Webinar on September 27: State AG Investigations – How to Fight Back!

In recent decades – and notably in the past eight months – state attorneys general have played a prominent role in making public policy through legal process on the state and national level. While most recent headlines have focused on AG efforts to affect national immigration policy, state AGs continue to wield substantial power over private companies and even whole industries. State AGs have the resources and the authority to change how a company conducts business;… More

NY AG Subpoena Cut Back on Constitutional Grounds

In a rare departure from the typically-deferential court treatment of AG investigations, a New York appeals court allowed in part a motion to quash a document subpoena from the New York Attorney General, citing constitutional concerns, in Matter of Evergreen Assn., Inc. v. Schneiderman, 54 N.Y.S.3d 135 (2017).

The subpoena, issued in 2013, arose from investigations by the NY AG begun in 2010 of “crisis pregnancy centers.”  Evergreen,… More

Ballot Initiative Petitions Include Four Clean Energy Proposals

Initiative petition proponents filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office earlier this week 28 proposed initiative petitions that, if certified by the AG and endorsed by the requisite number of registered voters, could appear on the November 2018 ballot.  (See this post for more details on the ballot initiative process.)  Interested parties have until Friday, August 11 to (1) submit memoranda setting forth why the AG should or should not certify the measure,… More

The Commonwealth Defends Its Sovereignty, but Not Its Officers, in Commonwealth v. Lunn

On Monday, July 24, 2017, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Lunn that Massachusetts law did not permit court officers to hold the plaintiff, Lunn, solely on the basis of a federal immigration detainer.[1] The ruling was a victory not only for Lunn, but for the Commonwealth as well, because of the somewhat unusual position the Attorney General had taken in the case.… More

Attorneys General Continue to Battle the Trump Administration Over Environmental Regulations

Democratic Attorneys General have continued their efforts to combat the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back environmental regulations developed under the Obama administration in two recent actions. Thirteen AGs, including Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, sent a letter last week to Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, threatening legal action if the agency takes steps to weaken or delay the greenhouse gas emissions standards that were established in 2012 for cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2022-2025.… More

2018 Potential Ballot Questions

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts State Legislature voted to permit a proposed constitutional amendment to appear on the November 2018 state election ballot. The proposed amendment would add a 4 percent surcharge on incomes over $1 million (called the “Fair Share Amendment” by supporters).

The Fair Share Amendment will not be the only question facing Massachusetts voters next fall.  If you’ve been following State AG Insights,… More

How to Pop the Question: Initiatives and Referendums for the State Election Ballot

At last week’s Boston Pride Week kickoff, Mayor Marty Walsh was asked about a question slated for the November 2018 ballot that would repeal the new transgender public accommodations law in Massachusetts. If you’ve been following State AG Insights, you know that we have been closely following the 2018 ballot question process. Most questions for the 2018 ballot are still in the process of being drafted,… More

Who’s the Boss? When State Governors and Attorneys General Clash

State governors and attorneys general typically find themselves on the same side of the law.  Nonetheless, an overwhelming majority of states directly elect their attorneys general. This framework creates a natural opportunity for conflicts to erupt, particularly when officials act to protect what they perceive to be equally legitimate interests.

One such drama is playing out in Rhode Island.  On May 18, 2014,… More

Simmering Feud Between Governor LePage and AG Mills Boils into Lawsuit

On May 1, 2017, Maine Governor Paul LePage sued Maine Attorney General Janet Mills in the culmination of a long-running dispute over the Governor’s ability to retain outside counsel when his views differ from those of AG Mills.  In particular, Governor LePage sent AG Mills a letter in March 2017 instructing the AG to represent the Governor and the State of Maine in ongoing litigation in Hawaii concerning the constitutionality of President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. … More

AG Healey Issues Guidance to Schools and Health Care Providers on Immigration Enforcement Issues

In the wake of several executive orders on immigration, ICE—the federal agency responsible for enforcing the nation’s immigration laws—has ramped up enforcement activities. As a result, local public school districts and health care providers in Massachusetts have asked the Attorney General about their rights and obligations with respect to the undocumented students and patients they serve. On May 22, 2017, the AG issued comprehensive guidance to answer their questions.… More