Announcements, information and updates from the AG Alliance Members and Associates
September 24, 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: 
  1. Multiple approaches of a vaccine;
  2. Prioritization of vaccine administration;
  3. Consumer protection;
  4. Constitutional considerations;
  5. Antitrust considerations;
  6. 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 WEBINARS
TODAY: 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:
  • Steven Kaufmann, Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection, Colorado Attorney General’s Office
  • Ted Rossman, Industry Analyst, Creditcards.com

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.
Thomson Reuters Presents
The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Evolving Reality
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
11 - 12:15pm ET

In the latest installment of the AI Invited Speakers Series, the Thomson Reuters Center for AI and Cognitive Computing and Thomson Reuters Institute are proud to present a special public town hall with renowned public health scholar Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. In this interactive setting, Dr. Osterholm will discuss the epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, including what current evidence suggests about the spread of COVID-19 and an examination of public health strategies easily deployed to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
Cybersecurity Subcommittee Fall Virtual Session*
Thursday, October 22nd
1 - 3pm ET

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

Just days before the Aug. 3 scheduled start of school, officials at the Athens Independent School District in East Texas received details that cybercriminals had attacked the district’s entire computer network, encrypting all the data and demanding $50,000 in ransom for its release. Access to everything from teacher communications to student assignments was blocked.

Athens is one of at least 16 school districts, from California to New Jersey, that have been victimized in a rash of ransomware attacks since the end of July.
DATA PRIVACY

With part of the workforce now returning to the office, and part of the workforce remaining at home, this is the perfect time to revisit data protection compliance strategy.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTIONS
HONORING JUSTICE GINSBURG

  • Colorado AG Weiser, who served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, released the following statement about her passing: “Our nation mourns the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an iconic leader, jurist, and role model. Justice Ginsburg changed my life, teaching me about equal justice under the law and what outstanding legal work looks like—an important life-long lesson. For millions around the world, her memory will continue to be a blessing..."

TOBACCO

  • Vermont AG Donovan announced that Vermont will receive approximately $10.5M over three years in a structured settlement with major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds.

INCLUSION

  • New Mexico AG Balderas announced the creation of a new council dedicated to finding ways to include minority communities in decisions about access to natural resources and environment protections.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

  • Illinois AG Raoul urged residents throughout Illinois to be on alert for work-from-home, employment and pyramid schemes that can be used to steal money or personal information.

  • Connecticut AG Tong urged Connecticut residents to be on alert for utility scams after multiple reports of consumers receiving calls purporting to be from Eversource and threatening imminent shut-off of electricity if a payment was not made.

MEDICAID FRAUD

  • Indiana AG Hill announced that Indiana, along with 26 other states and the District of Columbia, has joined the federal government in reaching an agreement that settles allegations against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
HEALTHCARE

  • Johnson & Johnson announced the launch of its large-scale, pivotal, multi-country Phase 3 trial (ENSEMBLE) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, JNJ-78436735, being developed by its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. 

CONTACTLESS DELIVERY

  • Lowe's announced plans to install pickup lockers at all U.S. stores by the end of March 2021. The addition of Buy Online Pickup in Store self-service lockers at more than 1,700 stores leverages innovative technology to provide a safe, contactless and easier way for customers to collect same-day online orders at their convenience.
NETWORK CONNECTIVITY & SECURITY

  • AT&T and Microsoft are teaming up to enable enterprises to seamlessly connect machines and equipment to the cloud with highly secure network connectivity across the globe. 

DISTANCE-LEARNING RESOURCES

  •  As distance-learning continues amid back-to-school, 3M is pleased to announce the extension of its free, accessible “Science at Home” online learning resource to provide fun, DIY science lessons to teachers, parents, caregivers, and students.

WASTE INITIATIVES

  • Nu Skin announced additional sustainability pledges focusing on zero-waste. These new pledges come during Utah Climate Week and support the Utah Sustainability Business Coalition’s call for companies to make measurable sustainability pledges to support the environment.
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 -
AGA |  (916) 210-7640 | WWW.AGALLIANCE.ORG