Rutledge Announces Benton Man Sentenced for Crimes Involving ChildrenTue, Sep 20, 2016
BENTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Saline County man has been sentenced to 15 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on child exploitation charges.
Lance Smith, 26, of Benton, pleaded guilty to five counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving children. In addition to his prison sentence, Smith must register as a sex offender.
“I am committed to getting these predators out of our neighborhoods and off the internet,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Cyber Crimes Unit at the Attorney General’s office and local prosecutors work diligently to protect Arkansas children and families, and I appreciate the partnerships across the State to protect our children and ensure these dangerous criminals are brought to justice.”
Smith was arrested in 2015 on a search warrant executed by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. An attorney from the Attorney General’s office was appointed by the 22nd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady as special deputy prosecutor. Judge Ted Capeheart sentenced Smith in Saline County Circuit Court.
Rutledge Files Lawsuit Challenging New Labor Department Overtime RuleTue, Sep 20, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a coalition of 21 states in filing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rule. If implemented, this rule will likely force Arkansas and local cities and counties to substantially increase their employment costs, as well as countless small businesses. Many entities will be forced to eliminate some services and layoff employees because of the increased expenses.
The new rule will more than double the minimum salary overtime threshold for public and private workers without Congressional authorization. The lawsuit urges the court to prevent the implementation of the rule before it takes effect, which is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2016.
“Concern over this new regulation from Washington has been a consistent topic at Regulatory Roundtables that I have been holding across the State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Business owners, sheriffs, mayors and county judges are all concerned about how they are going to implement this rule without being forced to layoff hardworking employees. Washington is once again trying to force a political agenda on the states by unlawfully ignoring the role of Congress, and I hope that the court will act and prevent this rule from taking effect.”
Baxter, Benton, Marion, Pope and White Counties have all passed resolutions calling on Rutledge to challenge the rule.
On March 13, 2014, President Obama ordered the DOL to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemption for executive, administrative and professional employees to account for the federal minimum wage. On May 23, the DOL issued the final new overtime rule, which doubles the salary-level threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime, regardless of whether they perform executive, administrative or professional duties.
After Dec. 1, all employees are entitled to overtime if they earn less than $913 a week – including government employees. Additionally, the new rule contains a ratcheting mechanism to automatically increase the salary-level every three years without going through the standard rule-making process required by federal law.
Led by Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, Rutledge is joined on the complaint by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
Rutledge Praises Fourth Circuit Decision Upholding Constitutionality of Ceremonial PrayersMon, Sep 19, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today praised the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for rejecting a district court decision and upholding the constitutional right of lawmakers in deliberative bodies to open meetings with a ceremonial prayer. The district court concluded that lawmaker-led prayer was not protected under the Constitution.
“It is a time-honored practice, dating back to the founding of this nation for deliberative bodies, led by a lawmaker, to open a meeting with a prayer,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I know that this practice is no different in Arkansas, and this victory helps protect lawmaker-led prayer to open meetings in cities and counties across our State and across the country.”
Rutledge was part of a 13-state coalition, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, that filed an amicus brief in support of a North Carolina county’s practice of opening its meeting with a prayer offered by commissioners.
The attorneys general brief illustrated that numerous states, counties and municipalities open each meeting with a lawmaker-led prayer and if the lower court’s decision was allowed to stand, many of these governing bodies would be forced to hire a full-time chaplain or recruit volunteer clergy to lead a prayer, which many can simply not afford.
In addition to West Virginia and Arkansas, the brief was signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Stone County Woman for Medicaid FraudMon, Sep 19, 2016
MELBOURNE – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Mountain View woman by the Izard County Sheriff’s Department.
Ashleigh Shelby, 20, was arrested and held in the Izard County Detention Facility on a $500 bond. She is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, a Class A misdemeanor. She is accused of billing for services not rendered in March. Shelby was released after posting bond.
The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated this case in conjunction with the Stone County Sheriff’s Department and Izard County Sheriff’s Department.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rutledge Statement on the Passing of McCrory Police Officer Robert BarkerThu, Sep 15, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement in response to the death of McCrory Police Officer Robert Aaron Barker who was responding to a call and involved in a single-vehicle accident.
“Officer Barker was dedicated to serving Arkansans as a law enforcement officer, and he was taken from our State, his fellow officers and loved ones far too soon,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I extend my thoughts and prayers to Officer Barker’s family, friends and the entire McCrory community.”
Rutledge to Serve as Honorary Chair of 2016 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism SpeaksThu, Sep 15, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Autism Speaks Arkansas today announced that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will serve as the honorary chair of the 2016 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks, an inspirational and impactful opportunity to raise money and awareness to help change the future of all those touched by autism.
Rutledge’s nephew, Riley, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.
“My sweet nephew, Riley, has been an enormous inspiration to not only me but to so many he comes into contact with,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His loving and sweet demeanor definitely brings a smile to my face. Like so many, my family celebrates Riley and the future he has. It is an honor to chair this event and play a small part in helping the Autism Speaks organization, which does such great work, advocating for those with autism and giving a voice to those who may not have one.”
"This is such a special day for our family and so many others," said Dawn Itzkowitz, Walk Leadership Chair. "It's a reminder to those touched by autism that they are not alone. We are honored to have Attorney General Leslie Rutledge serve as this year's honorary chair, and we appreciate her support of Autism Speaks and the autism community."
Now for Autism Speaks:
WHAT: 2016 Arkansas Walk Now for Autism Speaks
WHEN: Saturday, October 1, 2016 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - 5K Race
8:00 a.m. - Walk Registration and Activities
9:15 a.m. - 5K Awards
10:30 a.m. - Walk Ceremonies and Walk
WHERE: Clinton Presidential Center
1200 President Clinton Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.