News » The Week That Was

Rutledge fighting ACA

Also, she talks about the wall and a big gun arrest.

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Quote of the week

"The United States is not and never will be a sanctuary for those who do not honor our laws, who do not respect our individual rights and freedoms and who seek to destroy our way of life." Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last week. Rutledge also cited the story of Nehemiah being called by God to rebuild walls in Jerusalem in support of building a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Rutledge also fighting Affordable Care Act

Twenty Republican state attorneys general, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, have gone to court to drive a stake through the Affordable Care Act. Their argument, in a Texas federal court, is that since Congress has removed the fee, or tax, portion of the mandate under the law that everyone purchase insurance, the mandate itself is no longer constitutional under the federal ruling that allowed the law to stand because it was an exercise of taxing authority.

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Drug, gun arrests

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland and other officials announced dozens of drug and gun arrests in a crackdown on gang crime. Hiland released 13 indictments and two complaints charging 49 people with drug trafficking and gun crimes. This was a product of an investigation targeting gangs, including some believed involved in the mass shooting at Power Ultra Lounge during a rap show. Twenty-five people were wounded July 1 and a couple of arrests have been made previously of those involved.

Forty of the 49 people charged were in custody last week, with 35 arrests coming in two large raids that occurred last week involving 250-plus law enforcement officers. Among those arrested were Bilal Johns Muhammad (nicknamed "Feezio"), half-brother of former NFL player Darren McFadden, and two of Muhammad's sons — Bilal Sean Muhammad (nicknamed "Lil Feezi" or "Redd") and Kain Jordan.

New casino push

A group hoping to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018 to legalize more casinos in Arkansas and devote tax revenues to highways has submitted an altered proposal to the attorney general's office.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who reviews the popular name and ballot title of referred laws and amendments, rejected the first try.

The first proposal called for casinos in Jefferson and Crittenden counties and then one more from Miller, Mississippi, Pope, Union or White County.

The proposal now calls for one casino each in Jefferson and Pope Counties and then casinos "at or adjacent to" the existing racetrack casinos at Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn in Hot Springs, with the permits specifically allocated to the corporations currently operating those casinos. In other words, local casino monopolies in Hot Springs and West Memphis would be written into the Arkansas Constitution for the two racetracks, which could have two casinos in each place. The casinos in Pope and Jefferson County would have to be within two miles of Russellville and Pine Bluff.

The amendment would end, at least at the new casinos, the sham "electronic games of skill" artifice by which Southland and Oaklawn added slot machines and electronic forms of standard casino games such as roulette and craps. No one has challenged the proposition that these were "games of skill" as opposed to unconstitutional lotteries. The amendment also would allow sports books at the casinos, subject to a change in federal law. It also would require successful applicants to have casino operation experience.


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