replaces the previous administration’s WOTUS definition, which Rutledge had challenged in a lawsuit with her colleagues from other states. President Donald J. Trump repealed that previous definition in 2019.
“President Trump listened to our concerns and has kept his promise to replace the Obama-era definition of ‘waters of the United States’ and has given the power back to Arkansans to determine how best to protect our environment and promote economic growth.” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This streamlined definition will give clarity and protect Arkansas’s key industries. I look forward to leading Arkansans as we work with our federal and state partners on ways to steward the Natural State’s waterways.”
The EPA’s final Navigable Waters Protection Rule clearly distinguishes between federal and state authority under the Clean Water Act. The Rule also outlines four clear categories of waters defined under WOTUS, including territorial seas and traditional navigable waters; tributaries, lakes, ponds and impoundments of jurisdictional waters; and adjacent wetlands. The final rule also includes clear exclusions for many water features that have not historically been regulated.
The Obama-era rule was finalized in June 2015. It allowed the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assert 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.
Prior to that rule’s finalization, in March 2015 Rutledge testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. In her testimony, she urged the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers. In 2016, agriculture added $21.4 billion to the Arkansas economy, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Rutledge was also part of a coalition that helped secure an injunction in August 2015, which blocked enforcement of the rule. This allowed the new administration to review the rule.
In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review the WOTUS definition, begin efforts to rescind or significantly revise it and take appropriate steps in ongoing litigation.
Then in 2019, according to President Trump’s direction, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers repealed the Obama-era rule and asked for comments on a proposed WOTUS definition. Rutledge joined a 17-state coalition that supported the 2019 proposal. Thursday’s final rule is largely the same as that 2019 proposal.