The State AG Report Weekly Update March 17, 2016

Attorneys General in the News

21 Attorneys General Call for Prompt Consideration of Supreme Court Nominee

  • 21 AGs sent a letter to the United States Senate urging leaders from both parties to promptly consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The letter was sent prior to President Obama’s nomination of Merrick B. Garland.
  • In the letter, the AGs write that refusing to consider the nominee would be contrary to the Constitution and note that a failure to act promptly would impair the functioning of state governments, which rely on the Supreme Court to resolve disputes that implicate vital interests of the States.

Consumer Protection

New York Attorney General Settles with Home Healthcare Company for Alleged Civil Rights Violations

  • New York AG Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with Interim Healthcare of Greater New York, Inc. (“Interim”) to resolve the AG’s investigation of possible violations of the federal Civil Rights Act and the New York State Human Rights Law.
  • According to the AG’s office, Interim allegedly lacked safeguards to prevent or remedy unlawful employment discrimination, such as procedures for reviewing patients’ requests for caregivers based on gender and race and anti-discrimination training for employees. The AG’s office began its investigation after learning that Interim had placed a newspaper advertisement for caregivers, which requested only female applicants and “no Haitians.”
  • Under the terms of the Assurance of Discontinuance, Interim will, among other things, develop an internal policy to prohibit discriminatory conduct when processing patients’ requests for caregivers, conduct anti-discrimination training for certain employees, investigate all complaints that allege discriminatory treatment based on race, national origin, or gender, and pay $100,00 in penalties, fees, and costs associated with the investigation.

Data Privacy

FCC Chairman Proposes Broadband Privacy Rules for Internet Service Providers

  • Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated to the full Commission a proposal for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would regulate how Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) can use and share customer data. The proposal will be voted on by the Commission at its March 31st meeting and, if adopted, would be followed by a period of public comment. The NPRM itself has not been made public, only a fact sheet summarizing the proposal.
  • According to Chairman Wheeler’s fact sheet, the rulemaking would apply the privacy requirements of the Communications Act to broadband ISPs, requiring them to:  disclose to consumers how their online personal and private information will be used; allow consumers to limit the collection or sharing of that data; take reasonable steps to maintain and secure consumer data; and notify customers within 10 days of discovering a data breach.

Kansas Attorney General Settles with Company for Alleged Unlawful Disposal of Personal Information

  • Kansas AG Derek Schmidt reached a settlement with Central Regional Dental Testing Service, Inc. (“CRDTS”) for allegedly violating state consumer privacy laws.
  • According to the consent judgment, CRDTS allegedly disposed of more than 900 paper files into an unsecured dumpster, which contained the personal information of candidates for licensure as dentists or dental hygienists and information regarding the candidates’ patients.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, CRDTS will pay $70,000 in civil penalties and $70,000 in investigative costs.


Ohio Attorney General Rejects Petition for Medical Use of Marijuana Amendment

  • Ohio AG Mike DeWine rejected a petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution that would legalize marijuana for medical use in the state.
  • In the letter, AG DeWine rejected the amendment due to defects in the proposed amendment’s summary language, which AG DeWine claimed was not a “fair and truthful statement” of the proposal. AG DeWine noted several discrepancies between the summary and the amendment itself, including the date when a resident can obtain a valid registry identification card, whether the amendment prevents a person from being penalized for operating a vehicle due to impairment, and the number of facility licenses that would be permitted under the amendment.

Rhode Island Attorney General to Host Forum on Marijuana Policy

  • Rhode Island AG Peter Kilmartin, in partnership with the Conference of Western Attorneys General and Brown University, will host a forum on marijuana policy on April 5, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • According to AG Kilmartin, the forum will discuss the potential impacts of legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal use, including the challenges of creating a robust regulatory framework for a new industry.
  • Government officials and industry leaders will present at the forum.

State v. Federal

Ohio Attorney General Urges the EPA to Retract Proposed Regulation of Competitive Racing Vehicles

  • Ohio AG Mike DeWine sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) urging the agency to remove language from a proposed rule which would expand the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Air Act to cover vehicles modified for racing or hobbyist competition.
  • The EPA’s proposed rule regarding “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles,” included a provision that would require certified motor vehicles and motor vehicles engines and their emission control devices to remain in their certified configuration, even if they were used exclusively for competition or if they became nonroad vehicles or engines.
  • In the letter, AG DeWine writes that the proposed rule would be contrary to statutory and legislative history, which demonstrates that vehicles used solely for competition are not regulated under the Clean Air Act, and would damage the specialty automotive industry, an important part of Ohio’s economy, by rendering many of the products sold and installed by Ohio businesses illegal.