Rutledge Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Hear Arkansas’s Case against PBMsFri, Jan 10, 2020
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appreciates the United States Supreme Court’s decision to hear Arkansas’s case to uphold the rule of law and protect Arkansas small businesses in our rural areas and to save community pharmacies from abusive pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) payment practices.
“Today is a victory for Arkansas and especially our rural pharmacies,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Pharmacy benefit managers need to be held accountable for the alarming number of small town pharmacies they have closed due to unfair business practices.”
PBMs are middleman companies that pay pharmacists for prescription drugs dispensed to insurance beneficiaries. The General Assembly passed Act 900 in 2015 to require Arkansas pharmacies be reimbursed by PBMs at fair rates. The law was necessary because more than 16% of rural pharmacies had closed in recent years due to declining PBM payments on generic prescriptions causing Arkansans to be unable to receive necessary medications.
The case is Rutledge v. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, No.18-540.
Rutledge Statement on Passing of Izard County Sheriff Earnie BlackleySat, Jan 4, 2020
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement offering condolences on the passing of Izard County Sheriff Earnie Blackley.
“My heart goes out to Sheriff Blackley’s family, friends and the community he tirelessly served,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “He was a dedicated leader of the law enforcement community; serving more than 30 years. Even after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer only months after being elected to serve as Sheriff, he continued to work to keep his county safe. My prayers are with Sheriff Blackley’s family and all of Izard County.”
Rutledge Supports Law Protecting Women’s HealthFri, Jan 3, 2020
Says, ‘Women deserve to know all medical procedures are performed in the safest way possible.’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge led a 20-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting Louisiana’s efforts to ensure that abortion procedures are only performed under the safest conditions possible for patients.
“Women deserve to know all medical procedures are performed in the safest way possible,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Louisiana’s admitting-privileges requirement is a common sense way of ensuring that abortions are only performed by competent practitioners in conditions that minimize patient risks.”
Louisiana state law requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility.
Attorney General Rutledge previously successfully defended Arkansas’s commonsense requirement that medication abortion practitioners have a contract with a physician who agrees to handle emergencies and complications associated with abortion inducing drugs. In 2015, that requirement had been blocked by a district court, but Attorney General Rutledge successfully appealed that order and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously overturned that order. The United States Supreme Court then declined to review the Eighth Circuit’s order and Arkansas’s requirement went into effect.
These laws are not about overturning Roe v. Wade or restricting access to legal abortions. They are about ensuring that if a woman chooses to undergo an abortion, that procedure is only performed in the safest manner possible for the patient.
Rutledge Praises President Trump for Signing TRACED Act into Law After She Spearheaded Anti-Robocall EffortsTue, Dec 31, 2019
Says, ‘we can all look forward to fewer fake calls in 2020.’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement praising President Trump for signing into law the bi-partisan Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.
“I applaud President Trump’s support of this new law supplying law enforcement with the tools necessary to fight these relentless robocalls plaguing all Americans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have worked non-stop in Arkansas fighting illegal calls and I am proud these efforts are backed by President Trump. With more than 55 billion fraudulent calls placed nationwide in 2019, we can all look forward to fewer fake calls in 2020 thanks to the passage of the TRACED Act.”
The TRACED Act authorizes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue additional civil penalties on people who intentionally violate restrictions on the use of automated telephone equipment, and directs the FCC to require voice service providers to offer call authentication technologies to consumers.
Rutledge led the fight against robocalls by working with state legislators to pass legislation to require telecommunication providers to submit annual reports to the Arkansas Public Service Commission to certify that all available and applicable technology is being employed to identify and block illegal robocalls and spoofing.
Rutledge also joined a bipartisan, public/private coalition agreement with every state attorneys general and 12 phone companies earlier this year. The coalition adopted eight principals to fight illegal robocalls and pave the way for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.
The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office received more than 9,000 complaints about phone scams and robocalls in 2019. Arkansans who would like to file a complaint can email the office at oag@ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.
Rutledge Announces January Mobile Office ScheduleMon, Dec 30, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for January.
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, January 7
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Sheridan Senior Center
Grant County Park
Sheridan, AR 72150
Thursday, January 9
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Diane Wilson Senior Activity Center
107 North Magnolia Street
Perryville, AR 72126
Wednesday, January 15
10:30 a.m. to noon
T.C. Vaughan Senior Activity Center
706 North Division Street
Morrilton, AR 72110
Thursday, January 16
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
John E. Lightle Senior Center
2200 East Moore Street
Searcy, AR 72143
Thursday, January 23
10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Hamburg Senior Citizens Center
1406 North Main Street
Hamburg, AR 71646
Tuesday, January 28
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Hazen Senior Health & Wellness Center
607 McDonald Drive
Hazen, AR 72064
Thursday, January 30
9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
CADC Arkadelphia Senior Activity Center
1305 North 10th Street
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate Found UnconstitutionalFri, Dec 20, 2019
Says, ‘It is important that the rule of law prevail.’
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following Wednesday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreeing with Arkansas’s arguments, made as part of an 18-state coalition, that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. The coalition’s lawsuit will continue to settle the question whether all of Obamacare must be struck down because the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
“The individual mandate is unconstitutional, and it is important that the rule of law prevail,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As the Supreme Court noted, the individual mandate was propped up by a tax that Congress rightfully removed in 2017, making the mandate unconstitutional. Now is the time for Congress to create a comprehensive healthcare law that will work with states and provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.”
In 2012, a majority of the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare against a constitutional challenge because it said the individual mandate was a valid exercise of Congress’s Tax Power. But a different majority also held that Congress did not have the power to create the individual mandate under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. As Chief Justice Roberts explained, and the four-justice dissent agreed, the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate commerce – but not to compel it, which is what the individual mandate does.
In 2017, Congress eliminated the tax portion of the individual mandate as part of President Donald J. Trump’s tax overhaul. Rutledge then joined a multistate lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, arguing that Congress rendered all of Obamacare unconstitutional by doing away with the tax penalty.
Judge Reed O’Connor of the Texas federal court agreed and ruled that the individual mandate was no longer valid under Congress’s Tax Power. Applying the Supreme Court’s 2012 holding that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause, Judge O’Connor struck it down as unconstitutional. He then ruled that Congress would not have passed Obamacare without the individual mandate because it was an essential part of the law. Therefore, he also invalidated the entire law.
Wednesday the Fifth Circuit affirmed Judge O’Connor’s ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. But the Fifth Circuit sent the case back to Judge O’Connor for him to provide additional support for his other ruling, that Congress would not have passed Obamacare without the individual mandate.
In addition to Arkansas, the coalition – led by Texas – includes the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia, along with the governor of Mississippi.