CWAG Roundup

July 9, 2015

 


 

CWAG ANNUAL MEETING NEWS

 

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at the CWAG Annual Meeting in Wailea, Hawaii!  Please follow the links to review the final meeting agenda and  current attendee list for your information. 

 

We are also pleased to announce that registered attendees of the 2015 CWAG Annual Meeting have been added to Convene by Thomson Reuters, which is the official mobile app for this conference.  Convene delivers up-to-date and convenient access to content on your smartphone or tablet. Use Convene to personalize your agenda, read about sessions, navigate using maps, interact with attendees, view presentations and more.  Just download the app from the app store to search for our event and access the conference information.

  

Also, as a reminder that dress for all CWAG meetings and events in Maui is casual and the predicted weather for Wailea is highs of 85 and lows of 71!

 

CWAG ALLIANCE PARTNERSHIP NEWS

 

CWAG Attorneys General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada and Mark Brnovich of Arizona hosted a delegation in Phoenix of attorneys general from various Mexican states. The meeting was held to discuss the ongoing initiatives to combat transnational crime. Baja, Mexico Attorney General Perla Ibarra Leyva, Guanajuato, Mexico Attorney General Carlos Zamarripa Aguirre, and Sonora, Mexico Attorney General Carlos Navarro Sugich were among those in attendance to meet with the two U.S. attorneys general. "Cross-border coordination and communication remains crucial to responding to and combating transnational crimes in a unified manner," said General Laxalt. "On behalf of Nevada, I welcome collaboration from our law enforcement partners in Mexico, and look forward to continuing efforts to further the rule of law." General Brnovich added, "The ongoing dialogue with our counterparts in Mexico is critical in developing long-term public safety strategies and successful law enforcement collaborations between our countries."

 

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

 

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has protested sweeping federal greater sage grouse conservation rules. Federal plans for 19.8 million acres in Wyoming "will have long-term and significant impact on energy, tourism, recreation and agriculture industries, as well as cultural resources, water resources and open space," Governor Mead wrote. The protest includes a cover letter and five other letters specific to plans affecting federal lands and minerals in Wyoming. The governor's protests are among some 250 others sent by conservation groups, industry representatives and stockgrowers. Together they reveal a wide gulf among those with an interest in the sagebrush sea, its wildlife, minerals and other resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must decide by the end of September whether the greater sage grouse still warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act, a decision that will impact all those interests.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan is built on states proposing mitigation actions in four areas. Once this plan finishes the approval process, expected in August, the challenges with developing a compliance plan and the related political battles will shift to state governments. At that point, not only governors, state legislators and state environmental agencies, but also nongovernmental organizations, utilities and the energy industry within those states will need a better understanding to determine the optimal strategy for their states. Researchers Paul Fischbeck, Haibo Zhai and Jeffrey Anderson from Carnegie Mellon University's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation have developed an easy-to-use free model, in a gigantic Excel spreadsheet, to help both states and stakeholders determine the best strategy for their states. Called ISOMAP for "Interactive State On-Site Mitigation Analytical Policy," the tool allows users to evaluate a range of electric generating unit-specific technical options that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from each major U.S. coal-fired power plant.

 

CWAG Associate Attorneys General Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana and Pam Bondi of Florida announced that an Agreement in Principle has been reached with BP Exploration & Production Inc. ("BP") on all of the state and federal claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Agreement in Principle totals approximately $18.732 billion. General Caldwell said, "This agreement is the result of five years of hard-fought litigation and intense scientific research, and it provides Louisiana the coastal restoration and compensation it needs following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. With a total recovery of more than $10 billion - which is more than any state has ever recovered for this type of case - we can begin work to restore and repair Louisiana and its coastline." General Bondi said, "In 2010, our state - and the entire Gulf region - woke up to a story that shook the nation; an oil spill that not only threatened states that depend on the Gulf for their economic livelihood, but their very way of life. Today, after just five years of negotiations, I'm pleased to announce that Florida has entered into an agreement in principle of more than $3 billion with BP for the state's economic and environmental recovery which will benefit areas of the state most devastated by the spill. I want to thank all of the people who came together, in common purpose, to do the right thing for our state."

 

ILLEGAL GAMING

 

CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada announced that Bryan Micon, 36, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to the crime charged in the criminal indictment, operating an unlicensed interactive gaming website, a category "B" felony. He created and managed an illegal Internet poker website in Nevada, known as "Seals with Clubs." The site accepted online wagers in the form of Bitcoin, a digital crypto-currency. "Defending Nevada's worldwide reputation as the 'Gold Standard of Gaming Integrity' is a paramount concern to the tens of thousands of Nevadans employed by the industry, as well as the 40 million tourists who visit this state each year," said General Laxalt. "Online gambling without a license is a crime, and this first-of-its-kind prosecution demonstrates my office's commitment to the strict enforcement of the Nevada Gaming Control Act."

 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

 

CWAG Associate Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina announced that the Ritz-Carlton will pay refunds to consumers, fund college scholarships and clearly notify customers about any future special service fees under an agreement announced today between the Ritz, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Office of Attorney General. "Being upfront with consumers about fees is always the best way to do business," General Cooper said. Consumers who visited the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz in Charlotte during the CIAA Basketball Tournament in late February, 2015 complained that an extra service charge was unexpectedly added to their bills. Following complaints from consumers, the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division launched an investigation into the charge. Today's agreement resolves that investigation.

 

CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida and the Federal Trade Commission filed a federal lawsuit to protect consumers from a credit card interest rate reduction scam. "The joint efforts of my office and the FTC have stopped these scammers that stole millions of dollars from consumers through debt relief telemarketing scams, deliberately taking advantage of their trust and their financial struggles," said General Bondi. "I applaud the partnership of my office and the FTC for its great work in protecting consumers." The telemarketers identified themselves as card services, credit services, card member services or as an employee of one of the phony businesses. The telemarketers told consumers they knew the amount of their credit card debt, falsely claimed to have a business relationship with consumers' lenders, and promised a money-back guarantee. During the call, the defendants billed consumers' credit cards between $695 and $1,495 and promised a specific reduced interest rate and savings amount within 90 days. According to the investigation, the consumers did not receive the promised results or refunds, and instead became more indebted.

 

GENETIC ENGINEERING

 

CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Sorrell of Vermont is concerned that Congress may act to preempt Vermont's GE food labeling law. Assistant Attorney General Todd Daloz testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce urging Congress not to take premature and inadequate measures that would preempt Vermont's GE food labeling law (Act 120). "Congress should respect the strong public demand for accurate factual information about the food that they purchase," said General Sorrell. "States must be allowed to serve their important role as 'laboratories of democracy.'"

 

MARIJUANA

 

Washington launched its second-in-the-nation legal marijuana market with just a handful of stores selling high-priced pot to long lines of customers. A year later, the state has about 160 shops open, tax revenues have soared past expectations and sales top $1.4 million per day. Washington's racked up more than $250 million in marijuana sales in the past year - roughly $62 million of which constitutes marijuana excise taxes. That's beyond the state's original forecast of $36 million. And when state and local sales and other taxes are included, the total payday for the state and local governments tops $70 million.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL AUTHORITY

 

Forty U.S. attorneys general have filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Mississippi's appeal of a U.S. District Court injunction that granted Google at least a temporary reprieve from the state's investigation into the company's online conduct.Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has said the search engine violates state law, alleging it assists the proliferation of pirated music, that its auto-complete search feature suggests illegal activities and that distributing YouTube ad revenue promotes illegal drug sales. Other allegations include the ability to buy fake IDs and the sale of stolen credit card data on Google platforms.

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