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CWAG Weekly Roundup

December 11, 2014



 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

CWAG ATTORNEYS GENERAL RECOGNIZED FOR FIGHTING DRUNK DRIVING

 

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org), a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking, is recognizing CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana and CWAG Associate Attorney General Peter Kilmartin of Rhode Island with its 2014 Leadership Award. Attorney General Fox has made it a priority to prevent underage drinking through numerous efforts including public service announcements, the Ask, Listen, Learn Program, and public awareness efforts during Alcohol Awareness Month and back to school timeframes. He has also focused on the broader issue of teen driver safety with the IKnowEverything program during Global Youth Traffic Safety Month and National Teen Driver Safety Week. Attorney General Kilmartin championed the successful passage of legislation mandating the use of ignition interlocks for DUI offenders and has made it a priority to prevent underage drinking for many years through various efforts, including public service announcements and program events across the state. General Kilmartin was also honored for his focus on the broader issue of teen driver safety with the "It Can Wait" campaign throughout the school year. General Fox said. "I want every Montana teen to be safe on the road, and that starts with them understanding that drinking underage is illegal and presents too many risks, especially when they get behind the wheel. I hope all parents will talk to their kids about the dangers of drinking underage, especially now that the holiday season is approaching." General Kilmartin said, "Education and enforcement are critical to the success of curbing impaired and distracted driving. I have made it a top priority of my administration to keep drivers - especially young drivers - safe on our roads. Our success is a credit to the collaborative approach we have taken in partnering with law enforcement, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and others to share the message of sober and responsible driving. This coming year, I look forward to working with the General Assembly to continue to strengthen our DUI laws and make Rhode Island roads the safest in the nation."

 

FIGHTING TRANSNATIONAL CRIME

 

CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida and CWAG hosted a forum on transnational cybercrime with attorneys general and top prosecutors El Salvador and Mexico, as well as representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Attorney General Bondi was joined by her U.S. attorney general counterparts CWAG Attorneys General Lawrence Wasden of Idaho, Sean Reyes of Utah and Tim Fox of Montana, and Attorney General Greg Zoeller of Indiana. Over the course of three days, the group discussed multi-jurisdictional investigations of complex computer crimes, human trafficking, forensic and technical investigations of cyber offenses and credit card fraud.  "International criminal enterprises consist of unscrupulous individuals who devastate the citizens of multiple countries and see no limits to the scope of their crimes. By hosting this international forum, it is my hope that we can work together to abolish these criminal rings and crack down on human trafficking rings, drug trafficking organizations, and criminals who exploit technology to advance their illegal operations," stated General Bondi.


 

ENERGY

 

The North Dakota Industrial Commission adopted new conditioning standards to improve the safety of Bakken crude oil for transport. Order No. 25417 sets operating standards for conditioning equipment to properly separate production fluids into gas and liquid. The order includes parameters for temperatures and pressures under which the equipment must operate to ensure that light hydrocarbons are removed before oil is shipped to market. "The North Dakota Industrial Commission reiterates the importance of making Bakken crude oil as safe as possible for transportation," commission members--Gov. Jack Dalrymple, CWAG Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring-- said in a joint statement. The new standard requires operators to condition Bakken crude oil to a vapor pressure of no more than 13.7 pounds per square inch (psi). National standards set crude oil stability at a vapor pressure of 14.7 psi. Under the order, all Bakken crude oil produced in North Dakota will be conditioned with no exceptions. The order requires operators to separate light hydrocarbons from all Bakken crude oil to be transported and prohibits the blending of light hydrocarbons back into oil supplies prior to shipment.

 

In joint comments filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana and the Crow Nation raise serious concerns about the proposed carbon regulations and their impact on Montana jobs. The EPA is proposing new regulations under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act that would force the states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. Montana operates coal-fired power plants and supplies coal to other states around the country. In the joint comments, Crow Chairman Darrin Old Coyote and General Fox told EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that the proposed regulations would cripple the largest source of jobs and non-federal financial resources on the reservation, which already faces a staggering 47% unemployment rate. "Coal mining on our reservation provides family-wage jobs and benefits for our members," said Chairman Old Coyote. "The Crow Nation can, and should, be self-sufficient, and developing our resources is a significant step in that direction. Since the proposed regulations will penalize our customers in the Midwest and shrink our market, they could have severe impacts on our livelihood," said Chairman Old Coyote.

 

STATE MARIJUANA LAWS

 

A superior court judge agreed with an opinion issued by CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington, concluding that nothing in Initiative 502 overrides local governments' authority to regulate or ban marijuana businesses. This allows I-502 to continue to be implemented. Every court to consider this issue has now agreed with the Attorney General's opinion. A formal opinion released by the AGO in January 2014 concluded that, as drafted, I-502 does not prevent cities and counties from banning marijuana businesses. "My office is working aggressively to uphold the will of the voters," said General Ferguson. "Today's ruling affirms the opinion of my office earlier this year and allows Initiative 502 to continue to be implemented in Washington state. As I have said from the beginning, the drafters of Initiative 502 could have required local jurisdictions to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. It could have been done in a single sentence, but it was not. Now it is up to the Legislature to decide whether to require local governments to allow for the sale of marijuana."


 

PUBLIC LANDS

 

CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah announced that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the R.S. 2477 case of Kane County and Utah v. United States. A three judge panel affirmed that the State and county have legal title to six of twelve roads and held that there was no dispute as to title in the remaining six. The opinion again rejected environmentalists' claim that the statute of limitations bars the road claims. The court also determined that the existence of water reserves do not bar road claims. The court's decision does not address roads other than the Kane County roads. The State, therefore, intends to continue moving forward developing the evidence as to title on all other R.S. 2477 rights-of-way.

 

PROTECTING CONSUMERS

 

One of the most important missions of the Colorado Attorney General's Office is protecting Colorado consumers and businesses from dishonest advertising and unscrupulous businesses. Consumer protection issues have long been the most "clicked through" part of the office's website. So to emphasize its consumer-protection outreach and to meet the demand for timely and credible information on scams and help victims, CWAG Attorney General John Suthers announced the launch of a new microsite, StopFraudColorado.gov. StopFraudColorado.gov makes it easier for Coloradans to learn about common types of fraud, get tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud and streamlines the process for filing fraud reports. "Over the next several months, Coloradans will be introduced to six anthropomorphic animals representing the most common scams we see: identity theft, charity fraud, predatory lending and investment fraud," said General Suthers. "As people begin spotting these animals on buses, billboards, websites and TV stations throughout the state, we hope that they will remember stopfraudcolorado.gov whenever they need information about a particular type of fraud or need to report a fraud that has occurred."

 

A-1 Premium Budget, Inc. (also known as "Cash in a Wink"), a Delaware company that provides short-term, high-interest internet loans, will pay over $6,600 to twelve Vermont consumers and pay the State of Vermont $10,000 to settle claims that the company violated Vermont consumer protection and lending laws. CWAG Associate Attorney General William H. Sorrell noted that this is the fifth settlement in a recent effort to protect Vermonters from predatory lending: "Any lender, large or small, that ignores our state lending and consumer protection laws runs the risk of enforcement by my Office." Cash in a Wink has stated that, as of January 2012, it has ceased lending to Vermont consumers.

 

 

 

AMERICAN INDIAN LAW DESKBOOK, 2014 ed.

 

 

 

CWAG is proud to announce the recent release of our latest book,  American Indian Law Deskbook.

 

Indian law is a dynamic, ever-evolving field of law that overlaps other areas of the law as tribes expand their economic and political reach in our society. If a lawyer needs a concise, direct and easy to understand handbook on Indian law, the American Indian Law Deskbook meets that need. As the chief legal officers of the States, the State Attorneys General offer a unique insight into Indian law. The States have been parties to many of the cases that have shaped Indian law over the years before the United States Supreme Court and the lower courts. Beginning in 1988, the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) saw the need not only to develop a treatise that reflected the current status of Indian law, but also to create a framework adaptable to new developments - decisional or statutory - on a frequent basis. The chapter authors of this book are experienced state lawyers who have been involved in Indian law for many years.

 

Order and Save 20%!To order, CLICK HEREEnter promo code WPD20 at checkout and discount will be applied.  Discount available for this book only. Expires 12.31.14.

Chris Coppin

Legal Director

Conference of Western Attorneys General

111 Lomas, NW   Suite 300

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

505-222-9175

505-660-5901 (cell)

505-222-9183 (fax)

CCoppin@cwagweb.org

Ccoppin@nmag.gov