Announcements, information and updates from the AG Alliance Members and Associates
September 10, 2020
UPCOMING CHAIR'S INITIATIVE
Dear Colleagues, Partners and Friends – 
 
The Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) and the AG Alliance (AGA) are proud to announce this year’s Chair Initiative:  A COVID-19 Attorney General Legal and Policy Response Manual. Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19. It is my honor to lead CWAG and the AGA in taking on some of the most challenging related legal and policy issues we face today.
 
Our proposal is ambitious. In a timely fashion we will put together public/private working groups, each led by a bi-partisan pair of member states to focus on these general topics: 
  • Multiple approaches of a vaccine;
  • Prioritization of vaccine administration;
  • Consumer protection;
  • Constitutional considerations;
  • Antitrust considerations;
  • Anticipated secondary impacts

Each working group will identify more specific legal and policy issues that can be addressed in their assigned area. Further, each working group will highlight at least one area to focus resources and develop an issue guide for policymakers. 
 
For example, the working group focused on prioritization may consider the legal risks for states if they prioritize a group of healthcare workers before issuing a vaccine to a first responders who then contract COVID-19 during a citizen call, or worse, a first responder who becomes a super-spreader. At each stage of vaccine distribution, how can states ensure geographic, age, race and economic equity? Perhaps the group tasked with examining constitutional issues can build consensus about how to cope with government employees in essential roles but who have religious objections to being vaccinated? Who will shoulder the liability for adverse effects from a vaccine? Do existing scope of duty regulations in states allow enough flexibility for a mass vaccination effort assuming adequate supply? Are there any antitrust concerns allowing reasonable collaboration among competitors when in service of producing and providing a reliable vaccine?
 
Attorneys General stand at the center of many of these debates whether through legal advice to Governors or because of enforcement authority entrusted to them directly. But Attorneys General are also tested public servants who can partner with good corporate citizens, “work up” with the Federal government and assist local governments with their needs. Working through these issues requires legal acumen, public trust, bi-partisanship and dedication. Attorneys General in collaboration with our partners will advance the dialogue and position ourselves to be at the center of the conversation, enabling a national response to COVID-19.

Please lookout for our full schedule and program agenda in the coming weeks.

For more information about participation, please contact Karen White (karen.white@agalliance.org) or David Blake (david.blake@agalliance.org).
 
Wayne Stenehjem
North Dakota Attorney General
2020-21 Chair, CWAG and AG Alliance
UPCOMING VIRTUAL SESSIONS
COVID-19 Related Fees and Surcharges: 
A Consumer Protection Discussion 
Moderated By Attorney General William Tong (CT)
Thursday, September 24th
1 - 1:30pm ET

Panelists:
  • Ted Rossman, Industry Analyst, Creditcards.com
  • Chief Deputy or Consumer Protection Division staffer, AGO pending

A surcharge is any fee imposed on top of the advertised price of goods or services. While many forms of surcharging are legally permissible and have policy support, recent reports have focused on new, less-tested “surcharge” fees passed on to consumers allegedly due to COVID-19 factors.
This session will help Attorneys General and attendees understand and structure the appropriate consumer protection framework through which to view COVID-19-related surcharging, and will address:

  • How to distinguish between a permissible surcharge versus a deceptive or misleading fee.  
  • In context of COVID-19, how to assess whether a surcharge is reasonable. 
  • How and when a surcharge should be disclosed to consumers.  
  • The legal obligations or "best practices" businesses should follow before assessing a surcharge on consumers.
  • The policy and economic considerations that exist in favor of permissible surcharges.
Cybersecurity Subcommittee Fall Virtual Session*
Thursday, October 22nd
1 - 3pm ET

**Registration is not automatic, open to AGOs and group members only.
HOT TOPICS
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Alongside the healthcare and transport industries, the world of finance is at the forefront of pioneering use cases for AI. And if there’s one thing these three major industries have in common, it’s an abundance of data.
DATA SECURITY

China is launching its own initiative to set global standards on data security, countering U.S. efforts to persuade like-minded countries to ringfence their networks from Chinese technology.
SPORTS BETTING

Approximately 13 percent of American adults plan to bet on National Football League (NFL) games this year despite lower enthusiasm from fans in general about the 2020-21 season, according to a new survey.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTIONS
CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • New York AG James and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed suit against a network of five different companies based outside of Buffalo, New York, two of their owners, and two of their managers, for their participation in a debt-collection operation using illegal methods to collect debts. 

  • Colorado AG Weiser announced that a Denver-based entrepreneur will pay $62,500 to the State after misleading buyers and consumers about his qualifications to make the hand sanitizer he began producing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Texas AG Paxton warned Texans about scammers sending text messages that include a false package delivery notice and a fraudulent link.

  • Pennsylvania AG Shapiro warned Pennsylvanians voting by mail-in ballot is safe and secure and information about voters will not be shared, despite false claims made in recent robocalls.

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

  • D.C. AG Racine announced three new lawsuits in response to discriminatory actions against District residents taken by seven real estate companies and professionals. District law prohibits businesses or individuals from discriminating against residents based on a wide range of traits, including disability, race, color, and source of income. 

WORKER PROTECTION

INCLUSIVITY


SUPPORTING STUDENTS

  • CenturyLink's Clark M. Williams Foundation will help to support students in kindergarten through high school by awarding $500,000 in teacher technology grants and providing more than 400,000 meals through the Campaign to Fight Hunger.

SPORTS & UNITY

  • Lowe's unveiled the first-ever Lowe's "Home Team," a group of current NFL players representing every team in the league, coming together to unite fans around the connection and community we all crave during football season, even as fandom goes home.

SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY

  • The CEOs of Pfizer Inc.,GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and five other industry companies announced a historic pledge, outlining a united commitment to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work towards potential global regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines.
VIRTUAL SEMINAR LIBRARY
Missed our live programs? No problem! Follow the button below to visit our Virtual Seminar Library for access to all recordings.

Do you have a webinar topic suggestion? We want to hear from you! Please email ideas to Andrea Friedman at AFriedman@AGAlliance.org.
CWAG Executive Committee
- Wayne Stenehjem - Phil Weiser -
- Jason Ravnsborg - Hector Balderas -

AG Alliance Co-Chairs
- Lawrence Wasden - Sean Reyes - Karl Racine -
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