Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
March 8, 2018
PROTECTING CHILDREN
AGs Ask Congress to Ensure Support for Child Pornography Victims
March 6, 2018

55 State and Territory Attorneys General signed onto a letter asking Congress to establish guidelines for restitution and ensure child victims of pornography receive timely and meaningful restitution from defendants. The bill combines components of bills formerly introduced as the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act and the Justice for Child Victims Act. On January 23, 2018, the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and is now before the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The need for this legislation stems from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Paroline v. United States, which held that although victims of child pornography are entitled to restitution, each defendant is statutorily liable only for the proximate injury his possession of the images caused. This decision was contrary to an amicus brief submitted by thirty-five state attorneys general urging the Court to allow full restitution to victims of child pornography.
2018 CWAG Chair's Initiative
May 3-4, 2018
Scottsdale, Arizona

CWAG Chair, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, invites you to the 2018 CWAG Chair's Initiative, which will focus on cyber security, data privacy, and digital piracy. Please mark your calendars and prepare to engage in a dialogue on these important topics!

Building on CWAG's Cyber Security efforts in 2016 and 2017 at the Cyber Security and Technology Forums and the Cyber Security Working Group established in June 2017, General Brnovich's Initiative will feature an in-depth conversation to discuss financial technology and government and industry cooperation, vertical integration and platform development issues, encryption and data security issues facing public, private and law enforcement along with national and international privacy concerns.
 

To find complete details about hotel accommodations, suggested transportation and to register online, use the following link CWAG 2018 Chair's Initiative Registration Site. To register click on the "Register" link and enter your name, last name and email address, then select your registration type.

If you are an existing sponsor you may use the registration code that was provided to you to register for the Annual Meeting. If you need your code re-sent, please contact Deputy Director Lauren Niehaus at  LNiehaus@cwagweb.org  or 303.827.9039
CYBER SECURITY
WSJ: Due Diligence on Cybersecurity Becomes Bigger Factor in M&A
March 5, 2018

Companies are intensifying due diligence of acquisition targets to avoid costly cybersecurity surprises, particularly when intellectual property, such as software code or customer data drive the deal. Scrutiny will continue as merger and acquisition activity heats up on expectations of extra cash from lower corporate tax rates. As of late February, 18 transactions valued at more than $5 billion each have been announced -- up from 10 such big deals during the same period in each of 2017 and 2016, according to Dealogic. Gaps in data protection, undiscovered breaches, regulatory violations and other holes in a company’s technology operations can threaten transactions. Such problems can also decrease the value of a deal or leave an acquirer liable for problems after a merger.
SALES TAX COLLECTION
AG Coffman Leads Multi-State Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Case to Hold Online Retailers to Same Standards as Local Businesses
March 7, 2018

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman announced that she and 40 other States, two Territories and the District of Columbia have filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court, supporting the State of South Dakota in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., No. 17-494. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is lead counsel for the coalition seeking to overturn an outdated rule preventing States from requiring out-of-state online retailers to collect the sales tax that is owed on retail goods. The U.S. Department of Justice has also filed a brief with the Court in support of the states, and the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in April.
STUDENT BORROWER DEFENSE
Attorney General Becerra Calls on Education Secretary DeVos to Reject Draft Student Borrower Defense Proposal
March 5, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 20 attorneys general, today submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Education (Department) criticizing proposals that the Department offered during its recent rulemaking sessions to redraft regulations on borrower defense and financial responsibility. Borrower defense is the process by which students who have been defrauded by their schools can have their federal student loans discharged. 

In the letter, the Attorneys General highlight some of the most glaring issues with the Department’s proposals:
  • The Department proposes a “federal standard” applicable to borrower-defense claims that is wholly inadequate and would serve only to limit defrauded students’ access to critical loan relief;
  • The Department proposes a borrower-defense process that excludes any role for state attorneys general;
  • The Department proposes imposing a three-year statute of limitations on borrower-defense claims. The imposition of any statute of limitations on these claims is patently unfair;
  • The Department proposes preserving mandatory arbitration, which suppresses students from bringing meritorious claims and prevents information about the few disputes that are brought from ever coming to light; and
  • The Department fails to propose a streamlined process to discharge groups of similar borrower-defense claims.
Washington State AG-Request Bill Protecting Student Loan Borrowers Passes The Legislature
March 2, 2018

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson promoted a bill with significant rights for Student Borrowers. It passed both bodies in the legislature and is heading for the Governor’s desk. The “Student Loan Bill of Rights” creates a dedicated student loan advocate and adopts standards for student loan servicers.
NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK
New Mexico Wants Consumers to Get the FACTS
March 5, 2018

Albuquerque, NM - Looking to protect yourself from fraud, identity theft, and scams? Maybe you’re wondering about the best way to use credit, how to shop for a used car, or maximize your security online. Attorney General Hector Balderas wants New Mexicans to get the  FACTS  during National Consumer Protection Week:
FACTS:
  • Finances
  • Awareness  
  • Cars  
  • Tools  
  • Scams
AG Rosenblum Releases Oregon DOJ’s Top 10 Consumer Complaints of 2017
March 6, 2018

2017 Top Complaints:
  1. Imposter Scam Calls
  2. Telecommunications
  3. Financial Services
  4. Motor Vehicle Sales
  5. Fraudulent Entity
  6. Investment Opportunities
  7. Health Related
  8. Auto Repair
  9. Travel Accommodations
  10. Home Ownership Issues
Arizona Consumer Protection Tips: Beware of Scams
March 5, 2018

In recognition of Arizona Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Mark Brnovich released a list of the 5 Warning Signs of a Scam .

1. The Offer Seems Too Good to be True
If it seems too good to be true, it is. Examples include money left to you from an unknown relative or being awarded a grant you did not apply for. Be very suspicious of winning a large sweepstakes prize unless you can confirm its authenticity.

2. They Want Private Information
Anytime someone tries to get your bank account number, Social Security Number, or other sensitive information, you should automatically be on alert. Don't give out personal information.

3. They Ask You to Wire Money
STOP! It's a scam. Con-artists prefer untraceable payment methods like wire transfers.

4. Requests for Fees
Never pay fees or taxes in advance unless you are 100% certain it is not a scam. It is illegal for someone to require up-front payment before funding a loan or paying out a sweepstakes prize.

5. Pressure
Scammers will often put pressure on their victims and urge them to pay immediately or lose the opportunity.
Nevada Attorney General Warns Against Notario Scams
Notaries, lawyers do not offer interchangeable services
March 5, 2018
 
Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt and his Bureau of Consumer Protection warn Nevada residents to be on the alert for notario scams. These scams often take advantage of unsuspecting individuals looking for immigration assistance and other legal issues.
 
While Notaries Public or “Notario Publico” may perform duties of attorneys in Spanish-speaking countries, those in the United States cannot practice law, give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice. Notaries may provide only specific services, including taking an acknowledgement, administering an oath or affirmation, executing a jurat or taking a verification upon oath or affirmation, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy, and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument. The term “Notario Publico” is not recognized in the United States, and non-attorneys are not authorized to assist with legal-related matters.
DRUG TAKEBACK
CVS expands medicine disposal program
March 6, 2018

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — In an effort aimed at preventing opioids and other medications from being misused or falling into the wrong hands, potentially with fatal consequences, Woonsocket-based CVS Health on Tuesday announced that it is expanding its safe medication disposal program inside 14 of the company’s Rhode Island pharmacies. Gathering at the CVS Pharmacy at 835 Newport Ave., company officials and U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, state Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves expressed hope that the expansion will be a plus in the battle against opioid abuse, which has become a public-health crisis in the state and country.
WATER RIGHTS
U.S. Supreme Court Decision Bolsters Texas’ Fight to Protect Water Rights to the Rio Grande
March 5, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruled that the U.S. Interior Department may intervene in the years-long dispute between Texas and New Mexico over water rights to the Rio Grande, to assert claims under the congressionally-approved 1938 Rio Grande Compact. The Court held that the United States may bring claims against New Mexico because it has “a legal responsibility to deliver a certain amount of water to Texas.”
Ninth Circuit Holds Discharging to Groundwater Wells Requires Clean Water Act Permit
March 6, 2018

Meline MacCurdy analyzes the recent decision from the Ninth Circuit,  Hawaii Wildlife Fund. v. County of Maui, holding that discharging sewage into groundwater wells requires a permit under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), where those wells are hydrologically connected to the Pacific Ocean. The Ninth Circuit reached this ruling not because the groundwater was itself a regulated water body under the CWA, which has long been within the sole control of state regulators. Nor was there a dispute that the sewage indeed reached the Pacific Ocean via the groundwater injection wells. Rather, the issue turned on whether a discharge to wells that eventually migrates to the Pacific Ocean through groundwater constitutes a “point source” that requires a permit under the CWA. In holding that it does, the Ninth Circuit focused on the well at the point of discharge, concluding that it is a clear “discrete conveyance,” and held that the discharge need not be “directly” to navigable waters, where the discharge to the “discrete conveyance” is “fairly traceable” to the ocean.
Land Buys Raise Water Speculation Fears In Western Colorado
March 5, 2018

When Colorado River District officials caught wind of investment companies recently buying western Colorado ranches with ample senior water rights, including one north of Fruita, it got their attention. The district, which includes Mesa County and 14 other counties and focuses on the protection, conservation, use and development of Colorado River water in western Colorado, long has been concerned about protecting the region’s agricultural sector. Now district staff are worried about a potential new threat to it, from investment companies buying water rights possibly as a speculative investment, and looking to profit later in deals that could lead to some local agricultural land no longer being irrigated and reverting to desert.
OPEN GOVERNMENT
Washington Attorney General’s Office Updates Public Records Act Model Rules
Rule updates reflect changes in law and address public records on personal communications devices
March 5, 2018

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed updates to the Public Records Act (PRA) Model Rules, reflecting changes in state law and helping the public and agencies navigate changing technology.

Among other things, the 2018 updates to the model rules:
  • Confirm that the public is entitled to request public records stored on personal devices if those records concern agency business;
  • Address relevant court rulings and legislative changes to the PRA including, for example, those concerning copy fees and required records training;
  • Address technology changes such as online records portals used at some agencies, and give examples of how agencies can provide records electronically; and,
  • Significantly reduce the PRA exemptions and judicial review discussions, referring readers to opinions, statutes and to other resources on the law.
AG ELECTION TRACKER
Follow the 31 AG Races in 2018 on this Interactive Website
A significant number of states, 30 and the District of Columbia, have contests for the Office of Attorney General. Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Practice hosts an interactive map for those interested in following the races throughout the country. The State AG Election Tracker includes state-by-state AG candidate snapshots, filing deadlines and primary election dates; daily news, insights, polling and fundraising data; and the ability to sign up for real-time election-night updates via text and email. Access is free.
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