CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington
announced that Mukilteo-based aerospace company Electroimpact will pay $485,000 after an investigation alleging discrimination by the company, retaliation against employees, and unfair or deceptive advertising. The company will also change its hiring practices and conduct outreach to minority applicants. An investigation by the Attorney General's Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit found evidence that Electroimpact and its president, Peter Zieve, refused to hire Muslim applicants, engaged in religious and/or national origin harassment, discriminated against employees based on marital status, and retaliated against employees who opposed such unfair practices. The investigation also found the company engaged in unfair or deceptive practices by describing itself as an equal opportunity employer in advertising. "The conduct outlined in our complaint is outrageous," Attorney General Ferguson said. "Discriminating against workers and retaliating against anyone who questions it is illegal."
Children hurt by their parents' addictions to painkillers and heroin will get help under a pilot program announced by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The $3.6 million effort will provide intensive trauma counseling and other services to children abused or neglected due to parental drug use. Parents of children referred to the program will also receive drug treatment. One of every two children placed in foster care in 2015 were there because of abuse and neglect associated with their parents' drug use, according to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. The announcement comes as the deadly epidemic shows no signs of letting up and in fact may be worsening. "The bad news is this wave is not letting up. It's still coming," said Attorney General DeWine. "The good news is there are a lot of people in Ohio today who are alive because fellow citizens of theirs have done amazing work."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Brad Schimel of Wisconsin
and the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW) announced a new training tool designed to deter pharmacy robberies. "Since the launch of Dose of Reality 18 months ago, the Wisconsin Department of Justice and our private and public partners have taken a multifaceted approach to preventing prescription drug abuse," said Attorney General Schimel. "The DOJ's and Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin's Pharmacy Robbery Prevention and Response training is another tool in our arsenal. By discouraging robberies, and effectively responding to those that do occur, we protect the safety of pharmacy employees, customers, and the public, and reduce the amount of narcotics that reach the street." The Pharmacy Robbery Prevention and Response training, provided to pharmacies by law enforcement, will teach pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, clerks, and other pharmacy personnel how to deter a robbery, what to do when a robbery occurs, and what to do after a robbery occurs. The adoption of this training's content by pharmacies is not required but rather a series of recommendations to make pharmacy premises resistant to robberies.
CWAG Attorney General Mark Brnovich of Arizona
announced students are eligible to receive up to $60,000 in refunds after Para Health Professionals, Inc., and Examination Preparation Institute, Inc. issued unaccredited degrees and medical certifications. Students took seminars to become certified as Phlebotomists, Electrocardiogram Technicians, Medical Technicians, Behavioral Health Technicians, Healthcare Technicians, or Pharmacy Technicians. The restitution is part of a consent judgment obtained by the Attorney General's Office against Para Health Professionals and Examination Preparation Institute for violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. "These so-called schools scammed students who dreamed of becoming medical technicians in Arizona," said Attorney General Brnovich. "Students paid thousands to become certified medical techs only to find out their certifications are effectively worthless. One victim found out her certification was invalid during a job interview at a local hospital."
With a change of administrations in the federal government, there may be plans to roll back regulations limiting access to consumers' online data. States have other ideas. State legislatures may prove to be a counterweight to Washington by enacting new regulations to increase consumers' privacy rights. Illinois legislators are considering a "right to know" bill that would let consumers find out what information about them is collected by companies like Google and Facebook, and what kinds of businesses they share it with. Such a right, which European consumers already have, has been a longtime goal of privacy advocates. In the interim, however, lawyers at Edelson PC, a Chicago-based class-action firm that has become notorious among tech companies for its prolific filing of privacy suits, have gone on offense with a lobbying campaign of their own. Firm lawyers have also helped found a new nonprofit group, the Digital Privacy Alliance, as an advocate for privacy legislation in Illinois and elsewhere. "We were forced to get involved politically because once we started winning a lot of cases in court, they all went on the offensive," said Jay Edelson, founder of Edelson PC. "It's important because the Trump administration is doing so much to roll back privacy rights, so there is going to be a huge shift to state lawmakers and state attorneys general."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts
announced that a Boston man has been indicted on charges of human trafficking, rape and witness intimidation in connection with supplying multiple women with drugs and trafficking them for commercial sex in communities across the state. Hendricks Mario Berdet was indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on the charges of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude (12 counts), Rape (1 count), Deriving Support from Prostitution (10 counts), and Intimidation of a Witness (5 counts). "Ending the sexual exploitation of human beings is one of my office's highest priorities," said Attorney General Healey. "In the midst of a deadly and widespread opioid epidemic, we continue to find individuals preying upon those struggling with addiction."
CWAG Attorney General Marty Jackley of South Dakota
announced that Attorney General Explanations for two proposed initiated measures have been filed with the Secretary of State. These statements will appear on petitions that will be circulated by the sponsor of the measures. For each petition, if the sponsor obtains a sufficient number of signatures (13,871) by November 2017, as certified by the Secretary of State, the measure will be placed on the ballot for the November 2018 general election. The measures are titled: "An initiated measure to legalize marijuana for medical use" and "An initiated measure to legalize certain amounts of marijuana, drugs made from marijuana, and drug paraphernalia, and to regulate and tax marijuana establishments." Under South Dakota law, the Attorney General is responsible for preparing explanations for proposed initiated measures, referred laws, and South Dakota Constitutional Amendments. Specifically, the explanation includes a title, an objective, clear and simple summary of the purpose and effect of the proposed measure and a description of the legal consequences. The Attorney General Explanation is not a statement either for or against the proposed measure.
CWAG Attorney General Sean Reyes of Utah
announced that AGO investigators, in a joint operation with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, executed warrants to seize evidence of an alleged statewide enterprise related to illegal gambling machines. The operation identified over an estimated 500 machines or more at over 130 locations across the state. Tips about illegal gambling devices were reported by citizens to legislators, Utah Senator Curt Bramble, Utah Representative Justin Fawson, and Utah Representative Norm Thurston, as well as from other sources. "The Attorney General's Office has focused its operation today on a large number of gambling devices that we allege are illegal under Utah statute," said Utah Attorney General's Office Investigations Chief Leo Lucey. "Because these devices are out in the open and are available to anyone, they present an especially dangerous threat to youth."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Derek Schmidt of Kansas
has negotiated an agreement with the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska to improve accounting for cigarettes and tobacco products sold on tribal lands. The agreement, known as a compact, has been signed by tribal leaders and by Governor Brownback, and was submitted to the Legislature. Two similar compacts negotiated with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Missouri were approved by the Legislature and signed into law in April 2016. A compact with the Kickapoo Tribe was signed in December 2016 and also awaits approval by the Legislature. Attorney General Schmidt said approval of the compacts this year will help the state demonstrate compliance with its enforcement obligations under the MSA. The compact with the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska is the final compact to be reached with the four resident tribes in Kansas, allowing the state to account for tobacco sales on all reservation lands in the state.