Rutledge Seeks to Challenge Costly FCC OrderWed, Feb 24, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today has filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The lawsuit challenges an FCC order that would effectively limit the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government may recover from Inmate Calling Systems (ICS).
Rutledge, along with Attorneys General from Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri, are seeking to intervene in order to join the lawsuit, State of Oklahoma v. FCC, which is in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“Since this order from the FCC was finalized in October, I have spoken with numerous sheriffs, the Arkansas Department of Correction and other agencies about the loss of revenue this order would impose on local communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Increased financial strain is not something local jails or prisons can handle at this time. Based on the feedback I received, I am seeking to join a lawsuit, brought by my colleague from Oklahoma, which will invalidate this order.”
The FCC’s order, which caps rates and limits fees for ICS, ignores significant ICS- and security-related costs borne by the states and their need to recoup these costs from ICS providers. As explained in the motion to intervene, “the Order is arbitrary and capricious as it does not consider these costs and allow for reasonable cost recoupment by the states. The intervening states will also argue that the Order is unconstitutional and not authorized by federal law.”
In the final order, the FCC caps inmate calls at 11 cents per minute for all local and long distance calls from state and federal prisons. In jails, prices will range from 14 cents to 22 cents per minute, depending on the size of the institution. The new cap accounts for a more than 50 percent decrease from previous limits. Additionally, in a constitutionally-suspect power grab, the new caps will apply to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.
Two FCC commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, opposed the order, calling it well-intentioned, but saying the order bends the FCC's legal authority and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for MarchWed, Feb 24, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.
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.
The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
Attorney General Rutledge recently expanded the services offered at mobile offices to include Prescription Drug Take Back boxes. Rutledge is partnering with local law enforcement agencies across the State who will handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Rutledge encourages Arkansans to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.
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:
Thursday, March 3
Central Arkansas Development Council Arkadelphia Senior Activity Center
1305 N. 10th St.
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
Tuesday, March 8
10 a.m. – noon
Southwest Arkansas Development Council Camden Senior Center
465 Columbia Ave. SW
Camden, AR 71701
Thursday, March 10
Lincoln County Senior Center
201 N. Drew St.
Star City, AR 71667
Monday, March 14
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Mena-Polk County Senior Citizens Inc.
401 Autumn Drive
Mena, AR 71953
Tuesday, March 15
Stuttgart Senior Citizens Center
811 S. Buerkle St.
Stuttgart, AR 72160
Tuesday, March 29
Monticello Senior Citizens Center
203 Henley Drive
Monticello, AR 71655
Thursday, March 31
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Newport Senior Life Center
947 Hout Circle
Newport, AR 72112
Rutledge Announces Medicaid Fraud Conviction of Little Rock WomanTue, Feb 23, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Pulaski County woman for Medicaid fraud. Quashonna Evans pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Evans will serve one year probation and pay a fine of $1,000.
“Attorneys and agents within the Attorney General’s office are working diligently with local prosecutors to combat abuse within the Medicaid system,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This conviction was the direct result of a citizen complaint, and I encourage all Arkansans if they suspect Medicaid fraud to contact the Attorney General’s office.”
Evans, 27, of Little Rock pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, a Class A misdemeanor. Evans billed the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services that were not rendered.
The case was prosecuted in coordination with Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
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 email@example.com.
Rutledge Welcomes Spring InternsMon, Feb 22, 2016
LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has accepted five students from across the State into the Attorney General’s office internship program.
“My intent is to provide experiential learning opportunities for these interns as they assist with consumer and safety education and outreach activities statewide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The internship program allows for exposure to the public service sector and enhances their collegiate experiences, enabling them to be more career ready. I hope these interns will continue to use their skills to serve Arkansans.”
Lauren Potgieter-Langston graduated from Arkansas State University in 2015, majoring in criminology. Potgieter-Langston is from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where she attended Collegiate Girls’ High School and graduated in 2010. She is working in the Public Affairs Department.
Bryce Moore is a junior, studying public administration at the University of Central Arkansas. He is from Sherwood and graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2013. Moore is working in the Public Affairs Department.
Shannon Nicholson is a freshman, double majoring in criminal justice and psychology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Nicholson is from Sherwood, where she attended Sylvan Hills High School, and graduated in 2015. She is working in the Communications Department.
Isabella Schmidt is a junior, double majoring in psychology and Spanish at UALR. Schmidt is a Little Rock native, was homeschooled online and graduated in 2011. She is working in the Communications Department and Special Investigations Division.
Derek Vickers is a junior, studying criminal justice at UALR. Vickers is from Mayflower, where he attended Mayflower High School and graduated in 2013. He is working in the Communications Department.
Rutledge Selects New Deputy Attorney General for Civil DepartmentThu, Feb 18, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today named Ryan Owsley of Little Rock deputy attorney general for the Civil Department. Owsley is an experienced attorney who has been an assistant attorney general in the Opinions Department since 2008.
“The people of Arkansas will be well-served by having Ryan as the deputy attorney general for the Civil Department,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have witnessed Ryan’s remarkable knowledge and ability to clarify some of the most complex parts of the law through his work in the Opinions Department. His understanding of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act is one very few can match. I know Ryan is excited to get to work with the talented attorneys in the department as they work to represent the agencies, boards and commissions of Arkansas in an effective and professional manner.”
Before joining the office, Owsley worked in private practice handling insurance-defense litigation and appellate work. Prior to private practice, Owsley clerked for then Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber. A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and an honors graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Owsley served as an editor of the UALR Law Review.
Owsley succeeds David Curran, who left last month for an opportunity with the University of Arkansas System.
Handling approximately 500 cases each year in State and federal courts, the Civil Department’s attorneys serve as counsel representing State agencies, officials, boards and commissions when any are named as defendants in civil lawsuits. The lawyers also initiate lawsuits to protect the interests of the State.
Rutledge Unveils a Laura’s Card to Assist Victims of Domestic ViolenceWed, Feb 17, 2016
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today unveiled a Laura’s Card to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Participating in the announcement were Representatives Charlotte Douglas (R-Alma) and Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville) and Angela McGraw, executive director of Women & Children First.
Laura’s Card was created through legislation sponsored by Rep. Douglas in the 2015 legislative session after many conversations with Laura Webb of Cabot. Webb is a survivor of domestic violence, but when she was victimized she did not know where to turn and voiced her concerns to Rep. Douglas about the need to provide resources to those in abusive situations. Now under Act 873, law enforcement officers must provide a resource information card to assist victims of crime and their families.
“As a former Lonoke County prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the horrific tragedy domestic violence situations can bring on families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In 2014 alone, the domestic violence shelters in Arkansas received almost 28,000 phone calls, of which nearly 35 percent were in a crisis situation. Together we can make a difference against these crimes that have no age, race, economic or geographic boundaries, which is why my office has produced and printed a Laura’s Card that will be distributed to all 75 counties – to sheriffs’ offices, police departments, advocacy groups and shelters. If we can save one life by sharing these resources, it is worth it.”
“Domestic violence is most often about control of the victim: physical, emotional, financial and educational,” said Rep. Douglas. “It is my hope that through Laura's Card we bring power to victims through access to their victim's rights and services that are offered to free them from a life of abuse. We must all work to turn victims into victors.”
“Domestic violence is typically about power,” said Rep. Ballinger. “The perpetrator is often lashing out in order to prove his or her power or to retain his or her power at the expense of the victim. The victim conversely, often feels powerless, unsure of what, if anything, she or he can do. Laura's Card addresses that. It is an effort to inform victims of their rights and provide them with resources that can help get them out of the destructive cycle of violence. I greatly appreciate Rep. Douglas, the Attorney General's office, the victims' advocates, law enforcement and the Domestic Violence Coalition who all worked tirelessly to bring this bill to life and to get it implemented here in Arkansas.”
“Laura’s Card is the best resource that Arkansas has offered victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse to assure victims are aware of the options and legal remedies when attempting to escape an abusive situation,” said Lee Nailling, chairperson, Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence Board of Directors. “Thanks to Attorney General Rutledge and her office for their involvement and for printing and distribution of the cards.”
“Domestic violence shelters around the State are committed to working in collaboration with law enforcement to provide consistent information for victims of crime,” said McGraw. “Laura's Card provides the ability to fulfill this purpose, and we are grateful.”
Laura’s Card now includes 24-hour crisis lines, a place for law enforcement and local shelter or service provider to include contact information, a list of victim’s rights, information about the Crime Victims Reparations Board and a website that has been created with links to numerous resources available across the State. The website, LaurasCard.ar.gov, is a clearinghouse of resources for law enforcement, service providers and victims.
In addition to working with Rep. Douglas, Webb and the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rutledge also received input to help craft Laura’s Card from the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police; Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence; Arkansas Crime Information Center; Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board; Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association; Arkansas State Police; Criminal Justice Institute and the Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator.