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Protect Marine’s Religious Expression

Rutledge Urges Court to Protect Marine’s Religious Expression

Thu, Jan 7, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with nine States to file an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces asking to correct a misinterpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) by the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.

“Our country guarantees the right of religious freedom to all citizens, including those who wear the nation’s uniform,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Congress established the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect religious liberty, but a ruling from the Court of Criminal Appeals incorrectly narrows the circumstances in which the act’s safeguards would apply. Along with my colleagues, I hope the Court of Appeals will swiftly recognize that a Marine’s decision to post biblical verses around her workspace is precisely the type of religious activity RFRA was intended to protect.”

On Oct. 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces granted review in United States v. Sterling, the court martial of Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling, whose workplace allowed other service members to have personal items in their workspaces but punished her for posting Biblical verses at her desk. The lower courts ruled that RFRA did not apply because posting a Bible verse does not constitute “religious exercise” protected by that law.

Oklahoma and Nevada are leading the effort and along with Arkansas are joined by Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to reverse the misinterpretation of RFRA by recognizing that the challenged conduct is an exercise of religion under the law.

In the brief, the attorneys general said, “‘Exercise of religion’ includes any practice that is at least in part motivated by religion or engaged in for religious reasons. Even under the First Amendment, a practice is protected as religious exercise so long as it is ‘rooted in religion’ and not ‘purely secular.’”

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Mobile Office Locations for January

Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for January

Wed, Jan 6, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for January.

Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. In October, the initiative celebrated the milestone of holding office hours in all 75 counties, marking the first time that the Attorney General’s office has held office hours in each county across the State. With the arrival of the new year, the office will once again travel to all 75 counties to assist Arkansans.

The mobile offices assist constituents with consumer-related issues in filing consumer complaints and providing information about scams, identity theft, fraud and other protections. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Faulkner County

Monday, Jan. 11

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Faulkner County Senior Wellness and Activity Center

705 E. Siebenmorgen Road

Conway, AR 72032

Lonoke County

Tuesday, Jan. 12

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Betty Fort Senior Center

1 Newberry Drive

Lonoke, AR 72086

White County

Thursday, Jan. 14

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Lightle Senior Center

2200 E. Moore Ave.

Searcy, AR 72143

Jefferson County

Thursday, Jan. 21

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

James “Jitters” Morgan White Hall Community Center

9801 Dollarway Road

White Hall, AR 71602

Randolph County

Monday, Jan 25

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Pocahontas Senior Wellness Center

1505 Airport Road

Pocahontas, AR 72455

Lawrence County

Tuesday, Jan. 26

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Walnut Ridge Senior Wellness Center

504 SE Southern Ave.

Walnut Ridge, AR 72467

Saline County

Thursday, Jan. 28

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Central Arkansas Development Council Benton Senior Wellness and Activity Center

210 Jefferson Street

Benton, AR 72015

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President’s Action to Implement Gun Control through Executive Order

Rutledge Statement on the President’s Action to Implement Gun Control through Executive Order

Tue, Jan 5, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after President Barack Obama announced executive actions to restrict gun rights of law-abiding Americans.

“Enhancing public safety and reducing the impact of gun violence on our communities must be a top priority, but the President is once again attempting to side-step the legislative branch, this time to restrict gun rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am extremely concerned at the President’s executive actions. As Arkansas Attorney General, I have a duty to protect Arkansans and to make sure our fundamental, Constitutional rights are not violated.”

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Passing of Former Senator Dale Bumpers

Rutledge Statement on the Passing of Former Senator Dale Bumpers

Sat, Jan 2, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following statement after learning of the passing of former Senator Dale Bumpers:

“Dale Bumpers served the people of Arkansas for years with dedication and distinction. From his time as Governor and Senator, he never lost his passion and commitment to take care of Arkansans and to move our State forward. Sen. Bumpers' thoughtfulness and servant heart will be missed. I extend my heartfelt prayers to his family.”

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Texarkana Pawn Shop Settlement

Rutledge Reaches Settlement with Texarkana Pawn Shop

Wed, Dec 30, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Tri-State Pawn of Texarkana Inc. have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that consumers were charged excessive interest rates on title loans, a violation of Arkansas law.

“Predatory lending practices consistently rank among the top 10 complaints made by Arkansans to the Attorney General’s office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “More often than not, these unfair loans only push consumers further into debt. This pawn shop is being held accountable, and I will continue to investigate and go after those who exploit Arkansans.”

The consent judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, prohibits Tri-State Pawn from charging or collecting from consumers on auto pawns or title loans and all outstanding auto pawns or title loans entered into by the pawn shop with Arkansans are voided. $8,697 will be paid to the Attorney General’s office to be distributed to those consumers affected by the pawn shop’s unlawful actions. Tri-State will also pay $108,000 to the Attorney General’s office to be deposited into the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.

The complaint filed in 2013 stated that Tri-State Pawn in one instance seized the vehicle of a borrower prior to the due date of the borrower’s payment, in addition to charging unlawful interest, equivalent to a 240 percent annual rate.

An auto-title loan, known as a title pawn, is a short-term, high-interest loan in which the borrower provides the lender with the title and a key to his or her vehicle as collateral for the loan, but the borrower retains possession of the vehicle.

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Storm and Flooding Scams

Rutledge Warns Arkansans of Scams Following Weekend Storms and Flooding

Tue, Dec 29, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today is urging Arkansans to be on guard following the recent severe weather and flooding currently affecting many parts of the State.

“Despite these difficult times for many Arkansans, scam artists are already seeking to take advantage of those who have had damage to their home or business,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I urge all Arkansans to use caution as they begin the clean-up process and to call my office if they suspect any type of fraud or price gouging. These are unfortunate circumstances especially around the holidays, but the Attorney General’s office is here to protect Arkansans.”

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued disaster declarations for twelve counties yesterday due to the heavy flooding and damage throughout the State caused by this past weekend’s storms. At this time, the counties include: Benton, Calhoun, Carroll, Drew, Franklin, Logan, Madison, Ouachita, Perry, Polk, Searcy and Washington.

Act 376 of 1997, which prohibits businesses from price gouging during a state of emergency, is now in effect in the 12 counties that the Governor has declared disaster areas. The law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10 percent above the pre-disaster price of goods or services, such as food, fuel, water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, medicine, bandages and construction materials. The price gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, State or local governments. The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days and can be extended another 30 days by the local governing body if necessary to protect the lives, property or welfare of the citizens. For home repairs, the law remains in effect for 180 days.

A violation of Act 376 is a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Arkansans who believe they have encountered a disaster scam or price gouging should contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or file a consumer complaint at
ArkansasAG.gov.

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