CWAG Roundup

May 4, 2017


2017 CWAG Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!
San Francisco, CA
July 30- August 2, 2017

The Conference of Western Attorneys General along with CWAG Chair and Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin invite you to the 2017 CWAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA, July 30-August 2, 2017. Join your colleagues as CWAG explores the most pertinent legal issues during the days and spend the evenings enjoying the urban charm of the city at our social events.

  To register online use the following link: 2017 CWAG Annual Meeting Registration

If you have attended an annual meeting in the past few years your contact information has been saved in the registration system. Please review your contact information during the registration process to make sure it is current.
To register go to "Sign In" and enter the email address and password you or your assistant previously provided. If you can't recall your password, click on the "Forgot Password" link and your password will be sent to the email that is saved in the system.
If you have not previously registered for the annual meeting go to "New Registration", enter your email and create a personal password to be used for future registrations.
Early Bird Registration: The cutoff date for Early Bird registration is Friday, June 2, 2017 at 5:00pm (PT).  All registrations received after this time and date will be charged the regular registration fee.
Onsite Registration: Pre-registering for primary attendees and guests who would like to attend any of the substantive or social opportunities is required. CWAG must make commitments to the hotel and activity vendors based on pre-registered guests prior to our arrival. The registration fees cover the cost of activities and meals at the conference which have been pre-arranged. Given the necessity of pre planning, we will not be accepting any onsite registrations. 
Hotel room cutoff: The last day to reserve your room within the CWAG room block is Friday, July 7, 2017. If the room block sells out prior to that time, reservations will be accepted on a space available basis. The reservation number for the Westin St. Francis is1.888.627.8546. Ask for the CWAG room block to receive our discounted rates.

Former US Interior Solicitor Joins Top Law Firm's Environmental Practice Group
Hogan Lovells announced that Hilary Tompkins, former Solicitor for the United States Department of Interior (DOI), will join the firm's Environmental practice group as a partner in the Washington D.C. office. As the top legal officer at the DOI, a cabinet-level agency responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land, natural and cultural resource programs, and the trustee for the Nation's Native American population, Tompkins was in charge of all legal matters involving the programs, operations, and activities within the department, with a focus on public lands, water infrastructure, energy development, minerals management, general administration, and Indian law. "Hilary is a highly respected environmental practitioner who will strengthen the capabilities of our public lands and natural resource practice," said Alice Valder Curran, Global head of the firm's Government Regulatory practice. "Due to client demand, we have been focused on expanding our practices in these areas. Her extensive knowledge of the DOI will be invaluable to clients, who either regularly appear before the federal agency or are impacted by its decisions and rules."   
CWAG Associate Attorney General Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas named Monty Baugh of Little Rock as deputy attorney general for the Civil Department and Renae Hudson of Sherwood as senior assistant attorney general joining Christine Cryer of Little Rock and Colin Jorgensen of Little Rock in that leadership role. "I am excited to welcome Monty Baugh as the deputy attorney general of the Civil Department," said Attorney General Rutledge. "Monty's impressive background will bring a fresh perspective to the office, and I know his skills as a litigator will enhance the abilities of the top-notch attorneys who are already doing exceptional work. I also want to congratulate Renae Hudson as she joins Christine Cryer and Colin Jorgensen as senior assistant attorneys general in the department. These three, along with Monty, make a tremendous leadership team with years of experience."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Donovan Jr., of Vermont announced the launch of a new community initiative to inform Vermont's youth about criminal justice and law enforcement careers, such as prosecution and advocacy on behalf of victims. Lawyers, law enforcement officers and advocates from the Attorney General's Office will be presenting information to Technical Center students around the State regarding the work of the Criminal Division in the Attorney General's Office. Vermont law enforcement agencies are consistently seeking to fill vacancies. The Technical Center programs provide a valuable service to Vermont and Vermonters in educating our youth in fields where there is a substantial need for new workers. Among the various programs offered by the Centers around the state are law enforcement programs. "Our goal is to let Vermont students know about career opportunities right here in Vermont. The criminal justice system has many opportunities and through this initiative we hope to connect students with potential careers." Attorney General Donovan stated.
CWAG Attorneys General Hector Balderas of New Mexico and Xavier Becerra of California sued the federal government on over unpaid oil and gas royalties. They filed suit in U.S. District Court in California against the U.S. Department of the Interior for postponing implementation of a rule that updates how federal royalties on oil, gas and coal extraction is calculated. The rule took effect in January, but in February the Interior Department delayed it until a legal challenge by industry groups is resolved. The attorneys general say that decision is blocking payment of about $18 million in royalties owed to their states, including $4.9 million for New Mexico. The rule, approved through a five-year public process, closed loopholes, such as prohibiting coal companies from paying royalties on the value of inventory sold to sister companies rather than on the value of a final sale to end users. Last year, Interior estimated the rule would generate up to $85 million in new federal revenue annually.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Bill Schuette of Michigan announced that he has secured the forfeiture of the state-paid portions of the pensions held by eight of the Detroit principals convicted last year of accepting federal program bribery in a $2.7-million kickback scheme that resulted in charges against former Detroit Public Schools vendor Norman Shy and 13 district officials. The state paid pension contributions were forfeit which means they will no longer be paid to the individuals, and those individuals that owe repayment, will experience a further reduction in their pensions until full re-payment has been made. "The future of our state depends on the education of the next generation. School leaders have an inherent duty to provide and protect our students, not steal from them," said Attorney General Schuette. Michigan law provides for the forfeiture of public employee retirement benefits paid by the State into the retirement fund if a member or retiree is convicted of or enters a guilty plea to a felony that is related to their service as a public employee. The confiscated funds cannot be used to pay restitution.
CWAG Associate Attorney General Mike Hunter of Oklahoma was joined by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Tim Downing at a press conference to announce legislation to form the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse. The commission will be created by Senate Concurrent Resolution 12, authored by Sen. Griffin and Rep. Downing. According to the resolution, the nine-member committee is chaired by Attorney General Hunter and members will study, evaluate and make recommendations for changes to state policy, rules or statutes to better combat opioid abuse in Oklahoma. "Oklahoma is currently in the midst of an opioid abuse epidemic that is reaching a crisis level," Attorney General Hunter said. "Over the last three years there have been 2,684 reported opioid related deaths in the state. This commission will chart a path forward by looking at every avenue to save lives."
CWAG Associate Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts announced that school children in districts across the state will receive an unprecedented investment in evidence-based substance use prevention education under a new initiative to tackle a significant unmet need in the state's battle against the ongoing opioid crisis. In announcements across the state in the coming days with local leaders, educators, students and law enforcement partners, Attorney General Healey will distribute $700,000 in funding directly to school districts, nonprofits and community organizations to fund two years of prevention programming to 41 grantees in Massachusetts. "We will never get control of this epidemic until prevention becomes a priority," said Attorney General Healey. "With these grants, we will partner with schools and community organizations to empower young people and protect the next generation from falling victim to this public health crisis. But, these grants are only a start, we must continue to address this unmet need."
CWAG Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington announced that he is accusing a Quincy agricultural company and one of its managers of violating Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Washington Law Against Discrimination over the sexual harassment of female workers, discriminatory hiring practices and retaliation against workers who reported the improper conduct. Attorney General Ferguson alleges that the operation and policies of the Grant County company, Horning Brothers LLC, allowed one of its foremen, Hermilo Cruz, to sexually harass and discriminate against female employees for several years. The complaint alleges that Horning Brothers knew or should have known about Cruz's conduct. The complaint accuses the company and Cruz of retaliating against employees who rejected Cruz's advances or complained about his conduct. Employees who reported the conduct were reprimanded, discharged or not rehired the following season. "Low-wage agricultural workers are part of a vulnerable population with limited resources. They deserve to be heard," Attorney General Ferguson said. "No woman should be forced to accept sexual harassment as a condition of her employment."
After raising vociferous objections to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's plans to offer a fintech charter, state regulators sued the federal agency, arguing it lacks the legal authority. "The OCC's action is an unprecedented, unlawful expansion of the chartering authority given to it by Congress for national banks," John Ryan, the president and CEO of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, said in a press release. "If the OCC is allowed to proceed with the creation of a special purpose nonbank charter, it will set a dangerous precedent that any federal agency can act beyond the legal limits of its authority." The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, lays out the state regulators' fundamental complaint that they've had from the beginning against the OCC's charter, namely that the agency does not have statutory authority to create a special-purpose charter. Citing the National Bank Act, the bank supervisor group argued that the OCC has the authority to charter only those firms engaged in the "business of banking." The agency would need "specific congressional approval" to create a charter for nondepository institutions, as the OCC plans to do, the group said.
"Local law enforcement is strapped," Senator Harris said, standing outside a Syrian restaurant. "They barely have enough resources to respond to the domestic violence call, the homicide call, the gang enforcement call. ... Now we're going to have an administration in Washington, D.C., that says local law enforcement must enforce immigration policy -- new immigration policy that says we're going to lower the bar in terms of who gets deported?" The senator, who had just met with the Los Angeles County sheriff and immigrant aid workers, told reporters she wanted to convey a message to all the "law-abiding" undocumented immigrants who are anxious and fearful under the new rules. My word to these families," she said, "is 'don't let anyone take your pride from you.'"

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