Rutledge Successful in Blocking FCC Order and Protecting Local Municipalities
June 13, 2017
D.C. Circuit strikes down rule that failed to consider important costs
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was successful today in her effort to block a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order that would have effectively limited the amount of money that Arkansas and other local units of government could recover from Inmate Calling Systems (ICS).
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2 to 1 decision said that the FCC overstepped its authority when it attempted to place a cap on intrastate phone call rates.
“This order from the FCC was nothing less than a power grab that I am pleased to see much of invalidated,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The FCC failed to consider numerous issues including costs that would have directly impacted the local budgets of cities and counties across Arkansas.”
The FCC’s order attempted to cap rates and limit fees for ICS while ignoring significant ICS- and security-related costs borne by the states and their need to recoup these costs from ICS providers.
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. What the FCC had proposed would have amounted to a more than 50 percent decrease from previous limits. Additionally the new rule would have applied to all intrastate calls, not just interstate calls.
In March 2016, Rutledge was granted intervention in the lawsuit that was brought by the State of Oklahoma.