Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
UPCOMING EVENTS
2017 CWAG Annual Meeting Registration Now Open !
San Francisco, CA
July 30- August 2, 2017

Early Bird Registration ends Friday, June 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: 
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 is 1.888.627.8546. Ask for the CWAG room block to receive our discounted rates.
 
Draft agenda now available! 
 
BIPARTISAN GROUP OF AG'S SUPPORT LEGAL SERVICES FUNDING
Highlighting the need for legal services in rural and low-income communities across the country, CWAG Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman of Colorado and CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts are leading a bipartisan group of 32 attorneys general urging Congress to oppose the proposed elimination of federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In a letter sent to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committees, the attorneys general noted that for more than 40 years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the LSC has helped veterans and military families secure important benefits, supported survivors of domestic violence seeking safety, and assisted families facing foreclosure and victims of natural disasters. "The legal services provided by LSC are critical for low-income and vulnerable citizens in Colorado and for millions of people across the country," said Attorney General Coffman. "As a bipartisan group of attorneys general we have joined together to speak up for those people who need access to these services in order to protect their rights." The letter was signed by the Attorneys General of Massachusetts, Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
FIGHTING DRUG ABUSE
CWAG Attorney General Tim Fox of Montana announced an effort through his office's Aid Montana initiative to gather input from Montanans regarding how best to address substance abuse. "We want to hear from people across the state on how to effectively combat Montana's substance abuse problem," said Attorney General Fox. "Whether you're a healthcare professional, educator, social worker, or have experienced or work with the effects of substance abuse in your work, profession, or family, we want to hear your ideas for what needs to be done to fight this epidemic ripping through our state." Aid Montana: Addressing the Impact of Drugs was launched by Attorney General Fox and the Montana Department of Justice in April 2017. Aid Montana will be a comprehensive approach to addressing Montana's substance abuse problem. Law enforcement, treatment, education and coordination efforts will be central components to the Aid Montana strategy.
 
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington will hold a two-day summit in June on the opioid epidemic, convening law enforcement, medical professionals, prosecutors and public health experts. "Opioids are devastating Washington families and communities, and overwhelming our safety nets," Attorney General Ferguson said. "This summit will bring together key stakeholders to identify next steps and solutions to this epidemic." In 2015, 718 Washingtonians died from opioid overdose, more than from car accidents. The majority of drug overdose deaths - more than six out of ten - involve an opioid. The opioid epidemic has impacted Washington unlike any other state in the region. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington is the only Western state to see a statistically significant increase in drug overdose death rates between 2014 and 2015. Nationwide, 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids for chronic pain in primary care settings struggle with addiction.
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
CWAG Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth of Alaska announced that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding the Big Thorne Timber Sale in the Tongass National Forest. This decision ensures that the sole remaining saw mill in Southeast can continue operating for now. "In a resource-centered state, we must be able to responsibly develop our resources," said Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth. "I'm pleased the Big Thorne Timber Sale can continue to move forward and hope that we will see more sales in the future that properly balance conservation with economic need." In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) authorized the harvest of 148.9 million board-feet of timber over 8,500 acres. Several environmental groups challenged the record of decision for the sale and the 2008 Amendment to the Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan. Most of the allegations related to wolf management in the harvest area, which is a joint function of the State and USFS.
CONSUMER PROTECTION
CWAG Associate Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida filed legal action to stop an alleged student loan relieve scam. According to the complaint, Strategic Student Solutions LLC induced consumers to use the company's phony student loan debt relief services by falsely claiming to be able to assist in substantially reducing or complete forgiveness of student loan debt. Strategic allegedly bilked these unsuspecting consumers out of thousands of dollars. "This scheme targeted people working hard to pay off the debt they incurred trying to further their education by falsely promising to reduce or even eliminate their student loan debt," said Attorney General Bondi. "With this action, my office is seeking restitution for those victims who lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars." Strategic allegedly misled consumers into believing that they would be enrolled in loan forgiveness or payment reduction programs and that payments made by consumers to Strategic would be applied towards satisfying or eliminating the consumers' student loan balances. However, according to the complaint, consumers soon learned that Strategic failed to make payments to consumers' lenders as promised; that their lenders had neither any knowledge of nor any business relationship with Strategic; that Strategic had no special relationship with the Federal Department of Education or any other government agency; and that the same services that Strategic offered to consumers for a fee were in reality available to consumers free of charge.
 
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced that hundreds of illegal loans made to Massachusetts consumers by an unlicensed online auto title lender are now void pursuant to a court judgment. The company has also been permanently barred from operating in Massachusetts, and liens they placed on vehicles have been dissolved with new titles issued to consumers. The final judgment and permanent injunction entered in Suffolk Superior Court against Liquidation, LLC (Liquidation) permanently bars the company from advertising, soliciting, selling or assigning any loans in Massachusetts and from collecting on any of those loans already made to consumers. "With this judgment, Massachusetts borrowers will be freed from paying the illegal loans made by this sham company," said Attorney General Healey. "This unlicensed auto title lender is prohibited from ever doing business in Massachusetts again."
AG'S ASK FEDS TO REVIEW CONSENT DECREES 
In an effort led by CWAG Associate Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana, nine states are urging the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) to evaluate Obama-era consent decrees and ongoing civil rights cases with a goal of working collaboratively to end them. In a letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions - Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia asked the USDOJ to implement internal policies allowing state and local authorities a corrective period to actively use more assistance letters as opposed to advocating for full federal take-overs. "When federal judges control our schools, prisons, and law enforcement agencies over the course of several years and in some instances decades - democracy suffers through the dilution of elected officials' accountability to voters," wrote Attorney General Landry. "By moving policy-making from the public arena to the shadows of a judicial conference room or the parties' negotiating table, political agendas that would otherwise have little public support can be mandated by federal authorities."  
Chris Coppin | Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General