Rutledge Announces Letter Urging Simplification of Student Loan Discharge for Disabled VeteransFri, May 24, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined a coalition of 52 Attorneys General urging the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to automatically forgive the student loans of veterans who became totally and permanently disabled in connection with their military service.
Last year DOE identified more than 42,000 veterans as eligible for student loan relief due to a service-related total and permanent disability, the Attorneys General note in their letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Fewer than 9,000 of those veterans had applied to have their loans discharged by April 2018, however, and more than 25,000 had student loans in default.
“We are truly honoring our American warriors by taking action to support those who have served and paid a tremendous sacrifice for our freedoms,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By taking action to automatically discharge student loans for military veterans who are permanently disabled by their service, we are providing financial relief to the service member and their families during the most trying of circumstances. The least we could do as a nation is provide them with that financial relief.”
The letter, which was co-led by New Jersey and Utah Attorneys General called on DOE to develop a process to automatically discharge the student loans of veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for such relief. While the automatic discharge process is in development, the letter proposes, DOE should halt debt collection efforts targeting disabled veterans, and clear their credit reports of any negative reporting related to their student loans.
Under federal law, DOE is required to discharge the federal student loans of veterans determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be unemployable (or totally and permanently disabled) due to a service-connected condition. Although DOE currently requires disabled veterans to take affirmative steps to apply for a loan discharge, those steps are not required by law.
Rutledge Welcomes Southern Region Meeting Participants to Little RockTue, May 21, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today opened up the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Southern Region Meeting. The meeting’s theme is Cyber Privacy and Security in the 21st Century and is being attended by attorneys general and their senior staff from across the country. The two-day educational event will bring experts in cyber security to Little Rock.
“As chair of the NAAG Southern Region, I am pleased to bring cyber security experts from across the country here to Little Rock,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “My goal for this seminar is not only to highlight our beautiful state, but also educate officials about the threats and prevention measures related to cyber security.”
"Cybersecurity and privacy are increasingly important issues in today's world,” said NAAG Executive Director Chris Toth. “On behalf of our members and with the leadership of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, NAAG is proud to provide a forum where the attorney general community can discuss best practices for protecting citizens from these complex threats.”
The meeting will include panel discussions about the current state of cyber privacy and security, its vulnerabilities and strategies to protect from cyber attacks. Sessions will also be held on what companies are doing to protect consumers’ personal information, the State’s role in HIPPA violations and cyberattack responses.
Former Arkansas U.S. Senator and former Arkansas Attorney General Mark Pryor, along with former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will moderate the panel discussions. Other moderators and presenters include attorneys general from Tennessee, Texas and Alabama. Attendees from 19 states have registered to participate in the meeting.
Rutledge Announces June Mobile Office ScheduleMon, May 20, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for June.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans. In 2019, Attorney General Mobile Offices have already served over 1,000 Arkansans.
Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.
Rutledge continues her partnerships with the Cooperative Extension Service and local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices. Another 135 pounds of medications have been collected so far this year.
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:
Tuesday, June 4
noon to 1:30 p.m.
Fairfield Bay Senior Center
385 Dave Creek Parkway
Fairfield Bay, AR 72088
Thursday, June 6
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Miller County Senior Adult Center
1007 Jefferson Ave.
Texarkana, AR 71854
Tuesday, June 11
10:30 a.m. to noon
Salem Senior Life Center
309 W. Church St.
Salem, AR 72576
Hot Spring County
Friday, June 14
9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Malvern Senior Activity Center
1800 W. Moline St.
Malvern, AR 72104
Tuesday, June 18
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Camden Senior Center
465 Columbia Ave. SW
Camden, AR 71701
St. Francis County
Thursday, June 20
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
St. Bernards Senior Life Center – Forrest City
2550 S. Washington St.
Forrest City, AR 72335
Tuesday, June 25
10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Mena-Polk County Senior Center
401 Autumn Drive
Mena, AR 71953
Rutledge Leads Coalition that Supports Rescinding CFPB RuleThu, May 16, 2019
12 states send letter to CFPB Director urging rule to keep states as the frontline consumer defenders
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge co-led a coalition of 12 states, along with the Indiana Attorney General, in support of the rule proposed this year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would replace a 2017 CFPB rule governing small, short-term loans. The states contend that the CFPB should recognize them as the frontline consumer defenders and that the 2017 rule improperly tried to cut the states out of the consumer-protection picture. This hurt consumers’ freedom to choose which financial products best serve their own interests.
“The CFPB’s proposed rule would return consumer protection to the states,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The 2017 rule took a one-size-fits-all approach to short-term lending that did not account for individual consumers’ needs. States understand their citizens’ needs better than Washington bureaucrats ever could. The CFPB has realized this, and the proposed rule returns powers to the states to make sure their citizens are protected, along with allowing additional innovative solutions to enhance the consumers’ access to credit on fair terms.”
In the letter, the attorneys general wrote, “The proposed rule respects the states’ role in maximizing consumers’ welfare by ensuring both that consumers are protected from illegal practices and that they have access to credit.”
Arkansas, along with Indiana, led the group which included Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Rutledge Reaches Nearly $200,000 Settlement with Little Rock SpaWed, May 15, 2019
Says, ‘Arkansans who were hurt financially by Indulgences by Body Bronze’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Body Bronze LLC and its owners, Molly Verbrugge and Lila Riggs have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that Indulgences by Body Bronze continued to sell VIP membership plans, spa service packages and gift certificates during the busy 2017 holiday season, but abruptly closed its doors on January 8, 2018, without warning to consumers or employees.
“Arkansans who were hurt financially by Indulgences by Body Bronze will now be made whole,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The owners are being held accountable for soliciting and accepting prepayments from customers without regard to whether the company would be able to provide customers the goods and services they purchased.”
The consent judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, includes $98,510.02 in restitution to 241 Arkansas consumers, and $100,000 in civil penalties. Verbrugge and Riggs are also prohibited from operating another spa-type business in Arkansas.
Indulgences by Body Bronze was a day spa in west Little Rock and advertised services including pedicures, massages, facial treatments and laser hair removal.
Rutledge filed a consumer-protection lawsuit against Indulgences by Body Bronze in February 2018.
Rutledge Joins 16-State Coalition’s Amicus Brief Opposing Illinois Gun RestrictionsMon, May 13, 2019
Says, ‘Constitutional rights do not stop at state lines’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined 15 other states on an amicus brief supporting the Second Amendment and arguing against Illinois’s restrictions on the rights of non-residents to carry guns in public.
“Constitutional rights do not stop at state lines,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Founding Fathers ensured our right to bear arms with the Second Amendment, and it is important to protect that right against attacks by individual state governments that think the Constitution does not apply to them.”
Illinois law prohibits any person from carrying a firearm without an Illinois concealed carry license. Illinois bars non-residents from even applying for a license unless they live in a state with firearm laws substantially similar to Illinois’s.
The 16-state coalition urges the entire United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to review an erroneous decision upholding Illinois’s unconstitutional restrictions.
The 15 states joining Arkansas in the brief are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.