CWAG Roundup

October 8, 2015

Greetings! 


REGISTRATION OPEN FOR CWAG WINTER DINNER
 
CWAG announces the opening of registration for "Dinner with the Attorneys General," set for Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at The Mills House in Charleston, South Carolina.  We invite your participation in this Endowment Dinner benefiting the programs and goals of CWAG.  Attached please find the sponsorship and registration information. This engaging dinner includes participation by approximately 25-30 Attorneys General and their top staff from across the country. We hope your schedule will allow you to attend this year's event and participate in this premier opportunity for exchanging views and forging relationships. Please contact CWAG Meeting Manager, Janine Knudsen, at 916.704.1057 or Janine.Knudsen@CWAGWeb.Org with any questions or to confirm your participation.
 
SAVE THE DATE
 
CWAG Alliance Partnership Binational State Attorney General Exchange July 16-17, 2016
CWAG Annual Meeting July 17-20, 2016
Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley, Idaho
 
The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Alliance Partnership, CWAG Chair and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum along with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden cordially invite you to attend the 2016 CWAG Alliance Partnership Binational State Attorneys General Exchange and CWAG Annual Meeting.  
 
The Binational State Attorneys General Exchange will be held from July 16 to July 17 at the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho, immediately followed by the CWAG Annual Meeting which runs from July 17-20, 2016.  
 
CWAG anticipates the attendance of Mexico's Federal Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez, as well as approximately 20 state Attorneys General from Mexico and the United States to be in attendance at the Binational Exchange, in addition to other federal and private partners.  We expect approximately 22-25 state Attorneys General along with their top staff along with other government and private sector partners in attendance at the CWAG Annual Meeting.
 
We also want to advise you that dates have been announced for the RNC and DNC which are in conflict with the CWAG Annual Meeting.  Due to meeting planning beginning years in advance, CWAG will keep our meeting dates and hope you are able to join us.
 
Please direct any questions regarding the Binational Exchange to Lauren Niehaus at lniehaus@cwagweb.org or the CWAG Annual Meeting to Janine Knudsen at jknudsen@cwagweb.org.
 
OREGON MOURNS
 
Oregon's top law enforcement officer paid a visit to the grief-stricken town of Roseburg to meet with authorities investigating last week's massacre on a community college campus where a gunman killed his professor and eight classmates. The trip by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum comes a day before Oregon state police planned to hold a news conference to give an update on the role played by officers who exchanged gunfire with the suspect before he committed suicide. General Rosenblum issued the following statement. "I am heartbroken by the magnitude of today's event at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. In Oregon, we are a family, and today is unspeakably difficult. Our hearts go out to all of the families affected by another senseless gun tragedy. As always, Oregon's first responders, medical community and law enforcement have stepped up without hesitation to assist. The Oregon Department of Justice will provide any additional resources that we can. I have members of my Criminal Justice and Crime Victims' Services divisions on the scene offering assistance to law enforcement, students and families."
 
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
 
CWAG Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota announced that a judge blocked new nationwide regulations for drilling on federal lands from taking effect while a lawsuit moves ahead, pointing to a law that prohibits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating hydraulic fracturing. Four states - Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and North Dakota - seek to block the rules, saying they duplicate state regulations and would cost jobs. Just because the EPA lacks authority to regulate fracking doesn't mean the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has leeway to do so, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl wrote. "The BLM's Rule is another example of federal regulatory overreach with federal authorities attempting to exercise authority they do not have. It is important that regulation of fracking is conducted at the state level rather than a 'one size fits all' federal scheme," said General Stenehjem. "It is significant that the court noted the states are likely to succeed on the merits when the lawsuit is concluded."
 
CWAG Associate Attorneys General Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell of Louisiana and Ken Paxton of Texas announced that court documents have been filed formalizing the states' landmark agreement with BP, clearing the way for Louisiana and Texas to begin receiving billions of dollars for coastal restoration and economic recovery. The Consent Decree reflects the terms of an agreement in principle announced by the federal government, five Gulf Coast states and BP in early July. "Today's court filings represent the culmination of more than five years of demanding and exhaustive work to hold BP accountable for the economic and environmental damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill," General Caldwell said. "The disaster of Deepwater Horizon was a tragedy that touched people's lives all along the Gulf Coast, from those who love its natural beauty and wildlife, to those who make their living from the water," General Paxton said.
 
CWAG Attorney General Craig Richards of Alaska announced that the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Sturgeon v. Masica, et al., a case in which Alaska filed an amicus brief asking the Court to take a stand against federal regulatory overreach. The Court will now consider whether Section 103(c) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) prohibits the National Park Service from exercising regulatory control over State, Native Corporation, and private Alaska land physically located within the boundaries of the National Park System. "This case raises a question of exceptional importance to the State, Native Corporations, and the people of Alaska," said General Richards. "The right to regulate and manage Alaska's resources is an essential component of Alaska's sovereignty, and Alaska has a compelling interest in preserving our right to manage our state's resources free from unchecked federal control."
 
HUMAN TRAFFICKING
 
As part of his commitment to combat human trafficking, CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico announced the award of $1.5 million in federal grant funding to combat human trafficking in New Mexico. The collaborative grants will fund efforts across New Mexico to fight human trafficking, provide services for victims and expand research. "Human trafficking, modern-day slavery, is not someone else's problem; it's happening across New Mexico, in our communities and in our neighborhoods. The callous disregard of traffickers for the lives of their victims is a tragedy and we cannot delay in acting to end it," said General Balderas. "My office is committed to cracking down on violent offenders in New Mexico and on criminals who prey on our most vulnerable citizens."
 
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit urging the court to reverse a district court decision dismissing a case filed by human trafficking victims against Backpage.com. The case, Doe v. Backpage.com LLC, was filed by three women who allege that they were sold for sex on Backpage.com when they were as young as 15 years old. The plaintiffs allege that they were recruited by sex traffickers, advertised on the website, and then repeatedly sold for sex in various locations across Massachusetts. "Human trafficking is a form of criminal enterprise in which women and girls in particular, but also men and boys, are exploited for labor and commercial sex. It is a widespread and urgent problem in Massachusetts and throughout the country," General Healey's brief explains.
 
PUBLIC HEALTH
 
CWAG Associate Attorney General Tom Miller of Iowa is calling on the maker of flavored malt beverage Four Loko to lower the product's high alcohol content. General Miller and 15 other attorneys general sent a letter to Chicago-based beverage company Phusion Projects LLC and its officers, expressing concerns over the product's alcohol content. "Phusion is marketing a product that puts people at risk simply through its high alcohol content," General Miller said. "We are calling on the company to lower Four Loko's alcohol content to the industry standard of eight percent alcohol by volume." With a 12% alcohol concentration in a 23.5 ounce container, one can of Four Loko contains 4.7 servings of alcohol. Based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards, drinking just one can of Four Loko constitutes a binge drinking episode. The CDC defines binge drinking as men drinking five and women drinking four or more alcohol servings in about two hours.
 
 
MARIJUANA
 
Colorado regulators have proposed rules that would further restrict which pesticides can be used to grow marijuana to those that are least harmful and already are allowed on crops intended for human consumption and tobacco. The draft rules mark the state's latest effort in a process that began about two years ago but has dragged on amid industry pressure and lack of guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Currently, the state allows more than 200 pesticides on marijuana, but the new rules would pare it to about 75, officials say, although more can be added. The proposal would limit allowable pesticides to those so nontoxic they do not need to be registered with the federal government or those so safe to use that no residue level needs to be determined.

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