Rational Regulatory Environment Critical to Dairyland’s Success
Each year, during June Dairy Month we celebrate Wisconsin’s proud tradition and heritage in producing delicious dairy products. But where would our state’s top industries be if regulators in Washington, D.C. were reaching all the way across the nation to control daily farming practices, with a one-size fits all attitude and without regard to local needs? As Attorney General, I work every day to protect our state’s sovereignty and ensure Wisconsin industries, like agriculture and manufacturing, are not impeded by overzealous federal regulations.
In 2015, the Obama Administration published an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would have drastically expanded federal authority to regulate natural resources in Wisconsin, including any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains, and even roadside ditches. Commonly known as WOTUS, or waters of the United States, this regulation would have crippled the agriculture industry in Wisconsin, requiring federal permits for farmers to do daily activities on their farm.
To protect Wisconsin farmers from this federal overreach, I challenged this rule in court. As a result, a federal court stopped the rule from being implemented while Wisconsin and a coalition of other states sued the EPA for this overreach. Once sworn into office, President Trump agreed to review the rule.
In response to the President’s agreement to review the rule, I led a coalition of 20 state attorneys general in requesting the EPA preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s water sources, and maintaining Wisconsin’s role as the primary regulator of land and water within our state’s borders. I also asked the EPA to seriously consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways. The people of Wisconsin don’t need Washington, D.C. controlling them, we know what is best for our state.
I am excited to announce that in late June of this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the EPA is officially considering repealing the WOTUS rule. Such a repeal would ultimately provide relief to our state, citizens, and leading industries, which is why in the coming months, I will be working to inform the EPA how Wisconsin’s role in regulating its own land and water is sufficient.
As your Attorney General, I am fighting for America’s Dairyland, and making sure that the Wisconsin agriculture industry can operate in a stable and rational regulatory environment so our farmers can do the important work of feeding America.
Working to Uphold the Congressional Review Act
As we’ve seen time and time again, many federal rules cause unjustifiable harm to the states, including Wisconsin.
Earlier this month, I led a group of state attorneys general, with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, to file a proposed friend-of-the-court brief in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska in the case of Center for Biological Diversity v. Ryan Zinke and Department of the Interior, defending the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act.
The Congressional Review Act allows states to work with Congress to stop unlawful and burdensome regulations. We are urging the Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act and preserve this important procedural tool for states to use.
State attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah joined Wisconsin in filing the amicus brief.
You can read the brief here.
Urging the FCC to Maintain Consumer Protections
I joined a broad, bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general that is jointly opposing a cable and telecommunications industry petition to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). That petition is intended, in part, to stop states from enforcing state false advertising laws related to Internet speeds.
As the chief law enforcement officer of Wisconsin, I understand the vital importance of protecting consumers against unfair and deceptive business practices—including those of broadband providers. Like other industries that provide goods and services to consumers in our state, providers of broadband internet service must be truthful in their advertisements. Broadband access is an essential aspect of our citizens’ work, life, and play.
Our state’s traditional consumer protection powers must be left undisturbed in order to protect consumers from false and misleading claims by broadband providers regarding the provision of services that are an essential part of 21st century life throughout the United States.
You can read more about this, or the comments I submitted, here.
Stopping Fraud against the Government
This week in Dane County Circuit Court, I filed ten felony counts of medical assistance fraud against Hartford therapist Sharon N. Medina.
Public assistance fraud not only steals hard-earned taxpayer dollars, but also takes financial resources intended for our neediest citizens and gives it to criminals. We must prosecute criminals who intentionally defraud the system and undermine taxpayer confidence in medical assistance programs.
Medina, who has a history of financial trouble, including multiple bankruptcies, is alleged to have fabricated dates of service and submitted claims for services not rendered, from 2013 to 2015, when she was a Medicaid service provider.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud and Control Unit participated in the “National Healthcare Fraud Takedown” being coordinated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Hartford Police Department assisted DOJ with this case.
Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent Companies
I recently filed a lawsuit against Cudahy-based Midwest Auto Recycling, LLC and its related businesses, operating under at least ten unique website addresses, including Engine & Transmission World, Engine Shopper, and SW Engines, among others. The complaint alleges that Midwest Auto Recycling, LLC and its related businesses used deceptive marketing and billed consumers for goods that consumers did not agree to purchase.
I am asking the Court to force Midwest Auto Recycling to halt their alleged corrupt business practices, pay fines, and most importantly, provide restitution to the hundreds of consumers from Wisconsin and across the country who have been wronged by this company.
This action originated as a referral from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau, both of which received hundreds of complaints over more than five years from all over the country about the defendants’ alleged misrepresentations about the used auto parts they sell and the warranties they offer.
If you have further information about this company or would like to file a complaint, please contact DATCP at (800) 422-7128 or visit http://datcp.wi.gov.
You can read the criminal complaint here.
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