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Decision Blocking President’s Bathroom Directive

Rutledge Statement on Court’s Decision Blocking President’s Bathroom Directive

Mon, Aug 22, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a nationwide injunction 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.

“The administration’s intimidation of local school districts with a federal directive that unlawfully ignores the role of Congress has forced half of the states in the nation to stand up against this radical social agenda,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am pleased that the district court in Texas has acted to protect districts across the country while the full legality of this policy is determined. I am confident it will be determined that the Obama administration once again overstepped in its attempt to rewrite law.”

Arkansas along with Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming joined Nebraska in challenging the administration’s policy in U.S. District Court in Nebraska in July, separate from the Texas case. The case in Nebraska will continue.

The Obama administration is attempting to rewrite Congress’ use of the term “sex” in federal law to mean “gender identity.” Current state law and federal regulations allow schools to maintain separate facilities based upon sex. The recent action by the administration circumvents this established law by ignoring the appropriate legislative process necessary to change it. It also supersedes local school districts’ authority to address student issues on an individualized, professional and private basis.

2 Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

Rutledge Announces Two Arkansans Sentenced for Medicaid Fraud

Thu, Aug 18, 2016
Urges D.C. Circuit to Strike Down Firearm Law

Rutledge Urges D.C. Circuit to Strike Down Unlawful Firearm Law

Wed, Aug 17, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general, urging the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals to strike down a restrictive and unlawful firearm law put in place by the Washington D.C. City Council.

The District refuses to issue a public-carry license to any law-abiding citizen unless the District believes, on a case-by-case basis, that a citizen has “good reason to fear injury.” The attorneys general believe that such a scheme makes it almost impossible for a normal citizen to obtain a license to carry a firearm, thus infringes the Second Amendment, and does nothing to improve public safety.

The attorneys general write in the brief that “the challenged regulation represents a policy choice that is foreclosed by the Second Amendment. Amici states are concerned that upholding the challenged regulation would rest on an erroneous construction of the United States Constitution and would infringe on individual rights. While states may enact reasonable firearm regulations that are substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental interest, the challenged regulation does nothing to improve public safety and instead may be counterproductive.”

“It is not my role, nor is it my intent, to interfere with local policy choices, but I have a duty to speak out when law-abiding citizens are having their Second Amendment rights trampled,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The District, like Arkansas, is entitled to create permitting laws consistent with the Constitution, but this law goes far beyond that. It requires citizens to have and prove a special reason to exercise their right to bear a firearm. The permitting scheme is being applied to prevent the large majority of D.C. citizens from lawfully carrying a weapon.”

Led by Arizona, Rutledge is joined in the brief by attorneys general from Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

2 Women Arrested by MFCU
Proposed Alteration of Regional Haze Rule

Rutledge Criticizes the EPA for Proposed Alteration of Regional Haze Rule

Thu, Aug 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading a coalition of eight attorneys general, calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fully consider the effects and costs of proposed amendments to the regulations governing regional haze. The attorneys general believe that the proposed changes are inconsistent with the plain text of the Clean Air Act, would increase costs on Arkansas utilities and ultimately ratepayers and drastically reduce the role of the states in establishing their own guidelines.

In the letter, the attorneys general write, “if adopted, the proposed amendments would dramatically alter existing definitions, divest the states of their long-established role in determining what is a reasonably attributable visibility impairment source or set of sources, dramatically expand the authority of Federal Land Managers at the expense of the states, replace measurable impairment standards with amorphous and ill-defined concepts and cast aside the understood link between reasonable progress and long term goals.”

“The EPA is proposing improper changes to the rules to wrest control from states like Arkansas that approach regional haze in a balanced way,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These proposed changes are part of an attempt to force the EPA’s political agenda on many states and ignore what is in the best interest of a particular state. The EPA should fully consider the effects of these rule changes before thinking about proceeding with implementation.”

Joining Rutledge in the letter are the attorneys general of Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Endangered Species Act Decision

Rutledge: Fifth Circuit Should Reconsider Sweeping Endangered Species Act Decision

Thu, Aug 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in an amicus brief, asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant en banc review of the case, Wyerhaeuser Company v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A three-judge panel of the Court decided the case in favor of the Fish and Wildlife Service and did so in a way that risks giving the federal agency the unilateral and unchecked ability to assert control over large swaths of private and state property across the nation.

The panel’s decision ignored the plain language of the Endangered Species Act as well as relevant U.S. Supreme Court precedent. The attorneys general are asking for the case to be heard by the full Court.

“A decision of this sweeping magnitude that threatens the private property rights of citizens and the interests of the states should be heard by the full circuit court,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If the previous decision is allowed to stand, it risks giving federal bureaucrats in one agency an almost unconfinable power to decide on their own what and how much private and state land to assert control over for the alleged purpose of conserving endangered species. This would even include land that the species have never once lived on or used.”

The attorneys general argue that the Court should grant review for two reasons. First, the panel’s decision “would allow the government to declare land ‘essential’ to the conservation of a species even if that land is not and may never be habitable by the species.” Second, the panel “declared certain critical habitat findings immune from judicial review, threatening to undermine the important cost-benefit analysis Congress built into the Endangered Species Act. If allowed to stand, the panel’s decision would strip the states and other interested parties of their right to challenge irrational or arbitrary habitat decisions.”

Led by the Alabama Attorney General, Rutledge is joined on the brief by attorneys general from Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming.

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