SAVE THE DATE
CWAG Chair, Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, announces that she will hold her CWAG Chair Initiative on May 24, 2016, in Portland, Oregon: STUDENT DEBT: THE OBLIGATION OF A LIFETIME? A registration packet and draft agenda are attached.
There is no greater category of consumer debt today than education-related debt. Even credit card debt has been surpassed by the 1.3 trillion dollars of outstanding debt owed by former students and their families today.
Never before have college students entered the workforce with such a staggering debt burden as they do today. This burden is crushing young people's hopes to move on in their lives in the ways many of us who went to school in a bygone era simply took for granted: getting married, starting a family, buying a car -- buying a home -- starting a business, etc. How ironic it is that, rather than improving young people's chances to advance in life, incurring significant debt in order to go to school may be having the opposite effect and stopping -- or at least slowing down-- this advancement.
What can we, as state Attorneys General, do to address and help resolve this crisis? After all, we do not want our families or the people we serve to be stuck with these student debt obligations for their entire lifetime. Right?
First and foremost, we can inform ourselves about it and discuss options and strategies that AG's can use to address it. That's what this conference will do. It will be worth your time -- I promise!
We play an important role in protecting consumers -- which includes students, and former students -- from misleading, unfair and deceptive practices. These practices may involve those who work for educational institutions as well as in the loan industry itself. In this context, they could involve debt servicing, debt consolidation, debt collection and loan underwriting. They might involve loan co-signers and issues pertaining to discharging a student loan through bankruptcy. Complaints relating to veterans being targeted by educational institutions for enrollment in programs that are not likely to lead to the jobs they are hoping for, but instead only to burdensome debt, will be discussed as well. I think we can all agree that our veterans, who may have put off their education in order to serve our country, deserve a very hard look at whether they have been treated deceptively and unfairly.
Please join me to help explore the problems that have brought us to this untenable situation. We will have speakers discussing all aspects of this issue of educational debt. They will describe the problem and offer constructive recommendations for best practices to be employed by educational institutions, the loan industry and government regulators.
Together, we can work toward helping to ensure that students and their families make wise and informed choices when deciding to take on educational debt; and that when the time comes to pay it back, the former student has graduated and is gainfully employed and prepared to repay his or her loans in amounts and on a schedule that works for everyone. Only then can we rest assured that education-related debt will NOT be the obligation of a lifetime!
Thanks for considering this important invitation. I hope to see you in Portland and I promise to show you a good time here in addition to putting on a fabulous conference.
Ellen F. Rosenblum
State of Oregon
Chair of CWAG
CWAG ANNUAL MEETING REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
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: https://www.cwagweb.org/sunvalley/registration
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.
ALLIANCE PARTNERSHIP BINATIONAL EXCHANGE MEETING
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.
The Binational State Attorneys General Exchange will be held from July 16 to July 17 at the Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho, prior to the CWAG Annual Meeting which runs from July 17-20, 2016.
CWAG has confirmed the attendance of Mexico's Federal Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez, and anticipates approximately 25 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.
There is no separate registration fee for the Binational State Attorneys General Exchange. Please confirm your participation by emailing CWAG Alliance Partnership Deputy Director, Lauren Niehaus at LNiehaus@cwagweb.org or by phone at 303-827-9039. The Binational Exchange is open to all attendees on a space available basis.
DRAFT AGENDA: CWAG State Attorneys General Binational Exchange
Saturday July 16, 2015
7:00pm - Welcome Reception and Dinner
Sunday July 17, 2016
9:00am - 3:00pm - Binational AG Exchange
6:15pm - CWAG Annual Meeting Opening Dinner (with Mexican AG Delegation)
BORDER LAW ENFORCEMENT
Law enforcement officials are looking out for a new scam, virtual kidnapping, that targets people in Colorado who have relatives in Mexico. The Aurora Police Department has taken three reports since December where people have wired money supposedly to pay a ransom for a kidnapped relative. Later, the people learn their relatives were never actually kidnapped. The Colorado Attorney General's office said while the cases are difficult, the partnerships their office has formed with Mexican authorities ensure it should not be impossible. "We don't want it to deter us that it may be out of our country," said CWAG Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. "We don't want folks to think they can get away with a crime just because they are in Mexico, if the victims are in Colorado."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Karl Racine of the District of Columbia announced that his office submitted legislation to the D.C. Council that seeks to reduce instances of alleged fraudsters fiscally preying on immigrants. The Immigration Services Protection Act, modeled after a law in Maryland, targets what's known as notario fraud, where people who purport to have legal expertise lure immigrants into paying for their services, often for hundreds of dollars. The Office of the Attorney General notes that the bill came out of a working group of local and federal agencies as well as advocates sharing best practices. "We have seen individuals and businesses falsely advertising themselves as notarios and taking advantage of the District's Spanish-speaking immigrant communities," General Racine said in a statement. "This legislation gives us more tools to ensure that immigrants won't be defrauded out of their money or get stuck with the potentially devastating consequences of incorrect immigration advice."
CWAG Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon announced a settlement against a fraudulent company, "Oregon State Compliance", that sent Oregon businesses a fake invoice. The phony invoice was made to look like it was from the State of Oregon. The invoice claimed it was for a labor law poster, but what the businesses did not know is that the state actually provides the poster for free online. Almost 300 businesses paid the fraudulent $84 invoice for the poster. Through this settlement, all of the companies that paid the fake invoice will get their full money back. The "Oregon State Compliance" company is also permanently banned from doing any future business in the state of Oregon. "Fortunately, we caught this company early, and we can prevent more Oregon businesses from becoming victims of this old scam that came with a new twist," said General Rosenblum. "Before making an unexpected payment, it's important that businesses always review any solicitations that they receive 'out of the blue'."
CWAG Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement agencies to reinforce integral eviction procedures under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Under current California law, occupants of a foreclosed property who are not named in eviction documents can present a "Claim of Right to Possession" form to temporarily stop the eviction process up to and including when the Sheriff comes to remove them from the property. Following the 2012 national mortgage settlement, Attorney General Harris sponsored the landmark California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which took effect on January 1, 2013. "This bulletin clarifies integral protections and due process available under the Homeowner Bill of Rights," said General Harris. "I sponsored this bill to provide a fair process for vulnerable Californians who are facing the loss of their homes. I thank the advocacy organizations for their tireless work on behalf of those affected by the foreclosure crisis."
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced a State Grand Jury indicted four individuals in connection with a Craigslist employment and credit improvement scam. Twelve victims have been identified. Most of the victims were in their twenties and looking for part-time work while going to school. The defendants allegedly posted "help wanted ads" on Craigslist for clerical and administrative jobs. Those who responded to the ads were interviewed and told they needed better credit to get the job. Some victims were told they needed better credit scores because all employees were considered investors in the company. The defendants allegedly encouraged the victims to obtain loans from various banks and provide the loan money to the defendants. The victims claim the defendants told them they would repay the loans and help improve the victims' credit.
An online car title lender that charged outrageous interest rates and took consumers' cars with little or no warning is now banned from making loans in North Carolina, CWAG Associate Attorney General Roy Cooper announced. "Families who need a little extra money to deal with an illness or a layoff deserve a fair loan, not a rip off," General Cooper said. "North Carolina has long made illegal these expensive loans with excessive interest rates, and my office is here to enforce the law for consumers." General Cooper filed suit against the lender, which does business as Autoloans, Car Loan, Sovereign Lending Solutions and Title Loan America, for charging North Carolina consumers average interest rates of 257 percent on loans of $1,000 to $2,500. Title loans are small dollar loans secured by consumers' car titles. State law caps interest rates on such loans at 30 percent for licensed lenders and at 16 percent for unlicensed lenders, such as the defendants.
CWAG Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt of Nevada filed a brief with the Nevada Supreme Court arguing the legislative vouchers program, the so-called educational Savings Accounts law, does not violate the state constitution. The brief argues that opponents of the ESA law "would challenge longstanding Nevada law and practice and sweep away much more." General Laxalt asked the Court to lift the injunction preventing the state Treasurer's office from releasing the $5,100 per student to pay for private school tuition. Opponents have argued the program diverts money from public schools to private schools for the rich, taking away money the public school system needs for all students.
CWAG Attorney General Lawrence Wasden of Idaho says executives of two companies offering various paid Daily Fantasy Sports contests have agreed to quit providing those contests to consumers in Idaho. The agreement with DraftKings Inc., and FanDuel Inc., two of the nation's biggest companies offering paid fantasy sports contests, was reached after three months of negotiations, General Wasden said. Under terms of the agreement, the companies, as of May 1, 2016, will not allow any consumers based in Idaho to participate in any of their daily paid online fantasy football, baseball, basketball and other sports contests. "The concern I have is that the paid daily sports offerings provided by these companies constitute gambling under Idaho law," General Wasden said. "I have a duty to enforce and uphold that law. I commend the companies for negotiating in good faith and agreeing not to make these contests available in Idaho."
The Colorado Supreme Court invalidated two voter-approved hydraulic fracturing bans enacted by the cities of Longmont and Fort Collins. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was a party to the Longmont case, which involved a permanent ban, and was represented by CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman. "As the Supreme Court recognized today, Colorado has 'a strong interest in the uniform regulation' of oil and gas operations, and local attempts to ban hydraulic fracturing undermine the interests of the State as a whole," said General Coffman. "The State has always balanced the need to protect our environment with the desire to encourage robust economic development. Sadly, I fear today's ruling will not end this divisive debate and instead some activists will continue to push anti-development initiatives undermining the State's record of local cooperation on these policy issues."