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Mobile Office Locations for Early July

Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for Early July

Tue, Jun 30, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for the first half of July.

Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city.

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.

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:

Hampton

Tuesday, July 7

9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Hampton City Hall, Council Room

121 N. 2nd St.

Hampton, AR 71744

Fordyce

Tuesday, July 7

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Fordyce City Hall, Council Room

101 S. Main St.

Fordyce, AR 71742

Helena-West Helena

Thursday, July 9

10 a.m. – noon

Helena-West Helena City Hall, Lobby

226 Perry St.

Helena, AR 72342

Brinkley

Thursday, July 9

2 – 4 p.m.

Mid-Delta Senior Citizen Center, Lobby

705 W. 6th St.

Brinkley, AR 72021

Fayetteville

Wednesday, July 15

10 a.m. – noon

Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center, Lobby

945 S. College Ave.

Fayetteville, AR 72701

Van Buren

Wednesday, July 15

2 – 4 p.m.

Van Buren Municipal Complex, Council Room

1003 Broadway St.

Van Buren, AR 72956

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Lawsuit Challenging the EPA’s WOTUS Rule

Rutledge Joins Lawsuit Challenging the EPA’s WOTUS Rule

Mon, Jun 29, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined with 12 other States in filing a complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) challenging a new rule defining “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, under the Clean Water Act. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota.

“From the beginning, I have explained that this rule from the EPA and the Corps goes beyond the intent of Congress under the Clean Water Act and will negatively impact Arkansas’s agriculture community – a community that accounts for one in every six jobs across the State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have also indicated that I was prepared to take any and all legal action to prevent implementation of this unlawful regulation, which is why I am proud to join 12 other states in filing this lawsuit today. I am confident that the courts will once again affirm that local oversight and local control is the best way to protect our waters.”

In the complaint, the States contend the new definition of WOTUS violates provisions of the Clean Water Act as set forth by Congress, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the U.S. Constitution.

The expansive new rule brings numerous isolated bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Corps, which will result in landowners having to seek additional federal permits or face substantial fines and federal criminal enforcement actions if they do not comply.

The States are seeking to have the rule vacated and the EPA and the Corps enjoined from enforcing the new definition of WOTUS.

The States assert that the EPA’s new rule wrongly broadens federal authority by placing a majority of water and land resources management in the hands of the federal government. Congress and the courts have repeatedly affirmed the States have primary responsibility for the protection of intrastate waters and land management. The States argue that the burdens created by new requirements from the EPA on waters and lands are harmful to the States and will negatively affect farmers, developers and landowners, and thus the overall economy.

In addition to Arkansas, Rutledge is joined in filing today’s lawsuit by attorneys general from Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, as well as the New Mexico Environmental Department and the New Mexico Office of State Engineer.

A copy of the complaint is available by clicking here.

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Supreme Court Says the EPA Cannot Ignore Costs

Rutledge: Supreme Court Says the EPA Cannot Ignore Costs

Mon, Jun 29, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Michigan v. EPA, a case in which Arkansas was a party. The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must consider the economic costs of complying with the regulations it imposes.

“Today is a victory for Arkansas’s economy and consumers as the Supreme Court reined in the EPA. We all want to protect the environment to make sure that we pass along clean air and clean water to future generations. I’m pleased the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA cannot ignore the costs of those regulations it seeks to impose. As Justice Antonin Scalia indicated in his majority opinion, the Clean Air Act makes several mentions of costs, which should be one of the many factors the agency considers as it proposes new rules. The EPA’s own estimate of the cost of compliance with the challenged regulation was $9.6 billion per year, with only $4 to $6 million per year in benefits.

“This ruling should serve as a reminder to the EPA that it is not above the law. Last month, the EPA put forward its unprecedented rule to expand its authority over numerous isolated bodies of water, a clear violation of the Clean Water Act. In addition, later this summer, the EPA is expected to finalize its Clean Power Plan, which will seek to impose illegal requirements on States and power plants. Both rules exceed the intent provided by Congress and will have devastating effects on Arkansas. In light of today’s ruling, I encourage the EPA to withdraw its WOTUS rule and carefully consider the legality of the Clean Power Plan.”

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U.S. Supreme Court Glossip v. Gross Decision

Rutledge Comments on U.S. Supreme Court Glossip v. Gross Decision

Mon, Jun 29, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Glossip v. Gross. The Supreme Court upheld a procedure used by some States to carry out executions by lethal injection.

“The U.S. Supreme Court today has once again ruled that capital punishment by lethal injection is constitutional. Today’s decision is an important step toward ensuring that executions can be carried out and that justice is served. The Attorney General’s Office continues to handle ongoing litigation concerning Arkansas’s lethal injection statute, and I am confident the State will prevail in the end, allowing executions to resume.”

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Supreme Court’s Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges

Rutledge Issues Guidance Following the Supreme Court’s Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges

Fri, Jun 26, 2015

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the following memo to State and local officials to offer guidance in regards to the same-sex marriage ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

MEMORANDUM

To: State and local officials of the State of Arkansas

From: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Date: June 26, 2015

Re: Obergefell, James, et al. v. Hodges, Richard, et al.

The purpose of this memorandum is to advise officials of the State of Arkansas and government officials of Arkansas counties, Arkansas municipalities, and others regarding the same-sex marriage ruling today by the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell, James, et al. v. Hodges, Richard, et al. (U.S. Supreme Court No. 14-556, June 26, 2015).

At the outset, it should be noted that the U.S. Supreme Court directive applies only to government agencies and officials, and civil marriage recognized by the government and does not compel religious institutions or clergy to recognize same-sex marriage. The opinion specifically notes that “[t]he First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. ” Id., slip opinion at *27.

The fundamental governing principle to ensure compliance by government officials and government entities with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling is: same-sex couples should be treated exactly the same as opposite-sex couples in matters regarding civil marriage and the attendant rights, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage. State and local officials must immediately recognize the validity of same-sex marriage licenses issued by Arkansas and same-sex marriage licenses issued by other states, just as state and local officials recognize the validity of opposite-sex marriage licenses issued by Arkansas and other states. Arkansas officials should recognize the validity of same-sex marriage licenses issued in other states both before and after the Supreme Court ruling.

Arkansas county clerks should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples upon request, requiring exactly the same procedures, fees, and other requirements as required for opposite-sex couples. Government agencies which provide privileges and benefits to married couples or spouses of married individuals should provide the same privileges and benefits to married same-sex couples and same-sex spouses of married individuals. For example, the state tax authorities should allow same-sex married couples to submit joint tax returns if those couples choose to do so, and should treat them exactly the same as opposite-sex couples who submit joint tax returns. Government employers that allow spouses of married employees to enroll in employee benefits programs such as health insurance should allow same-sex spouses of employees to enroll in employee benefits programs, exactly as they allow opposite-sex spouses of employees to enroll in employee benefits programs.

Again, the Supreme Court decision applies only to government entities, and civil marriage recognized by States and government and does not compel religious institutions, clergy, or private individuals to recognize same-sex marriage.

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Comments on Obergefell v. Hodges Decision

Rutledge Comments on U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges Decision

Fri, Jun 26, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states.

“Although this decision does not reflect the will of Arkansas voters, we are a nation of laws, and the judicial system has an important role to play. I am disappointed that the justices have chosen to ignore the role of the States to define marriage. The justices have issued a decision, and that decision must be followed.

“We are continuing to review this landmark decision to make sure the full implications are understood and that implementation is consistent with the rule of law. I urge those seeking to marry to be respectful as the State seeks to follow this ruling. Moving forward, it is critically important that the rights of religious freedom be protected, and I am committed to doing so.”

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