Announcements, information and updates from CWAG Members and Associates
March 22, 2018
2018 CWAG Chair's Initiative
May 3-4, 2018
Scottsdale, Arizona
Chair’s Initiative Registration is Now Closed
Due to overwhelming response to this year’s Chair’s Initiative, CWAG has closed registration for the event. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming CWAG meeting!

Thank you for your continued support of CWAG and CWAG Chair, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. We look forward to seeing you all in May!
Utah Attorney General’s Office Dismantles Statewide Gambling Enterprises
March 20, 2018

The Utah Attorney General’s Office Special Prosecutions Section wrapped up a year-long prosecution of two complex gambling organizations. ITM Management, LLC and WC Management, LLC were each convicted of five misdemeanor counts of promoting gambling and five misdemeanor counts of possession of a gambling device and both fined $10,000.00 and required to remove all machines and gambling devices across the state.

In March of 2017, law enforcement agencies statewide served search warrants and preservation orders on more than 118 businesses from Cache County to Washington County. These warrants were the result of more than a year of investigation by Special Agents of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
American Gaming Association Congratulates Utah Attorney General on Fighting Illegal Gambling
March 21, 2018

Casey Clark, Vice President Strategic Communications at AGA, said: “The American Gaming Association applauds the Utah Attorney General’s recent prosecution of illegal gambling enterprises. Through our “Stop Illegal Gambling - Play it Safe Initiative” the legal, regulated gaming industry has partnered with law enforcement at all levels to reduce the supply and demand for all forms of illegal gambling, including internet sweepstakes cafes, offshore websites, illegal 8 liner machines or illegal sports betting. We share the Attorney General’s mission of protecting consumers, and continue to support policies and platforms that thwart illegal activity.”
Illinois Attorney General Urges Congress To Preserve State’s Authority To Enforce Data Breach & Data Security Laws
Madigan Leads Coalition Opposing Federal Preemption of States’ Ability to Legislate & Enforce Laws that Protect Consumers from Data Breaches & Identity Theft
March 19, 2018

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today led a coalition of 32 attorneys general urging Congress not to preempt state data breach and data security laws, including laws that require notice to consumers and state attorneys general of data breaches.

In their letter, Madigan and the other attorneys general point to the massive data breach at credit reporting agency Equifax that impacted nearly 148 million Americans and argue that any federal law must not diminish the important role of states in addressing data breaches and identity theft, especially in states like Illinois that have enacted laws to provide greater protections than federal provisions. The letter urges Congress to preserve existing protections in state law, ensure that states can continue to enforce breach notification requirements under their own state laws and enact new laws to respond to new data security threats.
CO AG Coffman, NY AG Schneiderman Lead Bipartisan Coalition Of 30 AGs Urging Congress To Reject Legislation That Would Block State Oversight Of Student Loan Servicing Industry
Legislation Would Dismantle State Oversight of Student Loan Industry – Despite State AGs Critical Role in Holding Industry Accountable and Protecting Students from Fraud and Abuse
March 15, 2018

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman today led a bipartisan coalition of 30 Attorneys General in a letter urging Congress to reject legislation that would block states from preventing and combatting fraud and abuse by the student loan industry.

Americans are facing a student debt crisis. As of the fourth quarter of 2017, U.S. borrowers owed an estimated $1.38 trillion in federal and private student loans—more than for auto loans, credit cards, or any other non-mortgage loan category. In recent years, state Attorneys General have investigated significant, far-reaching abuses in the student loan industry and won settlements returning tens of millions of dollars to student borrowers.

However, the pending version of the Higher Education Act reauthorization (H.R. 4508, also known as the PROSPER Act), includes language to preempt state level oversight of private companies that originate, service, or collect on student loans. As drafted, the language attempts to immunize the student loan industry from the state-level enforcement and reforms underway across the country. Describing the language as “an all-out assault on states’ rights and basic principles of federalism,” the letter urges Congress to strip the language from House bill and to omit it from consideration in the Senate.
Attorney General Steve Marshall Achieves Reconsideration Of Federal Rules That Excessively Restrict Property Owners’ Use Of Land
March 15, 2018

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced today that, in light of a lawsuit filed by Alabama and joined by 19 States, the federal government has agreed to reconsider rules adopted during the Obama administration that restrict property owners’ use of land. In 2016, federal agencies adopted two new rules that allowed the federal government to designate land as “critical habitat” for an endangered species, even if that species did not presently live on that land and even if the land failed to possess the biological features necessary for the survival of the species. Alabama filed a lawsuit, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service , in November of 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama challenging the two rules as an unlawful federal overreach. This lawsuit was joined by 19 other States and four national trade associations that represented broad industry and public interests impacted by the rules, including homebuilding, utilities, oil and gas. Today’s settlement requires the federal agencies to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and retains the States’ ability to file another lawsuit should the new rules perpetuate the alleged overreach.
AG Balderas Announces Start of White Peak Trial to Defend New Mexicans’ Access to Public Lands
March 16, 2018

Taos, NM – Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that the Office of the Attorney General will begin a major trial against a wealthy Texas landowner’s illegal attempts to bar New Mexicans from treasured public lands. The trial begins Monday in front of Judge Sarah Backus in Taos County over the public's right to use historic roads that provide access to White Peak in Colfax and Mora counties. The Office of Attorney General Balderas will demonstrate that there are several major public roads that have been used for over a century to access the area. The Attorney General is fighting against a private landowner's attempt to deny New Mexicans access to roads that are protected by state and federal law.
Attorney General Hunter Sends Letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross, Requesting Reinstatement of Citizenship Question on 2020 Census
Coalition: question imposes minimal burden, but has significant, positive impact on constitution
March 15, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter has led a coalition of thirteen states in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, requesting the agency reinstate a question on the 2020 Census regarding citizenship.

The citizenship question was omitted for the first time in decades in 2010 Census, something the letter to Ross says creates less reliable data for state officials to use when determining districts based on population. The result is that legally eligible voters may have their votes diluted or distorted.

Additionally, not including the question hurts districts with minority groups that have large non-citizen populations. The letter explains, good data in minority districts is necessary to ensure the citizen population is large enough to elect the minority group’s candidate of choice. Without accurate data, states cannot obtain certainty about whether they comply with the Voting Rights Act’s requirements. Attorney General Hunter said the census is the only fair way to draw district lines and collect information about the nation.

In addition to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, the letter was signed by the Attorneys General of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as the Governors of Kentucky and Mississippi.
Attorney General Becerra: Protect Yourself During the Immigration Process
March 16, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued a consumer alert warning Californians to be wary of scam artists or untrained immigration consultants who prey on immigrants by falsely holding themselves out as legally qualified to assist with immigration matters. The consumer alert urges those who need help navigating the immigration process to seek assistance from licensed attorneys or legal aid organizations – not from notaries or immigration consultants.
Schuette: Important Tips for Toys "R" Us Customers Following Notice of Closure
Toys "R" Us announced they will fully liquidate; gift cards good for 30 days.
March 15, 2018
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today called attention to best practices to be used by Michigan consumers, when protecting themselves from bankrupt retailers. This notice results from the nationwide shutdown of toy store, Toys "R" Us, which has left consumers with questions on current orders and Toys "R" Us gift cards.

Concerned customers can visit the Better Business Bureau’s report on Toys "R" Us  where updates will be posted as more information becomes available. Toys "R" Us has said that gift cards will be valid through the next 30 days.

Business Sudden Closure Consumer Tips
Additional best practices are listed in the Attorney General’s Business Sudden Closure Consumer Alert , and include steps to take to protect yourself when any business suddenly closes. Most important, consumers need to act quickly to protect their rights and to help the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division investigate, and hopefully resolve, disputes that arise when a business suddenly closes.
Rutledge Welcomes Trump Administration’s Opioid Initiative
March 19, 2018

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomes President Donald J. Trump’s initiative to combat the nation-wide opioid epidemic. President Trump today announced that the opioid initiative would: reduce demand through education, awareness and prevention of over-prescription; cut off the flow of illicit drugs; and expand treatment opportunities for opioid and other drug addictions.

Rutledge has brought a first-in-the-nation curriculum to Arkansas called Prescription for Life. Prescription for Life features a digital platform to help high school students in the State understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. The program is free to high schools and more information can be found at . The curriculum is part of the Attorney General’s already robust prescription drug abuse prevention initiative. The Attorney General’s office also pairs with local law enforcement to offer prescription drug take-backs at each mobile office location, collecting 195 pounds of prescription drugs at mobiles offices across the state in 2017.
Tobacco Settlement Releases $34 Million To North Dakota
March 13, 2018

A settlement agreement with major tobacco companies will release more than $34 million from an escrow account to North Dakota, according to an announcement made today by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

The decade-long dispute revolves around enforcement of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which requires tobacco companies to make annual payments to the states, including North Dakota, that signed onto the agreement, that is meant to serve as reimbursement for costs associated with sick and dying cigarette smokers.

“This is a win-win proposition for North Dakota. We will see an immediate payment of more than $34 million and will also eliminate the need for an expensive arbitration process year after year,” Stenehjem said.

Under the terms of the structured settlement, the tobacco companies are required to release 100 percent of the disputed payments held in escrow. In addition to the lump sum payment, North Dakota will continue to receive the annual payments due under the Master Settlement Agreement. In return, the tobacco companies receive a partial credit on the next five years of annual payments.
Utah, Hawaii and Vermont also announced MSA settlements.
Attorney General Becerra Commends Passage of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act
March 21, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued the following statement after the United States Senate voted 97-2 to advance the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (S. 1693). The bill passed the House of Representatives on a 388-25 vote. It will now be sent to the President for his signature. In September 2017, Attorney General Becerra testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation underscoring the importance of amending the Communications Decency Act. 

“I am pleased Congress passed the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, a move that heralds promising results for survivors of human trafficking and their families,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This critical legislation makes clear the authority of state and local law enforcement to protect victims from those who promote, facilitate and benefit from sex trafficking online. Today, we saw bipartisan efforts to support survivors and their families pay off. We look forward to the President’s support for this legislation to further protect trafficking victims throughout the United States.”
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.