Squire Patton Boggs’ State Attorneys General Practice Group is comprised of lawyers who have served at senior levels in state AG offices around the country and whose practices focus, to one degree or another, on representing clients before these increasingly assertive and powerful, yet often overlooked, government agencies, as explained in detail here.
In these updates, we will call attention to the most noteworthy state AG news or developments emerging in the previous week.
Car manufacturers Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Porsche AG, as well as their American subsidiaries, have “agreed to pay over $157 million to ten states . . . to settle the environmental lawsuits first filed last summer by New York and Massachusetts challenging the companies’ secret use of unlawful ‘defeat device’ software in their vehicles,” according to a press release from New York AG Eric Schneiderman. The press release states that the “defeat device” software “caused tens of thousands of tons of excess harmful pollutants to be emitted into the air in New York and other states.” As part of the settlement, Volkswagen has “agreed to substantially increase its commitment to New York’s emerging electric car market,” including by “at least tripl[ing] the number of electric car models its Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi brands offer to New Yorkers” by 2020, according to the press release. The press release also notes that New York and the other states settling with Volkswagen “have all incorporated into their state law the more stringent auto emissions standards established by California, as permitted by Section 177 of the federal Clean Air Act.”
Following President Trump’s signing of an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review its “Clean Power Plan,” Texas AG Ken Paxton issued a statement that: “President Trump’s executive order is a significant step toward sparing all of us from a potentially disastrous change to the nation’s energy policy that was orchestrated during the Obama era in violation of federal law.” AG Paxton continues that the “so-called Clean Power Plan would have subjected Americans to higher electricity costs and could have weakened the nation’s power grid.” AG Paxton also noted that “Texas and West Virginia led 22 states in getting the U.S. Supreme Court to block the plan. We’re heartened by the president’s latest action, which shows he’s serious about returning common sense and the rule of law to the EPA.”
Virginia AG Mark Herring has issued a statement calling Virginia Governor McAuliffe’s proposal “to restore Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month” law a “great step to restore a commonsense measure that never should have been repealed in the first place.” The “one-handgun-a-month” law “make[s] it illegal to purchase more than one handgun in a 30-day period by Virginia residents and out-of-state purchasers,” according to a news release from Governor McAuliffe, who proposed reenacting that law on March 27. AG Herring’s statement said that “Virginia’s weak gun laws make it too easy for guns to get into the hands of criminals, making our families, communities, and especially our law enforcement officers less safe.”