Each week, Crowell & Moring’s State Attorneys General team highlights significant actions that State AGs have taken. Here are this week’s updates.
- A multistate coalition of 16 attorneys general sent comments to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) urging it to strengthen its Green Guides to support consumer protection laws against advertising that engages in “greenwashing,” or overstates environmental benefits. Specifically, the coalition is asking the FTC to include targeted guidance towards certain environmental claims, such as making explicit that “recyclable” means that when the consumer properly disposes of the item it is actually recycled as a matter of course.
- A multistate coalition of 18 attorneys general sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in support of its proposed rule that would eliminate non-compete clauses in most types of employment contracts. The coalition believes this rule will increase competition and fairness, benefit low and middle-wage workers, and promote gender and racial equity. The coalition is also asking the FTC to confirm that the rule does not replace state laws providing similar or increased protections.
- A multistate coalition of 18 attorneys general wrote a letter in support of a proposed federal rule that would require increased transparency about the true ownership of nursing facilities. The coalition believes this transparency will allow states to more successfully investigate and prosecute crimes related to the management of nursing homes.
- A multistate coalition of attorneys general wrote a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Energy, asking it to adopt a proposal to tighten energy conservation standards for conventional cooking products. Specifically, the rule would set performance standards for new electric and gas stoves and bolster design standards for ovens. The coalition believes the proposed rule would result in economic, health, and environmental benefits.
- A multistate coalition of 18 attorneys general filed a comment letter in support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule which would strengthen fair housing protections and urging the agency to enhance protections against housing discrimination and segregation. Specifically, the proposed rule would implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule by protecting against illegal discriminatory housing practices and promoting residential integration.
- California Attorney General Bonta applauded the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Epic Games v. Apple, affirming a district court ruling that Apple violated state law by prohibiting app developers from telling consumers how to pay for their apps and subscriptions outside of the App Store.
- California Attorney General Bonta issued an alert after a state of emergency was declared following several severe winter storms. The alert reminds businesses that the state’s price gouging law is in effect.
- Colorado Attorney General Weiser announced a settlement with predatory lender EasyPay, banning the lender from operating within the state and resolving allegations that the lender partnered with an out-of-state bank to get around state interest rate limits. The settlement includes $375,000 in restitution and costs and fees, and also requires the company to reduce rates on its existing loans and stop collecting on defaulted ones.
- Massachusetts Attorney General Campbell announced a $300,000 settlement with Eastern Metal Recycling Terminal, LLC, Patriot Stevedoring and Logistics, LLC, and Brayton Point, LLC, the owners and operators of a former scrap metal facility. The settlement resolves allegations that the named entities unlawfully discharged industrial stormwater and emitted dust and noise pollution into the surrounding water and environment in violation of the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act and the Massachusetts Clean Air Act.
- Missouri Attorney General Bailey announced that his office obtained a $27,000 judgment against former car dealership Var-iety Auto’s, LLC, in an effort to recoup the losses of consumers who allegedly purchased cars but never received certificates of title or the warranty work they were promised.
- New York Attorney General James announced her release of a guide that will help businesses use effective data security measures to protect consumers’ personal information. Specifically, the guide includes recommendations for how companies can secure data to prevent breaches, such as encrypting sensitive information, ensuring service providers use reasonable security measures, and protecting against automated attacks.
- North Carolina Attorney General Stein issued a consumer alert related to fake online reviews. In addition to giving consumers advice on how to spot fake reviews, the alert encourages consumers to report instances in which they believe businesses failed to advertise goods and services truthfully.
- Oklahoma Attorney General Drummond announced that the state’s Emergency Price Stabilization Act is in effect in five counties which were most impacted by tornadoes and severe weather.
- Washington Attorney General Ferguson announced that House Bill 1329, which protects consumers from utility shutoffs during periods of extreme heat, was signed into law. Specifically, the bill includes a moratorium on utility shutoffs for inability to pay during a Weather Service heat-related alert or warning. The legislation protects access to working refrigerators, running water, and electric fans during extreme heat as well as air conditioning for those with access to it.