CWAG Roundup

January 26, 2017

Cyber Security & Technology Forum
Park City, Utah
February 2-3, 2017
Click here to download the final conference agenda. Registration is currently closed. Please contact meeting planner Ale Stephens at or 303.304.9206 with questions.
Chair's Initiative and Western Pacific AG Summit
Honolulu, Hawaii
March 13-16, 2017
*REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! Click here to download registration materials and please contact meeting planner Ale Stephens at or 303.304.9206 with any questions.  
The preliminary draft agenda for the meeting can be downloaded here. Please send any panel suggestions to CWAG Legal Director Chris Coppin at
This conference will be held at the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel. We will begin with a welcome reception on Monday, March 13, 2017, at 5:00pm. The Western Pacific Attorney General Summit will take place from 8:00am to 5:00pm on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The Chair Initiative will take place on Wednesday, March 15th, from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and will conclude on Thursday, March 16th at 12:00pm. This conference is open to all private sector and government attendees.
The Pacific Summit will focus on major issues facing the Pacific jurisdictions, such as climate change, immigration, self-government, consumer retail access and economic growth. The Chair Initiative will explore how states have lead the way to solve national issues when the federal government has experienced deadlock and what the future holds for state action. The states are a vital and active source for ideas to solve important issues facing society. States lead the way on consumer and financial protection, healthcare, protecting privacy and so much more. Even when partisan politics keep the federal government from being as effective as it may, the states can put aside politics to address the needs of their citizens.
2017 CWAG Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA
July 30- August 2, 2017
CWAG welcomes new California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Prior to becoming Attorney General, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 34th congressional district, who has represented Downtown Los Angeles in Congress since 1993. Attorney General Becerra, a member of the Democratic Party, was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Born in Sacramento, California, Attorney General Becerra is a graduate of Stanford University, receiving his J.D. from Stanford Law School. He worked as a lawyer at the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts, before returning to California in 1986 to work as an Administrative Assistant for State Senator Art Torres. He served as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice from 1987 to 1990 before he was elected to the California State Assembly, where he served one term from 1990 to 1992. Attorney General Becerra was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, previously representing California's 34th congressional district from 1993 to 2003 and California's 31st congressional district from 2003 to 2013. During his tenure in the House, he has served as Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus from 1997 to 1999, Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus from 2009 to 2013, and was a member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Welcome to CWAG Attorney General Becerra!
CWAG Associate Attorney General Josh Stein of North Carolina announced members of his senior leadership team. "Pulling this team together has been one of my most important early tasks as Attorney General," said General Stein. "I am excited by their talent, energy and commitment to serving the people of North Carolina." The senior leadership team is: Grayson Kelley, Chief Deputy Attorney General, a 38-year veteran of the North Carolina Department of Justice. Matt Sawchak, Solicitor General, was a partner at Ellis & Winters focusing on appeals, business litigation and antitrust. Swain Wood, General Counsel, was most recently partner at Morningstar Law Group, where he practiced commercial and intellectual property litigation. Seth Dearmin, Chief of Staff, managed Stein's successful campaign for Attorney General. David Elliott, Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Deputy Attorney General, has served in the North Carolina Department of Justice since 1997. Laura Brewer, Communications Director, worked for the last six years at Capstrat, a communications agency, where she conducted work on behalf of clients in the public and private sectors. Candy Finley, Executive Assistant to the Attorney General, served as Stein's Legislative Assistant throughout his four terms as State Senator.
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona announced that Patcharin Koibuchi was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison and 3 years of probation for her role in a Tempe-based sex trafficking operation. In December 2016, Koibuchi pleaded guilty to Attempted Illegal Control of an Enterprise and Attempted Money Laundering, both class 4 felonies. "One of the most shocking and disturbing aspects of human trafficking, is that it can happen anywhere," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "We must all work together to protect the vulnerable and keep this despicable crime out of our communities."
CWAG Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota announced that crime victims, law enforcement and prosecutors now have a central location with information about the recently passed Marsy's Law. The information is posted on the Attorney General's website, Under Marsy's Law, law enforcement officers are required to provide a Marsy's Card to the victim at the time of the initial response. The Attorney General's office has created a uniform state "Marsy's Card" for use by law enforcement agencies, so that all victims receive the same information. The law provides victims with certain rights, including the right to protect their contact information from being released, but a victim first has to assert these rights. Information for victims is on the "Public Safety" tab of the Attorney General's website. It includes an explanation of the rights (the "Marsy's Card") and instructions on how and where to assert the victim's rights. There is also a link to help victims sign up to receive certain types of notifications electronically. "I felt it was important to have a single resource for victims and criminal justice agencies with information about all the new rights and responsibilities under Marsy's law. The website provides comprehensive information for victims and separate guidelines for law enforcement and prosecutors," said General Stenehjem.
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington announced his office has taken significant action to combat housing discrimination. A court has approved the last of five legal resolutions with rental housing companies across the state accused of violating federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) by using blanket bans on tenants with a past felony. The resolutions all involve fines of $5,000 or more, penalties and nondiscrimination training. While criminal history may be grounds to refuse to rent to an individual, landlords cannot have a blanket ban on renting to anyone who has a previous felony conviction or arrest record. Instead, they must consider individual facts such as the type and severity of the offense and how long ago the offense occurred. Because certain groups of people, such as African-Americans, have higher statistical rates of arrests and convictions, blanket bans have the effect of making it harder for African-Americans than for other groups to find housing. This disparate impact renders blanket policies illegal.
President Trump signed executive orders to revive the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. He also signed an executive order to expedite environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects, lamenting the existing "incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process." "The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled-up mess," he said. Trump said that both pipeline projects would be subject to renegotiation. His order for the Keystone XL project "invites" the company to "re-submit its application." In an Oval Office signing before reporters, the president hinted at a possible new wrinkle. He said he would want any new projects to make use of American steel, though that requirement is not mentioned in his executive order. "I am very insistent that if we're going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipe should be made in the United States," he told reporters.
CWAG Attorney General Doug Chin of Hawaii joined attorneys general from 15 other states and the District of Columbia to intervene in federal litigation that threatens to weaken the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In 2010, following the global financial crisis, Congress created the CFPB as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Richard Cordray is currently the agency's director, and under the 2010 law he is independent and can only be fired "for cause."  A lawsuit against the CFPB brought by mortgage lender PHH Corporation challenged the structure of the CFPB and sought instead to make Cordray's position "at will." The state attorneys general who filed yesterday's motion have asked to be able to defend the CFPB in the lawsuit and ensure the case is not declared moot if President Trump's administration decides to stop defending this lawsuit. Attorney General Chin stated, "We must fight to protect Hawaii consumers from the predatory tactics of big banks and big businesses."
CWAG Attorney General Hector Balderas of New Mexico announced that he filed a lawsuit this week against Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata and 15 automakers over dangerous and defective airbags that function as fragmentation grenades. Hundreds of thousands of which were installed in cars sold or offered for sale in the State of New Mexico. The lawsuit was filed in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and it names Takata, Honda, Ford, Toyota, BMW, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan, FCA, Volkswagen, Audi, Ferrari, General Motors, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz. Attorney General Balderas alleges that the parties knew about, and misrepresented, the existence and extent of the defective airbags, and tried to conceal the defect until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Congress exposed the full extent of the defective airbags. "In New Mexico, no child should ever be put in danger so international corporations can reap enormous profits," Attorney General Balderas said. "New Mexico families' health and safety have been put at dangerous risk by Takata and the automakers, and we will hold them accountable. Corporations who harm New Mexicans will pay for their actions no matter their size or location around the world."
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington filed a lawsuit against student loan servicer Navient Corporation, an offshoot of education-finance giant Sallie Mae. In addition, General Ferguson also announced his agency-request Student Loan Bill of Rights legislation, introduced this session, to provide more resources for students and establish standards for student loan servicers like Navient. "Enormous student-loan debt is an issue for many Washingtonians," General Ferguson said. "I will hold companies accountable when they treat borrowers unfairly." The lawsuit accuses Navient, the nation's largest student-loan servicer, of a number of unfair and deceptive practices. Those practices included improperly steering financially distressed students toward short-term forbearances, engaging in aggressive and misleading collection tactics and more.



Chris Coppin
Legal Director
Conference of Western Attorneys General
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
505-589-5101 (cell)
817-615-9335 (fax)