CWAG Weekly Roundup
September 17, 2014



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The Nevada Advisory Council for Prosecuting Attorneys (NVPAC) named CWAG Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada as the recipient of the 2014 William J. Raggio Award. This award is presented annually to a current or former prosecutor who has contributed significantly to the improvement of the administration of justice in Nevada. "I am honored to receive such an award," said General Masto. "It has been a distinct pleasure to serve the State of Nevada in my capacity as attorney general alongside outstanding members of the legal community."General Masto has served as Nevada Attorney General for the past eight years, exhibiting great integrity and leadership throughout. She is being recognized for her distinguished service as Nevada Attorney General, her dedication and innovation as chief law enforcement officer for the State, and her strong commitment to justice for all people. "Attorney General Masto has been a leader on many, many issues important to the State of Nevada" said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, who nominated Masto for the award.  "In particular, she led the effort to pass important legislation involving the prosecution of sex traffickers who victimize children and adults alike. The citizens of Nevada will truly miss her unwavering persistence in seeking justice for all of us."


The American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources honored Clive J. Strong, Deputy Attorney General of Idaho, with its 2014 Environment, Energy, and Resources Government Attorney of the Year Award at the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. The award recognizes exceptional achievements by federal, state, tribal or local government attorneys who have worked or are working in the field of environment, energy or natural resources and are viewed as having consistently achieved distinction in an exemplary way. As section chief in the Natural Resources Division of the Idaho Attorney General's Office, Mr. Strong is one of the leading experts in water rights, state endowment lands, the Endangered Species Act and nuclear waste storage issues in the nation. He has resolved numerous seemingly intractable environmental and natural resources disputes affecting Idaho, other states and the federal government.


Marcus Meyer, a Consumer Protection Investigator with the Montana Office of Consumer Protection, recently received the Outstanding Consumer Protection Award from the National Association of Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI).Mr. Meyer was honored by NACPI for his accomplishments in striving to go above and beyond to meet or exceed a consumer's expectations putting their needs first, no matter what the situation. CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana said, "Investigators like Marcus, along the attorneys and support personnel in our Office of Consumer Protection, have had great success in helping Montanans who've been scammed, as well as helping countless others avoid the same scenarios. I'm very proud of our consumer protection team and the work they do."




CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington has invited attorneys from around the state to meet with him about volunteering to provide legal services to unaccompanied immigrant children. Hundreds of these children are already in Washington, some of them as young as eight years old. Many of them will face deportation without lawyers. General Ferguson recently filed a "friend of the court" brief in a federal case asking the court to appoint attorneys to represent unaccompanied immigrant children. "Children facing deportation ought to have lawyers," General Ferguson said. "The stakes are too high to let these kids go into these hearings alone." The number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross into the United States has more than doubled since last year. And, these children are getting younger. According to the Pew Research Center, there has been a 117% increase this year in children aged 12 and younger apprehended at the border.




A federal judge ruled that a tribal casino in northern Idaho had to stop offering Texas Hold'em, saying it violated the state's gambling laws. The Coeur d'Alene tribe's casino in Worely, Idaho, must stop offering Texas Hold'em, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill said, despite the tribe's argument that it is a "bona fide contest of skill" and therefore exempt from the tribe's agreements with the state under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Judge Winmill ruled that the game contained elements of chance, making it illegal in the state. "When a poker player is dealt a hand, chance determines how good or bad that hand will be," Judge Winmill wrote in his decision. "There is no skill involved in that part of the game - ever." "The legislature and the people of Idaho have made it clear what kind of gambling they will accept," Idaho Governor Otter said in a statement. "That does not include poker. And no matter how much the Tribe insists otherwise, Texas Hold'em is poker."




CWAG Attorney General John Suthers of Colorado announced that Sang Leaming owner of Tobacco King will pay $100,000 for selling "spice" products that contained synthetic cannabinoids and which are illegal under Colorado law. Tobacco King sold products that were deceptively labeled and failed to disclose that they were illegal as well as harmful. The terms of the Consent Judgment impose the nation's largest-ever civil fine for selling Spice products against a single store. "Spice is a dangerous, volatile drug that is illegal despite the claims of many store owners that it is not," said General Suthers. "My office will continue working with our law enforcement partners and the retail industry to remove spice from store shelves and prosecute peddlers of these products," General Suthers warned.




The state of Idaho auctioned long-leased sites on Priest Lake, many with cabins or houses on them. The auction generated $26.9 million for Idaho's public school endowment. Nearly all of the 60 cabin owners whose Priest Lake cabin sites were auctioned by the state were able to purchase the properties at the appraised value, with no competitive bidding. For most, the auction provided relief after years of controversy about the appropriate rent the state would charge cabin owners. While the land under their cabins was owned by the state, they built and owned their cabins. Idaho long has rented the lakefront lots to people who build and own cabins on them, but the state has struggled to charge the constitutionally required market-rate rents. It has sharply upped the rents in recent years, pricing out some longtime cabin owners.


Newspapers in Montana ran a three part series on the issue of states taking ownership of federal public lands in that state. Proponents and many opponents of a transfer argue that the state outperforms the federal government in management of public lands, and that the wood products industry needs more access to national forests for timber and other natural resource development. Escalating the debate was the Montana Republican Party's June 2014 resolution making support for the land transfer an official party platform. A working group under the Environmental Quality Council was formed to study the issue. The working group studies federal management of public lands, and makes recommendations to the Legislature on solutions to management shortfalls. Similar committees examining federal land issues have convened in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada. Montana Governor Steve Bullock. "We cherish our public lands. The last thing we ever want to do is have those lands lost." Governor Bullock pointed out that legal avenues to acquire federal lands already exist and Montana occasionally does so through the State Board of Land Commissioners.

Chris Coppin

Legal Director

Conference of Western Attorneys General

111 Lomas, NW   Suite 300

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102


505-660-5901 (cell)

505-222-9183 (fax)

[email protected]

[email protected]