The State AG Report Weekly Update May 17, 2018

2018 AG Elections

Idaho and Nebraska Primaries Confirm Nominations of Uncontested Candidates

  • Idaho and Nebraska both held primaries on May 15, 2018, for numerous federal and statewide offices, including state Attorney General.
  • In both states, uncontested candidates confirmed the nominations of their respective parties.
  • In Idaho, incumbent Republican AG Alan Wilson was unopposed in the primary and will be unopposed in the general election, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
  • In Nebraska, as the only candidates on the ballot, Republican incumbent AG Doug Peterson and Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis will face off in the general election.

2019 AG Elections

Republican Lynn Fitch Announces Bid for Mississippi Attorney General

  • State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, a Republican, has announced her candidacy for Mississippi AG in 2019.
  • Treasurer Fitch is in her second term. Prior to holding this position, she served as Executive Director of the Mississippi State Personnel Board, Deputy Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, and as Counsel for the Mississippi House of Representatives Ways and Means and Local and Private Legislation Committees.
  • Treasurer Fitch joins state Representative Mark Baker in seeking the Republican nomination. Incumbent AG Jim Hood, a Democrat, has not yet announced whether he will run for reelection.

Consumer Protection

Arizona Attorney General Reaches Settlement with HVAC Company Over Telemarketing Practices

  • Arizona AG Mark Brnovich announced a settlement with Desert Valley Aire Inc. (“DVA”), an HVAC installation and maintenance company, over allegations that DVA engaged in telemarketing practices that violate state telemarketing laws.
  • According to the AG’s office, DVA allegedly made at least 25,000 telemarketing calls between 2011 and 2015 to consumers who previously requested the company stop calling and improperly represented to consumers that DVA was exempt from the national Do Not Call Registry.
  • According to the AG’s office, DVA will pay $340,000 in civil fines under the terms of the consent judgment.

Financial Industry

South Carolina Attorney General Creates “Money Services Division”

  • South Carolina AG Alan Wilson announced the creation of the Money Services Division within the AG’s Office.
  • Under the state Anti-Money Laundering Act, which will take effect May 25, 2018, the AG is Commissioner over businesses that transmit or exchange money in the state.
  • Pursuant to that directive, the Money Services Division will accept applications for licenses to conduct money transmission and currency exchange services, through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System.

Gaming/Gambling

United States Supreme Court Declares Federal Law that Prohibited Most States from Legalizing Sports Betting Unconstitutional

  • The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, No. 16-476 (May 14, 2018) and struck down the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (“PASPA”), which barred most states from legalizing sports betting, on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
  • The Court’s decision held that PASPA violates the “anti-commandeering” doctrine under the Tenth Amendment by dictating state legislatures’ enactment or repeal of state betting laws. By deeming PASPA unconstitutional, the Court’s decision opens the door to widespread authorization and regulation of sports betting by state legislatures nationwide.
  • As JB Kelly, a Member in Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General practice, explained for the TaxNotes article Supreme Court Frees States to Legalize and Tax Sports Betting, states are fully capable of trying out different regulatory schemes, and “the states are probably going to be in a much better position than the federal government to relay quickly what their consumers want.”

State v. Federal

15 Republican Attorneys General File Amicus Brief in Support of Repealing Farming Regulations

  • 15 Republican AGs, led by Missouri AG Josh Hawley, filed an amicus brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of Organic Trade Association v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, No, 1:17-cv-01875-RMC, in support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”).
  • The lawsuit arose when the Organic Trade Association challenged the USDA’s May 13, 2018 decision to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (“Organic Livestock Rule”), which was promulgated in 2017 to set organic livestock and poultry production standards and provide enforcement mechanisms under the USDA’s authority to set standards for organic products.
  • According to the AGs’ brief, the Organic Livestock Rule exceeded the USDA’s authority because it is primarily an animal-welfare regulation rather than an organic products standard.
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