UPCOMING CWAG EVENTS
Energy Export Summit: On May 6, 2015, CWAG Chair Lawrence Wasden will convene Attorneys General and Congressional Members in Washington, DC for an Energy Exports conversation focusing on U.S. policies concerning the export of domestically produced energy to foreign markets.
Panelists and Attorneys General will discuss a range of topics including global demand for U.S. energy, jobs and the U.S. economy, the exportation of LNG, coal and petroleum, environmental concerns, the intricacies of oil infrastructure, key court cases and pending litigation, and the appropriate legal channels for resolution of various issues.
To join the energy conversation on Twitter, follow us at #EnergyX2015.
Attorneys General attending the Summit include:
- The Honorable Lawrence Wasden, Idaho Attorney General
- The Honorable Cynthia Coffman, Colorado Attorney General
- The Honorable Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General
- The Honorable Tim Fox, Montana Attorney General
- The Honorable Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota Attorney General
- The Honorable Edward Manibusan, Northern Mariana Islands Attorney General
- The Honorable Peter Michael, Wyoming Attorney General
- Deputy Attorney General Frederick Boss, Oregon Office of the Attorney General
- Director of Constituent Affairs Todd Dvorak, Idaho Office of the Attorney General
- Assistant Attorney General Michael Moody, Michigan Office of the Attorney General
- Assistant Attorney General Cholla Khoury, New Mexico Office of the Attorney General
- Assistant Attorney General Mike McGrady, Wyoming Office of the Attorney General
- U.S. Senator John Barrasso
- U.S. Senator Steve Daines
- US Senator Heidi Heitkamp
- National Bureau of Asian Research: Meredith Miller, Senior Vice President of Trade, Economic and Energy Affairs
- America's Natural Gas Alliance: Frank Macchiarola, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs
- Jamie Webster, Senior Director for Global Energy Markets, IHS Energy
- Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs: Bill Jackson, Shareholder
- Crow Nation: Darrin Old Coyote, Chairman
- BNSF Railway: Roger Nober, Executive Vice President Law & Corporate Affairs
- IHS Energy: Jamie Webster, Senior Director for Global Energy Markets
- Goldwyn Global Strategies: David L. Goldwyn, President
CWAG Annual Meeting: The Conference of Western Attorneys General and CWAG Chair, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden invite you to attend the CWAG Annual Meeting, July 19-22, 2015, in Wailea, Hawaii at The Grand Wailea Resort. Full meeting and registration details available here.
Download the CWAG Annual Meeting draft topic agenda now! Any questions can be directed to CWAG Meeting Planner Janine Knudsen at [email protected]
ATTORNEYS GENERAL ASSIST YOUNG CITIZENS
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico joined young adults from Santa Fe Public Schools' Keeping Independent Visions Alive (KIVA) program to complete a service project to communicate with New Mexico legislators. The students, ranging in age from 18-22, volunteer doing various jobs for the Office of the Attorney General. KIVA is a functional, life skills and transition program that helps young adults with developmental delays gain the work and social skills necessary to make them as independent as possible. "I am inspired by these amazing young women and men, their coaches and their teachers for the contribution they make to the Office of the Attorney General," said General Balderas. "I am encouraging Santa Fe-area businesses and government agencies to partner with KIVA so these young adults can assist our organizations in strengthening diversity and inclusion in the workplace."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin of Rhode Island and Cox Communications announced that their "Take Charge!" campaign to end online bullying earned an "Excellence Award" for community relations by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Southeastern New England Chapter. General Kilmartin and Cox partnered to bring the "Take Charge!" initiative, which educates and empowers parents to keep their children safe online, to Rhode Island middle and high schools and to raise public awareness of the issue of online bullying. "The response by schools and students to the 'Take Charge!' campaign has been tremendous. One of my favorite things to do as Attorney General is to speak with young people about relevant issues, like online bullying. The 'Take Charge!' campaign gives me the opportunity to speak with students about a real problem they all face in some form or another, and to have an honest conversation about the consequences and how to protect themselves and their friends from online bullying. I am honored this important work has been recognized by PRSA," said General Kilmartin.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma announced a new initiative designed to defend religious freedom and provide support to Oklahoma schools facing intimidation. The assistance includes creating a statewide training program to equip superintendents, teachers, parents, school board members, and others to know their rights. "Few things are as sacred and as fundamental to Oklahomans as the constitutional rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion. It is a challenging time in our country for those who believe in religious liberty. Our religious freedoms are under constant attack from a variety of groups who seek to undermine our constitutional rights and threaten our founding principles," General Pruitt said.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced that her office indicted a woman in connection with trafficking women for sex. The defendant allegedly used Backpage.com to advertise sexual services. Alba Andino was indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on charges of Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude and Deriving Support from Prostitution. The indictment was through the office's dedicated Human Trafficking Unit, which focuses on policy, prevention and criminal prosecutions. Through that unit, the office has charged 20 individuals, including Andino, in connection with human trafficking to date. "We allege that this defendant targeted vulnerable women and trapped them in a life of prostitution, personally profiting from this activity," said General Healey. "This is another example of Backpage being used to facilitate the exploitation of young women. Our office is committed to combatting human trafficking from every angle, and will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who profit from the sexual exploitation of others."
The State of Montana asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend a legal dispute with Wyoming over water of the Tongue River. The Court appointed special master concluded in a report to the Court that Wyoming had shorted Montana in water deliveries in only two recent years. Wyoming has asked Court to accept the report and offered to pay roughly $36,000 to Montana to cover the market value of the water it failed to deliver plus interest. "Wyoming asks this court to exercise its authority to end this litigation immediately to avoid the needless expense associated with further proceedings," CWAG Attorney General Peter Michael stated in his brief. CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana urged the court to reject the special master's finding that it wasn't necessary to determine how much water Montana has a right to store in the Tongue River Reservoir. Montana urged the court to allow further legal proceedings to determine its storage right.
The Washington House of Representatives passed CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson's Patent Troll Prevention Act, a bill to protect Washington small businesses from predatory and bad faith patent infringement claims and demands. General Ferguson requested the legislation to crack down on patent trolls who harass and threaten small businesses in Washington. Patent trolls obtain and misuse patents as a way to make money by asserting patent rights and collecting infringement fees from other businesses. "Patent trolls are in business to take money from legitimate enterprises. Their tactics hurt the economy and stifle innovation," said General Ferguson. "The Patent Troll Prevention Act will protect small businesses and provide my office with enforcement authority to hold these fraudulent trolls accountable."
The Rhode Island State Senate passed legislation that prohibits so-called "patent trolls" in Rhode Island. The legislation, filed on behalf of CWAG Associate Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, would prohibit a person from making bad faith assertions of patent infringement against a Rhode Island business or individual. The law would also allow a business or individual to bring action in Rhode Island Superior Court against the patent troll, where they may be awarded equitable relief, actual damages, costs, attorney's fees and exemplary damages. The law also gives the Office of Attorney General civil investigative powers, including the ability to bring civil actions against patent trolls; if found to have made a bad faith assertion, the patent troll could face a maximum penalty of $250,000. "Patent trolls" are individuals or companies that acquire patents solely for the purpose of using them to extract license fees and settlements from those targeted as alleged infringers. Consumers, small businesses and non-profit agencies are often targeted by patent trolls because they have purchased or used products with a wide range of patented technology such as printers or scanners. "The tactics that patent trolls employ stifle entrepreneurship and can financially devastate a small business. We need to protect businesses that are attacked by dubious patent trolls looking to make a quick buck," said General Kilmartin.
GENETIC ENGINEERED FOOD
CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Sorrell of Vermont has formally adopted the regulations implementing Act 120, the law requiring the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. The new rule is Consumer Protection Rule CP 121. After months of public outreach and comments from producers, retailers and consumers, and after approval by the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, the Attorney General formally filed the adopted rule with the Secretary of State's Office on April 17, 2015. Act 120 and the rule take effect on July 1, 2016. "This is a process that began with the Legislature's careful crafting of Act 120," said General Sorrell. "We are pleased at the amount of public input we received during the rulemaking process - from industry and consumers - and are glad that, with the formal adoption of this rule, we are giving ample time for food manufacturers and retailers to prepare for the law to take effect in just over fourteen months."
CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada announced that Mark Shelton, 46, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty last week to securities fraud and multiple transactions of fraud and deceit in connection with two scams. Shelton used aliases in order to swindle online victims to pay substantial fees in exchange for loan funding and lines of credit. Shelton collected the fees, but never provided the promised loans. "My office will aggressively pursue those attempting to defraud individuals, especially those who are repeat offenders," said General Laxalt. "The public should be made aware that fraud trends are constantly evolving, particularly with the availability of anonymous internet advertising and solicitation. I urge those looking to obtain loans online to research loan businesses thoroughly before paying any fees or signing any contracts. Nevada law prohibits any person from receiving an advance fee to obtain a loan for another person, unless the fee is placed in escrow pending completion or commitment of the loan."
CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah was a featured speaker at the 10th Annual Credit and Collection News Conference in California. The annual conference advises national and international credit and collection companies on up-to-date government regulations, consumer finance issues, and privacy. General Reyes spoke about the role of Attorneys General throughout the nation and the key factors to understand when doing business in each state. "State by state regulations differ greatly depending on localized industry, economy, and multiple other factors. Because of this, it is critical that national and international companies understand that as a whole, Attorneys General highly prioritize consumer protection against bad business practices," said General Reyes. "The good news for the law abiding companies, many attending the conference, is that we also prioritize protecting good businesses. When government oversight is done correctly and ethically, investors are protected, legitimate businesses flourish, and malfeasors are held accountable."