Rutledge Announces Law Enforcement Training in NEAFri, Mar 16, 2018
Regional training April 9 in Pocahontas
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a training opportunity for law enforcement officers in northeast Arkansas on April 9. This is the second year Attorney General Rutledge is offering the training event to supplement the annual Law Enforcement Summit. This year’s event, which will be held at Randolph County Development Center on the campus of Black River Technical College in Pocahontas, will once again provide free training and educational opportunities for the law enforcement community.
“As Arkansas’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, it is important to me to provide continued training for our law enforcement officers around the State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The annual Law Enforcement Summit is one of our most popular events and these additional free trainings bring this opportunity to officers outside central Arkansas.”
This marks the first time the training has been offered in northeast Arkansas, allowing local officers easier access to the training.
Attendees will receive training on fighting the opioid epidemic in Arkansas from the Drug Enforcement Administration Little Rock District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King and Drug Enforcement Administration Little Rock District Office Diversion Group Supervisor Irvin Reaves and Exodus Project Recovery Coordinator Jimmy McGill. Kim Arnold with the Arkansas Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Dianne Skaggs with the Mental Health Council of Arkansas will also provide training on crisis intervention.
Attorney General office attorneys will also be presenting in their area of expertise; Senior Assistant Attorney General Tammera Harrelson, Nurse Investigator Vicki Jones and Special Agents Dane Pedersen and Michael Thatch will discuss elder abuse, Deputy Attorney General Chuck Harder and Senior Assistant Attorney General Shawn Johnson will discuss protecting Arkansans from scams and identity theft and Deputy Attorney General Will Jones will discuss cyber crime investigations.
Registration is now open for the April 9 event, which begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m. This training has been approved for 4.75 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit and 5 hours of Law Enforcement Standards credit.
Rutledge Joins Panel Discussion on NIFLA v. BecerraFri, Mar 16, 2018
Says, “I will not sit idly by while other states threaten freedom of speech”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today participated in a panel discussion on National Institution of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, a California case that will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court next week. The case centers around the State of California’s attempt to stifle NIFLA’s freedom of speech by compelling the pro-life organization to promote abortion services. California is trying to require pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions or prescribe birth control to notify individuals about contraceptive and abortions offered by outside facilities.
“I will not sit idly by while other states threaten freedom of speech by forcing organizations to promote a procedure that they do not provide, do not believe in and find to be violent and immoral,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This case will have longstanding ramifications and consequences for the freedoms of all Arkansans and every American. The State should not be allowed to compel speech they have no interest in – it’s absolutely absurd to force an organization to advertise services to which they are fundamentally opposed and do not provide.”
In January, Rutledge joined with 19 other attorneys general and the Governors of Kentucky and Maine in filing an amicus brief in support of NIFLA.
The panel discussion, which took place at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and was organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, included Rutledge, Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Denise Harle and Constitutional Accountability Center Chief Counsel Brianne Gorod.
Rutledge Applauds Governor Hutchinson’s Transformation PlanThu, Mar 15, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today applauds Governor Asa Hutchinson’s transformation plan, which will reduce the number of state agencies and save Arkansas taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
“Just as I have cut the budget for the Attorney General’s Office, it is time to cut costs across state government. The people deserve a government that not only works for them but works to save taxpayer dollars by cutting extraneous spending. Governor Hutchinson’s plan will ensure that Arkansas does business more efficiently and citizens are better served by the government officials they elect.”
Federal Government Will Reconsider Overreaching ‘Critical Habitat’ Rules in Light of Arkansas-led LawsuitThu, Mar 15, 2018
Says, ‘must be changed to recognize the rights of land owners and the States’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that, in light of a lawsuit filed by Arkansas and 19 other states, the federal government has agreed to reconsider rules that restrict property owners’ use of their own land under the guise of a “critical habitat.”
“I am pleased that the Trump Administration has agreed to reconsider the federal government’s ‘critical habitat’ rules, which have threatened the rights of property owners for far too long solely based on theoretical chance,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Our wildlife must be protected for future generations, but it is completely unreasonable to give the federal government broad authority to restrict land usage just because bureaucrats in D.C. think an animal might, possibly, one day inhabit that land – even if that land does not have features necessary for its survival. These rules are a clear example of an Obama-era overreach that must be changed to protect the rights of land owners and the States.”
In 2016, federal agencies adopted two new rules that allowed the federal government to designate land as a “critical habitat” for an endangered and threatened species, even if that species did not currently live on that land and if the land failed to possess the biological features necessary for the survival of the species. The “critical habitat” rules even allowed the federal government to prevent activities that could, theoretically, harm habitat features that don’t even currently exist. This is despite stricter standards set forth by Congress, which only allow for unoccupied land to be classified as critical habitat if the currently inhabited land is not adequate to the species’ survival and the unoccupied land is essential to species preservation.
The twenty state lawsuit was filed in November of that year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the two rules as unlawful federal overreach.
Today’s settlement requires the federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and also retains the states’ ability to file another lawsuit should the new rules perpetuate federal overreach.
Rutledge led this effort with Alabama. They were joined by Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming in the settlement.
Rutledge Applauds Court of Appeals Decision on Sanctuary CitiesWed, Mar 14, 2018
Says, ‘Sanctuary jurisdictions violate the rule of law’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauds this week’s announcement from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which allows Texas to take real action to prohibit sanctuary cities within its borders. Attorney General Rutledge joined seven other states last September in filing an amicus brief in support of Texas.
“This ruling reaffirms a state’s authority to prohibit dangerous sanctuary cities and will help protect law enforcement officers and local communities across the country,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Sanctuary jurisdictions violate the rule of law and put all law-abiding citizens in danger by creating hotbeds of crime that seep into other, non-sanctuary communities. American patriots have not laid down their lives on foreign soil only to have family and friends be harmed by policies of public officials more interested in putting political agenda over public safety.”
Texas law prevents local entities and officials from interfering with federal immigration enforcement. It also places certain duties and liabilities on certain persons in the criminal justice system, provides civil penalties and creates a criminal offense for violating those provisions.
The attorneys general who filed the amicus brief in this case believe that prohibiting sanctuary cities helps uphold immigration laws and provides federal, state and local law enforcement with additional and necessary tools to identify drug offenders who unlawfully enter the country while at the same time reducing the danger these cites pose to neighboring states, even those that have no sanctuary jurisdictions.
Rutledge: U.S. Business Services Deceived Arkansas BusinessesTue, Mar 13, 2018
$100,000 to go to Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has ordered Florida-based U.S. Business Services LLC to pay restitution to Arkansans and court costs and civil penalties to the State of Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“U.S. Business Services intentionally deceived and harmed Arkansas businesses with its deceptive practices,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By using documents that only appeared to be official government tax notices or notifications, this company tricked unsuspecting Arkansas business owners then offered to help those businesses – for a fee. The Court’s order not only requires the company to provide restitution to those businesses that fell victim to the deceit but also suspends the company’s business license in the State of Arkansas and will prevent further harm from these bad actors.”
U.S. Business Services solicited Arkansas businesses via direct mailings and offered to prepare and provide, for a $150 fee, corporate consent records in lieu of meeting minutes that purported to fulfill the requirements of Arkansas law. However, U.S. Business Services selectively quoted portions of Arkansas law to convey only those portions that would legitimize the solicitation, and the mailed documents were specifically designed to appear official in nature and required by a government entity.
The office received 34 complaints about the business practices of U.S. Business Services, and many others contacted the office by phone in order to report the scam. At least seven businesses paid $150 to the company as the form instructed, with four receiving restitution through mediation. After speaking with the Secretary of State’s office, Rutledge learned that it had also received numerous reports, inquiries and complaints regarding U.S. Business Services’ harmful practices. The Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act protects the legitimate business community as well as consumers.
The other three businesses that paid the fee will be paid restitution by U.S. Businesses Services. The company will also pay the State $5,500 in attorney fees and $100,000 in civil penalties to the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.