Announcements, information and updates from the AG Alliance Members and Associates
May 29, 2020
ANNUAL MEETING UPDATE:
DRAFT AGENDA AVAILABLE
The AG Alliance is gearing up to host our 2020 Annual Meeting, scheduled for July 23 - 26 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and will enact American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) guidelines, the Broadmoor's list of health and sanitation practices, U.S. Travel Association guidance, along with our own measures and protocol.

Please see our latest draft agenda below and stay tuned as our future roundups will continue to feature travel and meeting best practices during and after the coronavirus.

For all meeting or sponsorship-related i nquiries, please contact:
Ale Stephens 
303-304-9206
UPCOMING COVID WEBINAR
THURSDAY, JUNE 4TH @ 1PM EST

Attorney General Hosts
Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon
Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas

Panelists
Patrick Madigan , Assistant Attorney General & National Leader of AG Mortgage Group, Iowa Attorney General’s Office
Geoff Walsh , Staff Attorney & Expert, National Consumer Law Center
Nicole Beattie , Executive Vice President of Servicing, Quicken Loans/Rock Central

Registration
Registration is open and available to all interested parties. Please click on the button below to register. For any comments or questions, contact Andrea Friedman at afriedman@agalliance.org.
COVID-19 ROUNDUP:
MEATPACKING INDUSTRY ISSUES
PRICE GOUGING & FRAUD
MEATPACKING INDUSTRY ISSUES
Minnesota Issues Guidance For Meatpacking Industry
Safe + Healthy
May 26, 2020

Recently released guidance from the state of Minnesota details steps employers in the meatpacking industry should take to reduce worker exposure to COVID-19.

Developed by the state’s departments of Labor and Industry, Health, and Agriculture, the guidance document “will ensure the meatpacking sector complies with the Minnesota Department of Health and (the) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards related to COVID-19.”
'Something Isn't Right': U.S. Probes Soaring Beef Prices
Politico
May 25, 2020

Supermarket customers are paying more for beef than they have in decades during the coronavirus pandemic. But at the same time, the companies that process the meat for sale are paying farmers and ranchers staggeringly low prices for cattle.

Now, the Agriculture Department and prosecutors are investigating whether the meatpacking industry is fixing or manipulating prices.The Department of Justice is looking at the four largest U.S. meatpackers — Tyson Foods, JBS, National Beef and Cargill — which collectively control about 85 percent of the U.S. market for the slaughter and packaging of beef, according to a person with knowledge of the probe. The USDA is also investigating the beef price fluctuations, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has confirmed.
As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive
The New York Times
May 25, 2020

The Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, N.C., is one of the world’s largest pork processing facilities, employing about 4,500 people and slaughtering roughly 30,000 pigs a day at its peak.

And like more than 100 other meat plants across the United States, the facility has seen a substantial number of coronavirus cases. But the exact number of workers in Tar Heel who have tested positive is anyone’s guess.

Smithfield would not provide any data when asked about the number of illnesses at the plant. Neither would state or local health officials.
PRICE GOUGING & FRAUD
New Bill Passes Legislature Strengthening Attorney General James’ Price Gouging Authority
May 27, 2020

New York Attorney General Letitia James applauded the State Senate and Assembly for passing legislation that will substantially strengthen New York State’s price gouging statute to prevent excessive price increases on essential goods and services, as the state continues to battle the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Coronavirus Scams Have Cost Americans $39 Million So Far
CNBC
May 25, 2020

Nearly 52,500 Americans have already filed complaints this year with the Federal Trade Commission over fraud related to Covid-19, reporting losses totaling over $38.6 million. Of those submitting complaints through May 21, about 45% reported falling victim to fraudsters, losing about $470 on average.
A Used-Care Salesman Tried to Scam new York Out of $45 Million for N95 Masks He Didn't Have, Feds Say
The Washington Post
May 27, 2020

The car salesman, Ronald Romano, had no experience selling surgical-grade face masks. But in March, as the novel coronavirus began upending life in the United States, federal prosecutors say Romano assembled an unlikely crew of brokers and business partners to work toward an even unlikelier goal: selling about 7 million surgical-grade face masks to New York City for more than $45 million.

It was a more than 400 percent markup from the market price.

Perhaps even more unlikely was that Romano even got close to a deal, allegedly claiming to be an authorized distributor of 3M’s N95 respirator masks. But in the end the deal never materialized because of one major hole: There were never any masks.
DOJ Launches COVID-19-Related Fraud and Price Gouging Cases
Law.Com
May 14, 2020

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), among others, issued dire warnings about the potential increase in fraud, price gouging, and similar crimes whose perpetrators would see to take advantage of the panic surrounding the virus. At the urging of Attorney General William Barr, U.S. Attorney’s Offices have established district-based COVID Task Forces, often in partnership with the FBI and state and local law enforcement agencies.
ATTORNEY GENERAL
PRICE GOUGING & FRAUD

  • Connecticut AG Tong announced an $82,500 civil False Claims Act settlement with Brookfield dentist Rawa Hassan regarding overcharges for dental restoration fillings the state alleges she did not provide.

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Massachusetts AG Healey jointly filed a lawsuit against Commonwealth Equity Group, LLC, which does business as Key Credit Repair, and Nikitas Tsoukales (also known as Nikitas Tsoukalis), Key Credit Repair’s president and owner, alleging the defendants violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s (CFPA) prohibition against deceptive acts or practices and the Telemarketing Sales Rule’s (TSR) prohibitions on deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts or practices.

  • Florida AG Moody recovered thousands of dollars for consumers who purchased purported at-home COVID-19 test kits. Sunshine Community Rx of Sarasota, d/b/a PrecisionMed Pharmacy sent approximately 1,000 text message solicitations to consumers in the Tampa Bay area offering at-home COVID-19 test kits for $85 each.
OPIOIDS CRISIS

  • Texas AG Paxton announced a coordinated bipartisan agreement with county leaders from around the state regarding the way Texas will direct future settlement money to people most impacted from the opioid epidemic.

DATA PRIVACY

  • Arizona AG Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against Google LLC for deceptive and unfair practices used to obtain users’ location data, which Google then exploits for its lucrative advertising business. Visit Consumer Reports for a comprehensive look at the legal and policy issues involved.

  • Florida AG Moody announced she is seeking information from the chief executive officer of TikTok, requesting more information about how the China-based social media company ensures the privacy and security of children who use its video application. 

FIRST RESPONDER PROTECTIONS//RELIEF EFFORTS

  • Utah AG Reyes is leading a coalition of law enforcement officers from around the State of Utah in urging Congress to quickly pass S.3607 – Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act of 2020.

  • Arkansas AG Rutledge partnered with Lowe's to deliver 10,000 N95 face masks to nursing homes and grocery store employees throughout Arkansas.

CANNABIS

  • Colorado AG Weiser led a bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territorial Attorneys General urging Congress to pass as part of upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) or similar measures that would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.

COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING & ABUSE

  • Arizona AG Brnovich's office awarded nearly $300,000 in grants to community organizations that provide support services and shelter to survivors of human trafficking. Nearly 150 individuals, including children and babies, are expected to benefit from services funded by the grants.

  • Utah AG Reyes, alongside survivors of childhood abuse, launched a public awareness campaign dedicated to changing the conversation around child abuse and empowering survivors during a press conference. Utah is the first state to roll out a SHINE campaign of this size with a digital marketing presence and an original PSA.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT
HEALTHCARE

  • Merck announced three significant scientific initiatives to combat COVID-19: two agreements to develop potential vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, and a research collaboration to advance the development of a novel antiviral candidate.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 437,000 children and youth are currently in foster care. Centene provides managed care for more than 175,000 of those individuals across 20 states and delivers quality healthcare solutions to address their unique needs. 

  • GlaxoSmithKline Plc plans to produce 1 billion doses of a vaccine adjuvant -- a booster that can help any brand of shot -- to support immunization against the Covid-19 pandemic next year.
CWAG Executive Committee
- Hector Balderas - Mark Brnovich -
- Wayne Stenehjem - Phil Weiser -

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