CWAG Roundup

April 13, 2017
 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS

2017 CWAG Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!
San Francisco, CA
July 30- August 2, 2017

The Conference of Western Attorneys General along with CWAG Chair and Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin invite you to the 2017 CWAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, July 30-August 2, 2017. Join your colleagues as CWAG explores the most pertinent legal issues during the days and spend the evenings enjoying the urban charm of the city at our social events.

  To register online use the following link: 2017 CWAG Annual Meeting 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 2, 2017 at 5:00pm (PT).  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 cutoff: The last day to reserve your room within the CWAG room block is Friday, July 7, 2017. If the room block sells out prior to that time, reservations will be accepted on a space available basis. The reservation number for the Westin St. Francis is1.888.627.8546. Ask for the CWAG room block to receive our discounted rates.
  
 
PROTECTING CRIME VICTIMS
 
As part of the National Crime Victims' Rights Week, CWAG Attorney General Marty Jackley of South Dakota recognized the progress in the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System (SAVIN). "National Crime Victims' Rights Week focuses on the advancement of victims' rights and how victims can be better served. The SAVIN System is doing just that as it continues to make more readily available to victims and the public more information," said Jackley. In August 2016, the SAVIN System was launched and tasked at providing a free, automated service that provides crime victims with vital information and notification 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The system service allows victims to obtain offender information and to register for notification of a change in offender status.
 
IMMIGRATION
 
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington released guidance for local governments on protecting the rights of all Washington residents, and the limits of federal immigration authority. The extensive guidance addresses local law enforcement, jails, public hospitals, schools and employers, as well as interactions between local jurisdictions and federal authorities. It includes model language that can be used to enact laws and policies on how local government entities should respond to federal requests for assistance with immigration enforcement. "Recent changes in federal immigration policy and practices have caused needless fear and uncertainty in our communities," Attorney General Ferguson said. "This guidance helps local governments protect their residents and understand their obligations and their authority in this shifting landscape."
 
CONSUMER PROTECTION
 
CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado announced that her office has shut down the unlicensed debt collection company Peak Resolution, LLC and secured a judgment requiring the defendants to pay approximately $491,000 in consumer restitution, penalties, and attorney fees.  The judgment also prohibits the defendants from ever doing business in Colorado or collecting from Colorado citizens again without proper licensure and full legal compliance. Dan Cane, Peak Resolution's owner, and Chris Hagerman, the company's primary manager, are also subject to the judgment. "There is a right way and a wrong way to collect debts in Colorado, and consumers who have fallen into debt do not deserve to be lied to and threatened by collection agencies," said Attorney General Coffman. "While there are many law-abiding collection companies in Colorado, we will not tolerate any company that collects debts illegally."
 
CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Schuette of Michigan announced a Notice of Intended Action and Cease and Desist Order against for-profit clothing donation bin operator A.T.R.S. of Houston, Texas, alleging over 300,000 violations for falsely labeling the 251 clothing bins it operates for the Michigan Humane Society. The A.T.R.S.-operated bins state that the Michigan Humane Society "receives 100% of the market value of every donation received at this location." However, by contract, A.T.R.S. pays the Michigan Humane Society just $.02 per pound. For 2016, donations to the bins generated $835k in revenue for A.T.R.S., an average of $.34 per pound;  A.T.R.S. paid the Michigan Humane Society $.02 per pound for these items, or $49k, which equals just 6% of the market value of the donated clothes. "Michigan residents deserve to know if the donation they make will have an impact," said Attorney General Schuette. "Due to the alleged deceptive marketing of this company, residents who donate to these bins across the state are led to believe that the Michigan Humane Society is getting a large amount of their donation which is untrue and cannot be tolerated."
 
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington announced that a Portland, Ore.-based property management company must pay more than $16,000 for requiring service members to sign illegal lease addendums requiring them to forfeit rent concessions if they had to terminate their leases early as a result of change of station or deployment. CTL Management included the addendum on more than 220 leases at Chambers Creek Estates, a large apartment complex in University Place, near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which houses many military families. "Our men and women in uniform should not be burdened by unfair costs for serving their country," Attorney General Ferguson said. "I won't allow companies to make our military service members pay for serving their country."
 
FIGHTING OPIOID ABUSE
 
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced a physician has pleaded guilty to illegally prescribing opioids to patients for no legitimate medical purpose, some of whom had documented substance use disorder, and for defrauding the state's Medicaid program. Dr. Fernando Jayma, a solo practitioner of general medicine in Ludlow, pleaded guilty to charges of Illegal Prescribing of Controlled Substances (22 counts), Medicaid False Claims (18 counts), and Larceny over $250 (1 count). This case is just one way Attorney General Healey is working to address the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. The AG's Office is looking at a host of other practices, from marketing by pharmaceutical companies, to pill diversion and drug trafficking by criminal entities, to coverage for substance abuse treatment by insurance companies. The AG's Office also continues to work on solutions that include eliminating barriers to treatment and supporting prevention and education initiatives across the state.
 
PUBLIC LANDS
 
CWAG Associate Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas praised the new administration for suspending three U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) surveys that the BLM used to justify a land grab involving 90,000 acres near the Red River. The federal action was prompted by the BLM's admission earlier this week that it used "incorrect methodology" while determining the gradient boundary on a portion of the 116-mile stretch of Texas properties along the Red River. Attorney General Paxton intervened in November 2015 on behalf of the state in a lawsuit brought against the BLM by affected property owners. Pursuant to various U.S. Supreme Court cases in the 1920s, the federal government only has rights to from the Red River's medial line up to the river's southern bank. The BLM began its surveys in 2008 as part of a process to update the Bureau's Resource Management Plan. Those surveys claimed federal rights to land far from the river's southern bank. That was reportedly the first time Texas landowners were told that the federal government was claiming their properties as public lands.
Chris Coppin
Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
505-589-5101 (cell)
817-615-9335 (fax)
Chris.coppin@cwagweb.org