The State AG Report Weekly Update August 8, 2019

2019 AG Elections

Republican Primary for Mississippi Attorney General Heads to Runoff; Winner Will Face Democrat Jennifer Riley Collins

  • None of the three Republican candidates for AG received a majority of the vote in the Republican primary for Mississippi AG. The top two vote-getters, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch and former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Mississippi Andy Taggart, will proceed to a runoff election on August 27.
  • The winner will face Democrat Jennifer Riley Collins, former Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi and a 32-year veteran of the U.S. Army who ran uncontested and secured her party’s nomination for AG, in the November 5, 2019 general election.
  • For more AG election news, insights, and polls, visit Cozen’s State AG Election Tracker.

2020 AG Elections

Democrat Jim Cossitt Announces Bid for Montana Attorney General

  • Jim Cossitt, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for Montana AG in 2020.
  • Cossitt is a bankruptcy attorney in private practice in Kalispell, Montana.
  • As previously reported, Cossitt joins Kimberly Dudik and Raph Graybill in seeking the Democratic nomination, and Chief Deputy AG Jon Bennion and Austin Knudsen are seeking the Republican nomination. Current AG Tim Fox is serving his second consecutive term and is term-limited.

Democrat Sam Petsonk Announces Bid for West Virginia Attorney General

  • Sam Petsonk, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for West Virginia AG in 2020.
  • Petsonk is an attorney in private practice with a background non-profit legal services and past president of the West Virginia Employment Lawyers Association.
  • Current AG Patrick Morrisey, a Republican who is serving his second term, has said that he has not formally announced whether he is seeking reelection.

Cannabis/Marijuana

California Attorney General Issues Medicinal Cannabis Guidelines

  • California AG Xavier Becerra announced the release of “Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Cannabis Grown for Medical Use” (“Guidelines”) to clarify California law governing medicinal cannabis following changes in state law regarding recreational cannabis use.
  • The Guidelines summarize applicable laws and provide recommendations for qualified patients and primary caregivers, best practices for prescribing, enforcement guidelines for state and local law enforcement agencies, and guidance for collectives and cooperatives, among other things.
  • The Guidelines provide clarification following the passage of Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act in 2016 and Senate Bill 94 in 2017.

E-Cigarettes

Connecticut Attorney General to Investigate E-Cigarette Manufacturer Over Health Claims and Marketing Practices

  • Connecticut AG William Tong has announced an investigation into e-cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs, Inc. (“JUUL”) over health claims and marketing by the company that allegedly violate the state Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • According to the AG’s office, the Civil Investigative Demand (which was attached to the AG’s press release) is intended to investigate the extent to which JUUL has allegedly marketed its electronic nicotine delivery systems (“ENDS”) as a smoking cessation device, despite not having received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and seeks information related to agreements with health plans, health providers, employers and the public sector, and promotional pricing offered to certain demographics, among other things.
  • As previously reported, North Carolina AG Josh Stein opened an investigation of JUUL in October 2018 and filed suit against JUUL in May 2019, and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey initiated an investigation of JUUL in July 2018, over allegations that it targeted advertising towards minors and misrepresented the risks of its products.

False Claims Act

18 Attorneys General Settle with Software Provider Over Alleged Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

  • 18 AGs reached a settlement with Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”) over allegations that Cisco sold software to public entities that was vulnerable to hacking, in violation of state False Claims Acts.
  • According to the AGs, Cisco allegedly sold a security video monitoring system to federal, state, and local public entities containing flaws that made it vulnerable to hacking into each individual system and into a broader network on which those systems were deployed.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Cisco will pay $6 million to the participating states and the whistleblower who brought the original qui tam action.  Cisco has reportedly entered into a separate settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over similar allegations.

Pharmaceuticals

Bipartisan Coalition of 39 Attorneys General Urge Congress to Remove Barriers to Opioid Addiction Treatments

  • The National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) sent a letter to congressional leaders signed by a bipartisan coalition of 39 AGs, led by North Carolina AG Josh Stein and Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter, seeking removal of federal barriers to health care providers offering treatment for opioid use disorder.
  • The letter urges the replacement of privacy rules for substance use with more easily navigable standards similar to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; passage of the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, H.R. 2482, to remove barriers to prescribing medication-assisted treatment; and repeal of the Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion that prohibits state Medicaid programs from receiving federal reimbursement for certain mental health or substance abuse disorder treatments.

Arizona Attorney General Files Bill of Complaint Invoking Original Jurisdiction in U.S. Supreme Court Against Pharmaceutical Manufacturer and Board Members

  • Arizona AG Mark Brnovich filed a Bill of Complaint in the U.S. Supreme Court against pharmaceutical manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Inc., Purdue Pharma, L.P., The Purdue Frederick Company, Inc., eight members of the Sackler family who currently and previously served on the company’s Board of Directors, and several Sackler family-held entities (collectively, “Purdue Pharma”) over allegations that Purdue Pharma has committed intentional and constructive fraudulent conveyance by transferring funds and assets to avoid paying judgments in ongoing litigation.
  • The Bill of Complaint alleges that Purdue Pharma has fraudulently transferred billions of dollars to individuals and holding companies, thereby threatening the ability of Purdue Pharma to satisfy any relief the State of Arizona may obtain in its ongoing lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over alleged violations of a 2007 consent decree entered into with the State.
  • The State filed the Bill of Complaint pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution and federal law conferring original jurisdiction to the U.S. Supreme Court over “actions or proceedings by a State against the citizens of another State or against aliens,” and filed a concurrent Motion for Leave to File Bill of Complaint.
  • The Bill of Complaint seeks a declaration that the transfers are void, garnishment against the transfer recipients, attachment of assets, and an injunction against further disposition of assets or other property.

State AGs in the News

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood Wins Democratic Primary Election for Governor

  • Mississippi AG Jim Hood defeated seven opponents to win the Democratic nomination for Governor.
  • In the general election on November 5, 2019, AG Hood will face the winner of the Republican primary, which is proceeding to a runoff on August 27.

 

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