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Rutledge Announces Arrest of Clinton Woman for Stealing Opioids
Rutledge Welcomes U.S. Attorney General Sessions for School Safety Discussion

Rutledge Welcomes U.S. Attorney General Sessions for School Safety Discussion

Wed, Aug 1, 2018

Says, ‘Arkansas has been on the forefront of the pursuit of school protection policies’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today welcomes United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Arkansas for President Donald J. Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety site visit to Lake Hamilton School District in Garland County. Chief of Staff Cory Cox and Special Investigations Department Supervisory Special Agent Jerry Keefer participated in the roundtable discussion on behalf of Attorney General Rutledge.

“School grounds should be the safest locations for our children to spend their youth,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Since the tragic school shooting incident at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro in 1998, Arkansas has been on the forefront of the pursuit of school protection policies by implementing programs like my office’s Safe Schools Initiative Unit to coordinate and conduct statewide active shooter training for school districts and law enforcement. Today’s roundtable meeting sets the foundation for President Trump’s Commission on School Safety to better understand proactive districts, such as the Lake Hamilton School District. Lake Hamilton’s longstanding safety plan keeps well-trained officials armed as the first line of defense in warding off potential threats.”

The Attorney General’s Office has conducted free Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training to more than 4,000 personnel, including 270 now certified as instructors, across Arkansas. The unit worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Education, the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) and the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. In August 2015, Rutledge provided $500,000 to fund the continuation of the CRASE program to be administered by CJI. Additionally, Rutledge supplied CJI with over $35,000 in equipment for the program.

The CRASE training curriculum was developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training center at Texas State University. The CRASE course was designed to assist schools that were asking for direction and presentations on what they should do if confronted with an active shooter event. Built on the Avoid, Deny, Defend strategy, the CRASE training provides strategies, guidance and a plan for surviving an active shooter event.

The President’s Commission was established in 2018 and is chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, addressing school safety and the culture of violence in schools. The President also appointed to the Commission, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar II and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. The Commission has hosted listening sessions, site visits and Commissioner meetings to gather information and feedback from the experts and the general public, which is being compiled to publish recommended policies and best practices for school violence prevention.

Rutledge remains a leader in the school safety and law enforcement arena. Special Investigations Department Deputy Attorney General Will Jones represents the Attorney General on Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Arkansas School Safety Commission.

Rutledge Issues Statement on Planned Parenthood Ruling

Rutledge Issues Statement on Planned Parenthood Ruling

Tue, Jul 31, 2018

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following the statement after U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker denied Planned Parenthood’s motion for preliminary injunction in Planned Parenthood Arkansas & Eastern Oklahoma v. Gillespie. That decision leaves in place Governor Asa Hutchinson’s decision terminating Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood.

“Yesterday’s ruling from Judge Baker ensures the integrity of our state’s resources by no longer allowing Planned Parenthood to use its patients to pad its bottom line on the backs of Arkansas taxpayers. I’ve strongly and successfully defended Governor Hutchinson’s decision to terminate the state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood. It’s time for Planned Parenthood to identify other sources and no longer rely on taxpayer money."

Rutledge First Constitutional Officer to Have Given Birth While Holding Office

Rutledge First Constitutional Officer to Have Given Birth While Holding Office

Mon, Jul 30, 2018

Says, ‘daughter is an absolute blessing and gift from God’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and husband, Boyce Johnson, today announced the birth of their daughter, Julianna Carol Johnson. She was born July 27, 2018, weighing 5 pounds 15 ounces and 18.9 inches long. Julianna is the first child for the couple. The family is recovering well at home and is grateful for the outpouring of support.

“Boyce and I are bursting with joy over our new addition to the family,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The birth of our daughter is an absolute blessing and gift from God. Thank you to our family, friends, and all Arkansans for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers throughout my pregnancy. We appreciate Dr. Nancy Collins and all of the nurses and staff at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for their love, support and professionalism.”

Julianna Carol is named for her paternal grandmother’s middle name, Ann, and maternal grandmother’s and mother’s middle name, Carol.

Rutledge announced her pregnancy in April. In addition to being the first constitutional officer of Arkansas to give birth while holding office, Rutledge is also the first female and first Republican elected to the Office of Attorney General in Arkansas.

Rutledge Announces Successful Effort to Remove Unwashed Poppy Seeds from Online Retailers following AG Request

Rutledge Announces Successful Effort to Remove Unwashed Poppy Seeds from Online Retailers following AG Request

Fri, Jul 27, 2018

Says, ‘I will continue to educate and work with companies nationwide to stop the sale of these dangerous products’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that online sellers Bonanza and eBay have joined Walmart in banning the online sale of unwashed poppy seeds on their websites, as a direct response to the Attorney General Rutledge’s July 13 letter requesting their removal. Walmart had already taken action to no longer be part of the problem by removing unwashed poppy seeds from their shelves.

In May, Attorney General Rutledge released an Attorney General Alert warning consumers of the dangers of unwashed poppy seeds. Prior to that, Rutledge had met with Steve and Betty Hacala to hear the tragic story of their son, Stephen, who died from morphine intoxication after consuming so-called poppy seed tea made from unwashed poppy seeds.

“It is my duty as Attorney General to protect consumers from identified harmful products like unwashed poppy seeds,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The accessibility of lethal, unwashed poppy seeds for Arkansans is deeply concerning and is why I will continue to educate and work with companies nationwide to demand these products are removed from the shelves and banned from sale on websites. I am pleased that Walmart, eBay and Bonanza have acted quickly to ban the sale of these dangerous products. I am hopeful that Amazon, Etsy and other retailers will take action soon.”

Dr. Stephen Erickson a Forensic Pathologist at the Arkansas State Crime Lab partnered with Dr. Madeline Swartwood a Forensic Toxicologist and found that one particular bag of unwashed poppy seeds contained enough morphine to nearly fill a bottle of 100, 30-milligram morphine pills – the strength prescribed to a palliative bone cancer patient.

Settlement Reached with Medical Device Company

Settlement Reached with Medical Device Company

Thu, Jul 26, 2018

Arkansas to receive $140,611.56

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has joined a coalition of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to settle allegations against Delaware-based medical device maker, Alere Inc. The allegations include that the company knowingly sold materially unreliable point-of-care diagnostic testing devices to hospitals. Alere will pay the federal government $33.2 million, of which $4.8 million will be paid to the participating states. Arkansas is set to receive $140,611.56.

“Alere not only cost government Medicaid programs money, the company put patients’ lives at risk by selling devices that gave false readings, despite receiving complaints about the accuracy of the equipment,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These acts are not acceptable and will not be tolerated as long as I am Attorney General of Arkansas. Patient safety should always be health care providers’ number one concern.”

Alere is accused of selling its Triage devices to hospitals, which are used in emergency departments for the diagnosis of acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, drug overdose and other serious conditions, from 2006 through 2012. Alere received multiple complaints from providers that “put it on notice that certain devices it sold produced erroneous results that had the potential to create false positives and false negatives that adversely affected clinical decision-making.” Despite those warnings, Alere failed to take corrective action until the Food and Drug Administration issued a national product recall in 2012. Because of this conduct, the states allege that between January 1, 2006 and June 12, 2012, Alere knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims for the Triage devices to be submitted to, or caused purchases by, Medicaid.

The settlement resolves a qui tam action originally filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland under the federal False Claims Act and various state false claims statutes.

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the settlement negotiations with Alere on behalf of the partners.

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