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Allow States to Protect Health and Safety of Women

Rutledge Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Allow States to Protect the Health and Safety of Women

Wed, Mar 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with 23 other states to file a bipartisan amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court urging that states continue the long-standing practice of being able to protect patients and uphold overall public health. The brief is in support of Texas House Bill 2 (HB 2), which seeks to ensure patient safety and raise the standard for care of women.

“States have a responsibility to ensure that all medical procedures, including abortions, are performed with a certain standard of care to protect the health and safety of the patient,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If the Texas law is struck down, it will put at risk the ability of states to properly protect its citizens. I am hopeful when the Court decides this case later this year it will recognize that Texas, Arkansas and all states have a legitimate interest in protecting the health of women and regulating the medical profession.”

The Texas law is not about overturning Roe v. Wade, nor is it about restricting access to abortions. Instead, it is about ensuring that if women choose to have such a procedure it be done in a safe manner. As the Attorneys General argue, “The entire premise of Petitioners’ undue burden theory is that Texas’s clinic regulations will prevent women from obtaining abortions. Yet, despite decades of those regulations, neither Petitioners nor their supporting amici provide any evidence of such a stark result. The most that they prove is that, in the wake of new state regulations, some abortion clinics close rather than adjust. They recite no evidence that such closures have prevented any women from obtaining a timely abortion.”

According to the Texas Attorney General’s office, in 2013, the Texas Legislature passed HB 2 to provide abortion patients with a higher standard of health care. The common-sense law requires the minimum standards for abortion facilities be equivalent to the minimum standards for general surgery centers (“ambulatory surgical centers”), as the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury in Pennsylvania recommended. The law requires abortion doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges to ensure continuity of care, as recommended previously by the National Abortion Federation.

The case was argued before the Court last week, and a decision is expected in late June.

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D.C. Circuit Grants Stay of Costly FCC Order

Rutledge: D.C. Circuit Grants Stay of Costly FCC Order

Mon, Mar 7, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted in part a motion to stay an order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that effectively limited the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government may recover from inmate calling systems (ICS).

“The stay from the D.C. circuit is welcome news for local budgets and law enforcement across Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Because of the court’s action, jails and prisons will not be shortchanged during the legal challenge to the FCC’s order. If this costly order had taken effect, the result would have been disastrous for many local communities.”

The court’s decision to stay in part the FCC order comes after Rutledge, along with attorneys general from Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Missouri, filed a motion last month seeking to intervene in order to join the lawsuit, State of Oklahoma v. FCC. The court has not acted on the request.

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.

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 the new caps will apply to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.

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EPA’s Unlawful Carbon Plan at CPAC

Rutledge Discusses EPA’s Unlawful Carbon Plan at CPAC

Thu, Mar 3, 2016

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge participated today in a panel discussion, “The Lights Go Down in the City: The Journey to Energy Self Sufficiency,” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland. The panel, which included U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R-OK) and David Rivkin Jr., an attorney with BakerHostetler, highlighted the damaging effects of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) unlawful Clean Power Plan.

“It was an honor to join this panel to discuss the Clean Power Plan which jeopardizes the future of our nation’s economy,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The EPA lacks authority under the Clean Air Act to impose such sweeping regulations upon the states, and its actions violate the rule of law by usurping both the constitutional authority of the legislative branch and the sovereignty of the individual states. As I have traveled to all 75 counties this past year, countless Arkansans raised concerns about skyrocketing electric rates that will occur from the EPA’s power grab. Projections show that the EPA’s rule will cost at least $29 billion per year and cause double-digit electricity price increases in 41 states, including Arkansas. I am committed to doing everything I can to stop this unlawful rule from going into effect.”

Rutledge is part of a bipartisan coalition of states and state agencies that are challenging the Clean Power Plan in the D.C. Circuit. Last month, at the request of Rutledge and others, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the rule until the legal challenges are resolved.

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Accepting Applications for Summer Interns
2016 FOIA Roadshows

Attorney General, Press Association Announce 2016 FOIA Roadshows

Fri, Feb 26, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the Arkansas Press Association (APA) today announced the 2016 schedule for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Roadshows, which are informal workshops on the act and include the FOIA Made Simple presentation by the Attorney General’s office, detailing responsibilities and rights covered by the Act related to public meetings and documents.

For the first time ever, the roadshows will now include two dates where a live webcast will be offered where participants can watch and type questions to presenters.

“As the people’s lawyer, it is a top priority of mine to educate the public about their rights under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “That education is not limited to those in and around Little Rock, which is why I am proud to partner with the Arkansas Press Association to offer regional roadshows and for the first time, a live webcast. I will do whatever I can to help Arkansans better understand one of the strongest transparency laws in the nation, and I encourage all of those interested to join us.”

“The Arkansas Press Association and the Office of the Attorney General have combined forces for a number of years now to bring these important forums to the people of Arkansas,” said Tres Williams, APA’s director of government relations and communications. “They are essential tools for informing custodians of public records and other public officials of their responsibilities under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. They also provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness among average citizens across the state as to their rights under the law and the importance of preserving transparency and citizen involvement in government.”

All roadshows are free and open to the public. Register at ArkansasAG.gov. The program has been approved for 2.0 hours of general Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit.

FOIA Roadshow Schedule:

Wednesday, March 9

10 a.m. to noon

Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis

Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center, Room 136

Friday, April 1

10 a.m. to noon

Live webcast

Thursday, May 12

10 a.m. to noon

Arkansas Tech University, Russellville

Doc Bryan Student Services Building, Multipurpose Room 242

Tuesday, June 21

10 a.m. to noon

Live webcast

Tuesday, Sept. 6

10 a.m. to noon

University of Arkansas Community College at Hope

Hempstead Hall

Thursday, Oct. 13

10 a.m. to noon

University of Central Arkansas, Conway

Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center, Rooms 112 and 113

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act was enacted by the General Assembly in 1967 after a strong push from a coalition of citizens and journalists and with the support of then-Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. The bill passed the House and Senate without a dissenting vote. Gov. Rockefeller later reflected that the passage of the FOIA was one of the most significant achievements of his time in office.

Today’s announcement comes after Rutledge and the APA published the 17th edition of the FOIA handbook. Print copies of the Freedom of Information Handbook are available upon request from the Attorney General’s office by calling (501) 682-2007, and electronic copies of the handbook are available at ArkansasAG.gov and at ArkansasPress.org.

For more information about the roadshows, please email foiaroadshow@arkansasag.gov.

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