Rutledge Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Mon, Jan 16, 2017
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“Communities across Arkansas and the nation are pausing today to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Dr. King worked tirelessly for much of his life to ensure freedom and justice for all – a dream that all citizens should continue to work toward every day. As we reflect and celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. King through a day of service to others, we must also remember some of his inspirational words about bravery: ‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’”
Rutledge Praises District Court for Protecting State-Federal Partnership ModelFri, Jan 13, 2017
Ruling protects farmers, ranchers and countless Delta communities
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today praised a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that protects state-federal partnerships as an integral part of the Clean Water Act and its implementation.
In 2012, Arkansas joined Nebraska, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota in filing a motion to intervene in this lawsuit in which several environmental advocacy groups are seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose unreasonable regulations on nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin and the northern Gulf of Mexico. The EPA had refused to set the standards and told the advocacy groups that it would rely on state-federal partnerships to set the standards, consistent with the Clean Water Act.
“State-federal partnerships are critically important as standards are implemented,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas has been working cooperatively through a state-federal partnership to properly manage nutrients in the Mississippi River watershed. There is no need for an environmental advocacy group pushing a political agenda to force the EPA to impose burdensome and unnecessary regulations that will most certainly further harm farmers, ranchers and countless struggling communities across the Delta.”
The advocacy groups asked the court to force the EPA to institute specific, numeric criteria for total nitrogen and phosphorus discharges in Arkansas and the entire Mississippi River watershed. The groups also wanted the EPA to impose total maximum daily load requirements for nitrogen and phosphorus within the watershed.
Attorney General’s Office to Host Winter Webcast SeriesWed, Jan 11, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today opened registration for a Winter Webcast Series of trainings on internet safety, dating violence prevention, common scams, identity theft and the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
“Technology offers unique ways to connect and ensure that more and more Arkansans have access to information to protect themselves,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These trainings will offer valuable material to help individuals navigate the internet safely and avoid common scams and ID theft, as well as teach participants about preventing dating violence and how to apply the Freedom of Information Act.”
The internet safety training, or Digital You, will take place from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18. 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 last year.
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, a Break the Cycle training will be offered from 3:30-4:30 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. Rutledge partnered with Break the Cycle last year to hold regional trainings across the State.
From 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, participants can learn about common scams, such as the Favorite Grandchild Scam, IRS Scam, Credit Call Robocalls, 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, and senior citizens are often scam targets. This webcast will highlight some of the popular scams that target seniors, offer ways to spot the scam and what to do if you have been scammed.
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 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
And a FOIA webcast covering public records and meetings will be available from 10 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
The online trainings are free and open to the public. Registration for each one can be found at ArkansasAG.gov.
Rutledge Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Students’ Privacy RightsWed, Jan 11, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bi-partisan coalition of 23 states, led by West Virginia, filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court urging the protection of the privacy rights of all students.
In Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the school board argues that the definition of one’s biological sex in Title IX regulations, which prohibits discrimination on that basis, does not include gender identity.
In 2015, Gloucester High School constructed multiple, single stall, unisex restrooms to better accommodate privacy needs for students and for those who choose not to use the facility that corresponds to their biological sex. The transgender student who is suing the school board was given the options of using the restroom corresponding to his/her biological sex, a private facility or a unisex restroom.
“The Department of Education has for decades maintained that Title IX allows school districts to separate bathroom and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This is not done to be discriminatory; rather it is to protect students in those facilities. Local schools must continue to have the authority to provide reasonable, dignified, respectful solutions for all students, including those who are transgendered, which is exactly what the Gloucester School District did.”
This case predated the Obama Administration’s May 2016 letter that said Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination includes gender identity and that students can use the intimate facility of their choice, regardless of their biological sex. Rutledge and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson led a 10-state coalition challenging the letter. In August, a U.S. District Judge issued a nationwide injunction in a similar case brought by Texas, prohibiting the Obama administration from enforcing a directive on public schools across the country to open gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms to both sexes.
Rutledge had urged the Supreme Court in September to take this case, which will help determine if federal agencies may, without congressional approval, require public school systems to open gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms to both sexes or threaten a loss of funding.
Along with Arkansas and West Virginia, this brief is signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, as well as the Governors of Kentucky and Maine.
Rutledge Statement on Law Enforcement Appreciation DayMon, Jan 9, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in recognition of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
“On this annual day of appreciation, I want to express my sincere thanks and steadfast commitment to the men and women who wear the badge across Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, I have personally seen officers sacrifice so much and expect nothing in return. I have joined in the celebration of newly sworn officers, and, tragically, I have stood with families and communities as they mourn officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Our law enforcement officers have earned our respect, deserve our gratitude and need our support each and every day.”
Rutledge Selects New Leadership for State Agencies DepartmentThu, Jan 5, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today named Olan “Butch” Reeves of Bryant as deputy attorney general for the State Agencies Department and Nga Mahfouz of Hot Springs as the senior assistant attorney general.
“Butch and Nga have been dedicated members of the State Agencies Department, and I am eager to have them take on leadership roles,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Both bring a wealth of experience in government and private practice, and I know that the department under their guidance will continue to provide top-notch legal counsel to the many agencies boards, commissions and two-year colleges across the State.”
Reeves re-joined the office in 2016 as an assistant attorney general in the State Agencies Department. Reeves served as chief counsel to Gov. Mike Huckabee from 1996-2003, chaired the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission from 2003-2009 and served on the Public Service Commission from 2009-2015. Before rejoining the Attorney General’s office, Reeves was legal counsel at the Arkansas Department of Revenue. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in religion from Ouachita Baptist University, he taught public school for eight years, then earned a master’s degree in curriculum from Henderson State University and juris doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law.
Mahfouz was most recently an assistant attorney general with the State Agencies Department, where she provided day-to-day legal counsel to various state agencies. Mahfouz transferred to the newly created State Agencies Department in 2015 from the Civil Department, where she primarily handled matters involving civil rights claims. Before joining the office, Mahfouz defended municipalities in employment, law enforcement and land use issues throughout the State and spent six years in private practice. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Scranton and a juris doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
Attorneys in the State Agencies Department provide legal representation to the more than 200 State agencies, boards, commissions, two-year colleges and other entities. Agency attorneys provide counsel, as well as assist their client agencies with promulgating rules and regulations, complying with the Freedom of Information Act, resolving personnel disputes and interpreting laws passed by the Arkansas General Assembly.