CWAG Roundup

June 23, 2016

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.  A working draft agenda is attached to this Roundup.  Please be aware that this is a draft agenda and it may change significantly prior to the actual meeting.
Registration:  You may register online at or print off a registration packet from the website and email the forms to [email protected].   If you have not yet registered we encourage you to do so as soon as possible and no later than June 30 to ensure inclusion in our events.
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.
Room Block Sold Out:  Despite our best efforts to gauge CWAG attendance, over the past several years the CWAG room block has sold out quickly and well before the "official" cutoff date.  This year has proven to be no exception and our room block is currently sold out.  Part of the problem is we run up against limitations in the size of resorts located in the scenic locations our guests love in the West.  
We recommend you call the resort reservations number at 880.786.8259 to inquire about any possible room availability due to a cancellation prior to booking a room offsite.  If no rooms are available below is a list of nearby hotels.  Individuals should make a personal reservation as CWAG does not have any arrangements with them.
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 [email protected] 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)
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico announced that the man accused of killing his wife and four daughters before escaping to Mexico has been transferred into the custody of Interpol. General Balderas said that the suspect, 34-year-old Juan David Villegas-Hernandez, is being held in Hermosillo, a city 180 miles directly south of Nogales, Arizona. CWAG Alliance Partnership staff facilitated a direct connection between Sonora Attorney General Rodolfo Montes de Oca and General Balderas, resulting in a successful collaboration to apprehend Mr. Villegas-Hernandez, murder suspect who had fled to the state of Sonora, Mexico. The Generals were able to connect to ensure the safe, rapid capture and detention of the suspect, who will face formal extradition proceeding through the US Department of Justice.
CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah announced his office won a case in the Supreme Court on an important Fourth Amendment search-and-seizure issue. In a 5-3 opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the high court sided with Utah, saying that evidence seized by an officer while searching a suspect incident to arrest on a valid arrest warrant-even if the arresting officer discovered the warrant in a stop later found to be unlawful-is admissible in court as long as the stop is not the result of flagrant police misconduct. "We're delighted by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling," General Reyes said. "This hard-fought victory is a tribute to countless hours of intense preparation, constitutional analysis, and persuasive writing by a number of our appellate specialists. I congratulate them on their victory, which reflects the high-quality representation this Office provides to the people of Utah every day."
CWAG Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of California announced the arrest of three individuals as part of an ongoing investigation into a sex trafficking case in San Diego.  The joint investigation and operation, "Operation Hotel Tango," was conducted by the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes the California Department of Justice and 18 local and federal law enforcement agencies. "Human traffickers exploit vulnerable children and adults, subjecting their victims to manipulation, violence, and unspeakable cruelty while forcing them into labor and prostitution," said General Harris.  "I thank our law enforcement partners in the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force and our California Department of Justice Special Agents for working diligently and collaboratively to protect victims of trafficking and hold accountable those who profit from the insidious crime of human trafficking."
CWAG Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota announced that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal judge's ruling that struck down as unconstitutional the restrictions imposed by Minnesota's Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA). Attorney General Stenehjem sued the state of Minnesota in 2011, alleging that the Minnesota law violated the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution by restricting transmission of electricity generated in North Dakota and consumed in Minnesota unless it met that state's carbon dioxide emission requirements. "I am extremely pleased to announce that North Dakota has once again prevailed in its lawsuit against Minnesota's overreaching regulations," said General Stenehjem.
In a lawsuit brought by CWAG Attorneys General Peter Michael of Wyoming, Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado and Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota, a federal judge in Wyoming made permanent a temporary block of an Interior Department rule setting stricter standards for hydraulic fracturing on public lands. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl issued the ruling invalidating the regulation, saying the Interior Department lacked the authority to issue it. The same judge last year issued a preliminary injunction blocking the rule until he made a final decision. The rule, issued by Department's Bureau of Land Management in March 2015, applies to oil and gas drilling on federal lands, which produce 11% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. and 5% of the oil, according to government data. "For the past year, we've successfully made the case that these rules unlawfully interfere with Colorado's sovereign right to responsibly and safely regulate the oil and gas industry," said General Coffman. "North Dakota has adopted sensible fracking regulations that work, because Congress intended the states to regulate fracking," said General Stenehjem.
CWAG Attorney General Craig Richards of Alaska reached an agreement with Tesoro Alaska Company that requires Tesoro to sell a petroleum fuel terminal at the Port of Anchorage in order to preserve competition in Alaska fuel markets. After a six month investigation, the Department of Law determined that Tesoro's acquisition of FHR's tank farm would limit the ability of competitors to import fuel through the Port of Anchorage and impair competition in markets for some fuel products, including gasoline. To address this concern, Tesoro has agreed to sell its Terminal 1 to a qualified buyer. "Allowing a new competitor into the Port of Anchorage will increase competition in this very constrained market," said Chief Assistant Attorney General Ed Sniffen.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana announced that his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has been selected to receive the United States Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General's Award of Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. "This award is a true honor and a testament to the hard-work and service of our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit," said General Landry. "While we are concerned that recent cuts to our budget may have a negative impact on our office's attempt to keep this standard of excellence, we remain committed to protecting Louisiana's resources and vigorously prosecuting criminals who threaten care for our State's vulnerable and steal taxpayer money."
Legislation filed on behalf of CWAG Associate Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin of Rhode Island that would require child resistant packaging for e-liquid used in electronic nicotine-delivery systems such as e-cigarettes passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives. "The popularity and use of e-cigarettes and vaping products continues to rise. While the jury is still out on the health effects of e-cigarettes versus the known health traditional nicotine products, we can all agree that these products should be kept out of the hands of children," said General Kilmartin. "Most troubling is that these products - especially e-liquids - come in a variety of enticing flavors, such as candy crush and gummy bear, which appeal to children. There is currently no such regulation on this toxic product with respect to child-resistant packaging."
A company that charged retirees up to 137.5 percent interest on cash advances against their pensions will pay refunds to consumers and sharply reduce interest rates, CWAG Associate Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina announced. "People who've worked hard their whole careers don't deserve to have their pensions drained by misleading cash advances," General Cooper said. "Outrageous interest rates are illegal in North Carolina, and my office is here to enforce the law on behalf of consumers." Under a settlement, Future Income Payments, LLC (FIP) must pay refunds to consumers and penalties to the state and cut the interest rates it charges from as high as 137.5 percent to the legal limit of 16 percent or less.
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