Politics

The Rutledge Report | November 2021

Attorney General Rutledge Blocks the Biden Administration’s CMS Vaccine Mandate in Arkansas

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, issued a preliminary injunction, halting the Biden Administration from enforcing a vaccine mandate on healthcare workers in Arkansas and in nine other states.
“President Biden has been stopped again by the swift legal action of my office,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “President Biden’s illegal CMS vaccine mandate has no place in Arkansas. I will continue to protect Arkansans from having to decide between getting the shot or losing their job.” Read more here.

Rutledge Challenges Biden’s Illegal Vaccine Mandates  

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced she is co-leading a legal challenge to President Biden’s mandatory vaccination requirement for private companies. Along with 10 state attorneys general, she is challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new rule implementing President Biden’s order that private companies with 100 or more employees must require employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022. “President Biden’s overreach is excessive and indefensible, and beyond unconstitutional,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will continue to be the last line of defense against Biden’s liberal and reckless overreaching federal government. Americans deserve more than having to decide between getting the shot or losing a job.
”The petition for review challenging President Biden’s directive was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  Arkansas is joined in the challenge by the states of Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Read more here.

Attorney General Rutledge Joins 12 State Coalition in Urging Ben & Jerry’s to Reverse Boycott of Israel

Attorney General Rutledge joined a coalition of 12 states in sending a letter to Unilever and its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., urging them to reverse their decision to boycott the State of Israel. According to the letter, in July 2021, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it is “inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” and subsequently informed a licensee in the region that it would not renew its license agreement when it expires in 2022. That letter follows Rutledge’s continued successful defense of Arkansas’s law barring state entities from contracting with those who boycott Israel.

“I am telling Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever to immediately reverse their ridiculous decision to boycott Israel,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In Arkansas, I have defended, and will continue to fight for, Arkansas’s commonsense law barring public entities from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.”

The letter notes that 33 states, including Arkansas, have passed anti-boycott divestment and sanctions against Israel statutes that prohibit investment of public pension funds or the awarding of government procurement contracts to companies that boycott Israel. Read more here.


Rutledge Sues Fort Smith In-Home Health Aide for Exploiting Seniors

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a lawsuit against Kristy Michelle Weems, of Fort Smith, for financially exploiting seniors in the Fort Smith area, a violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). Weems was employed as a home health aide to provide companionship, personal care, and other non-medical “home helper” services for seniors. The lawsuit alleges that Weems took advantage of her clients’ trust and inability to protect their property by making multiple unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals with their debit cards and credit cards. Weems illegally obtained more than $13,400 before her deceptive activities were discovered and she was terminated by her employer.

“Ms. Weems abused the trust of seniors and their families, stealing thousands of dollars from Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Attorney General, I have always protected our seniors and the State’s most vulnerable populations.” Read more here.


Attorney General Rutledge Hosts 10th Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit in Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is proud to announce the huge success of the tenth Annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit where 700 people attended. This event was held in Northwest Arkansas at the Rogers Convention Center. The Summit served as a free training and educational opportunity which connected law enforcement officers, medical professionals, treatment specialists, pharmacists, educators and family members.
“It is an honor to host the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit in a new location in Northwest Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The best way to address the crisis is to prevent addiction before it starts; that’s why it is imperative that we educate more Arkansans on the dangers of misuse and abuse of prescription medications.” Read more here.

AG Rutledge Joins Nationwide Investigation Into Instagram’s Impact on Young Arkansans

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform – Instagram – to children and young adults despite knowing it has been associated with physical and mental health harms. Rutledge and the coalition of attorneys general are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws, including the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and put the public at risk.
“Big tech’s influence on our society has led our youth to believing their self-worth is based on likes and views,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “As a mother of a young daughter, it’s important to thoroughly investigate big tech for their impact they are having on our children and hold them accountable for their actions.
”The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. Read more here.

Rutledge Announces Wife of Conway Eye Doctor Convicted of Medicaid Fraud

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the conviction of a Conway eye doctor’s employee who was sentenced in Faulkner County to 36 months in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and ordered to pay almost $860,000 in restitution and fines.

“It doesn’t matter if you own the facility or are an employee, bad actors who defraud taxpayers will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid funds are crucial to assist some of our most vulnerable Arkansans.”

Karen Todd, 53, of Conway pleaded guilty to Class A felony Medicaid fraud and was sentenced to 36 months in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with an additional 84 months suspended imposition of sentence. She was ordered to pay $286,536.64 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund and $573,073.28 in fines to the general revenue of the State of Arkansas. The restitution is joint and several with Dr. Charles Todd, Jr., pursuant to a civil settlement in State v. Dr. Charles Todd, Jr., 23CV-21-1035. Read more here.


Attorney General Rutledge Leads Multistate Brief Supporting Miss United States of America

Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge leads a 12-multistate amicus brief defending Miss United States of America’s right to produce a pageant that expresses its view of women’s empowerment. The brief seeks to uphold the pageant’s First Amendment right to require that contestants be biological females against a claim brought by an “openly transgender” individual.
“It’s simply not right that women have fought for decades to have equal opportunities and now women are being forced to compete against biological men in exclusively female activities,” said Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge. “Pageants that promote female empowerment are a constitutional right and should be exclusively for women.
”Attorney General Rutledge has been a fierce advocate for women’s rights in Arkansas by ensuring that female athletes in Arkansas have equal opportunity to compete in exclusively female sports. Her leadership in the crafting and passage of the Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation for Sports (GIRLS) Act is just the most recent example of her protecting Arkansas’s young women. Read more here.

Arkansans can report scams and find out more information by visiting
ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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