CWAG Roundup

 January 28, 2016



CWAG Chair, Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, announces that she will hold her CWAG Chair initiative on May 24, 2016, in Portland, Oregon. The one day conference will address the issue of education debt.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and CWAG are proud to announce a Digital Currency Symposium open to all government and private sector attendees at the Montage Deer Valley in Park City, UT on February 4-5.  We encourage all interested parties to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with State Attorneys General to learn about and discuss important issues regarding the digital economy. The Digital Currency Symposium will work to foster relationships with responsible industry players, law enforcement officials and regulators to share information and exchange ideas which will assist policy makers in the development of appropriate regulations and legislation.
The draft agenda for this meeting is attached. Suggestions, questions or comments can be directed to CWAG Legal Director Chris Coppin, [email protected], or 505.589.5101. The agenda will be distributed to CWAG Roundup recipients or is available upon request from CWAG.       
Space and attendance are limited.  We have had a great response and are still accepting registrations for the symposium however our room block is currently full.  The following link contains a large list of hotels to choose from in Park City - contact CWAG Meeting Planner Janine Knudsen, [email protected], or 916.704.1057 if you have any questions or to register for the symposium.
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona, will be hosting an International Cooperation Across the Border conference, in conjunction with the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Alliance Partnership and the Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Alliance (SWBAML) February 29 to March 1, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. This conference will provide an opportunity for US state Attorneys General, the state Attorneys General from Mexico and representatives from the PGR, CNVB, TRAC and other law enforcement agencies to meet and collaborate on topics surrounding transnational organized crime. For additional information on this conference, please contact Lauren Niehaus, Director of Program Coordination for the CWAG Alliance Partnership at: [email protected] or 303.827.9039.
The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG), Oregon Attorney General and CWAG Chair Ellen Rosenblum along with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden invite you to join your colleagues for the CWAG Annual Meeting, July 17-20, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho at the Sun Valley Resort. 
Please note the important dates and information below:
To register online or download and print the registration information in a PDF form to register manually use the following link:
If you have attended an annual meeting in the past few years your contact information has been saved in the registration system.  Please review your contact information during the registration process to make sure it is current.
To register, go to "Sign In" and enter the email address and password you or your assistant previously provided.  If you can't recall your password, click on the "Forgot Password" link and your password will be sent to the email that is saved in the system.
If you have not previously registered for the annual meeting go to "New Registration", enter your email and create a personal password to be used for future registrations.
Early Bird Registration:  The cutoff date for Early Bird registration is Friday, June 3, 2016 at 5:00p (PT).  Your online registration must be finalized or your manual registration form received via fax or email to the CWAG office by 5:00p (PT) on June 3.  All registrations received after this time and date will be charged the regular registration fee.
Onsite Registration:  Pre-registering for primary attendees and guests who would like to attend any of the substantive or social opportunities is required.  CWAG must make commitments to the hotel and activity vendors based on pre-registered guests prior to our arrival.  The registration fees cover the cost of activities and meals at the conference which have been pre-arranged.  Given the necessity of pre planning, we will not be accepting any onsite registrations.
Hotel Room Cut Cutoff:  The last day to reserve your room within the CWAG room block is Thursday, June 23, 2016.  If the room block sells out prior to that time, reservations will be accepted on a space available basis.  The reservation number for the Sun Valley Resort is 800.786.8259.  Ask for the CWAG room block to receive our discounted rates.
CWAG Attorney General Sean D. Reyes of Utah announced he has been named a member of the Aspen-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership class of 2015. The Rodel Fellowship program is open by invitation only to individuals in publicly elected office. "It is an honor to be recognized as a Rodel Fellow from the Aspen Institute," said General Reyes. "I greatly appreciate this opportunity to sit down with leaders from both sides of the aisle to address national and global policy issues and find common ground as we work together to build a stronger America."
CWAG Attorney General Craig W. Richards of Alaska announced that the Department of Law proposes to establish a Public Integrity Unit within the Office of Special Prosecutions, as mentioned in Governor Bill Walker's State of the State address. The unit would work to improve public trust in government and eliminate fraud, waste, and corruption. "Ensuring the public's trust of those in public service is one of the cornerstones of this administration," said General Richards. "The public needs to have confidence in its government, and to that end, this office would seek to bring a new level of accountability through rigorous review and oversight." The unit would focus on three specific areas-use of force by law enforcement, corruption and fraud perpetrated upon the State, and prisoner deaths in correctional facilities.
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico announced that five special agents for the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, one APD officer and one Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy were sworn in as Special Deputy United States Marshals as Task Force Officers (TFO). They will be joining many law enforcement officials from throughout New Mexico actively participating in the South West Investigative Fugitive Team (SWIFT) Task Force. "These newly deputized U.S. Marshals will be assigned to the Albuquerque and Santa Fe USMS Offices, which will greatly increase our resources as a task force in order to enhance the public safety for all communities in New Mexico," commented U.S. Marshal Conrad E. Candelaria.
CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado launched a new Department of Law website. The newly unveiled site gives Coloradans easy access to more resources, additional consumer protection tools and the ability to locate important information faster than ever before. Key features include a cleaner and more interactive design and a more engaging user experience with enhanced search and navigation tools. "In the modern digital age, it is vital that Coloradans be able to easily access information and communicate their concerns quickly with our office," said General Coffman. "The new Department of Law website offers a wider array of resources and makes filing a consumer complaint or asking a question much easier."
The water supply in Flint, Mich., is so unsafe that the state attorney general warned parents to keep their children far from it, including a warning against bathing. "I would certainly not bathe a newborn or infant in Flint water," CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Schuette said during a news conference. He announced that a former prosecutor and a retired head of the Detroit FBI would play key roles in an independent investigation into the lead-tainted water. The cash-strapped city switched from Detroit's municipal water system and began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 to save money. The water wasn't properly treated to prevent lead from pipes from leaching into the supply. Residents have been urged to use bottled water and to put filters on faucets. "We will do our job thoroughly and let the chips fall where they may... This investigation is about beginning the road back, to rebuild, regain and restore trust in government," General Schuette added.
New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Energy inked $74 million in settlements over dozens of permit violations stemming from a radiation leak that forced the closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository. The settlements are the largest ever negotiated between a state and the Energy Department and come after months of negotiations. The agreements were first outlined last spring, but their signing was delayed by disagreements over some of the details. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico has been closed since February 2014, when a container of waste burst and released radiation in the underground facility. Twenty-two workers were exposed, and monitors at the surface recorded low levels of radiological contamination, but officials said nearby communities were not at risk.
After hosting three public hearings and soliciting written comments from Vermonters, CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Sorrell is taking the question he posed to Vermonters - should Vermont reduce its reliance on incarceration as a response to criminal conduct? - to the Vermont Legislature. The resolution to be introduced in the House is a policy statement that the State should significantly reduce its reliance on incarceration so long as public safety is not compromised. "The three public hearings were well-attended. Dozens of Vermonters testified and sent comments. The vast majority agreed that the negative impact of incarceration is not limited to the individual sentenced to jail. The impacts on families, our communities and our budget are immense," said General Sorrell. "My question to Vermonters was whether they are ready to ask the Legislature to commit to a statewide policy that reduces reliance on incarceration or lengthy incarceration in response to criminal conduct at the prosecution, sentencing and potential early release stages of a case. Based on what I heard, I think they are."
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced that Special Agents with the Arizona Attorney General's Office working jointly with Immigration & Customs Homeland Security Investigations arrested a former City of Kingman employee. Former Budget Analyst and Interim Finance Director Diane Maxine Richards is accused of stealing more than a million dollars from the City of Kingman. The arrest comes after a State Grand Jury indicted Richards on 23 felony counts including theft, forgery, and misuse of public monies. "Protecting the hardworking taxpayers of Arizona is a top priority," said General Brnovich. "Taxpayers are the real victims in cases involving theft and misuse of public monies. Our office will continue to work with HSI and all law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute these cases."
Americans are flooding the government with appeals to have their student loans forgiven on the grounds that schools deceived them with false promises of a well-paying career-part of a growing protest against years of surging college costs. In the past six months, more than 7,500 borrowers owing $164 million have applied to have their student debt expunged under an obscure federal law that had been applied only in three instances before last year. The law forgives debt for borrowers who prove their schools used illegal tactics to recruit them, such as by lying about their graduates' earnings. The U.S. Education Department has already agreed to cancel nearly $28 million of that debt for 1,300 former students of Corinthian Colleges-the for-profit chain that liquidated in bankruptcy last year. The department has indicated that many more will likely get forgiveness.
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington announced that his office has asked a court to grant summary judgment and penalize the Grocery Manufacturers Association for GMA's intentional subterfuge in an effort to elude state campaign-finance laws. General Ferguson also asked the court to unseal "confidential" GMA documents in the landmark case. The case, State v. Grocery Manufacturers Association, concerns GMA's financing of a 2013 campaign against Initiative 522, which sought to require labeling of genetically engineered products. GMA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, was the largest single donor to the "No on 522" political committee. "The crux of this case is transparency," General Ferguson said. "GMA intentionally shielded from public scrutiny the true identity of the companies who donated of millions of dollars to this campaign - it was flagrant violation of state law."
For more than two years, ride-hailing companies have fought with their drivers over the drivers' employment status. Now, one of those companies has found a way to bury the hatchet. Lyft, a popular start-up based in San Francisco, agreed late Tuesday to settle a class-action lawsuit brought in 2013 by Lyft drivers in California. The drivers had sought to be recognized as full-time employees who would be eligible for benefits from the company, rather than as independent contractors. Under the settlement, Lyft drivers will continue to be classified as contractors. The company agreed to pay $12.25 million to those represented in the suit and said it would amend the terms of service to which drivers must agree when signing up with the platform so that they are consistent with the definition of a contractor. The settlement is subject to court approval.
Chris Coppin
Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
505-589-5101 (cell)
817-615-9335 (fax)

Conference of Western Attorneys General | 1300 I Street | Sacramento | CA | 95814