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.
Kentucky AG Andy Beshear has filed a motion seeking to intervene in Kentucky State University’s (KSU) lawsuit against the University of Kentucky’s student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, challenging a decision of the Kentucky AG that KSU “violated the [Kentucky] Open Records Act by denying records to a Kentucky Kernel reporter ‘relating to [the] university’s investigation(s) into allegations of sexual misconduct,’” according to a Kentucky AG press release. KSU is “suing the student newspaper since a university cannot sue the Attorney General,” according to the press release. The press release states that in addition to denying the Kentucky Kernel’s request for the documents, KSU denied “a request by Beshear’s office to legally review the withheld documents,” and that “[b]ecause the university refused to provide the records Beshear requested for confidential review, the university failed to show that the records were protected by the exceptions claimed by the university.” The press release further states that the “power of the Attorney General to confidentially review withheld records is critical to enforce Kentucky’s Open Records law, and KSU’s lawsuit is an attack on the state’s transparency laws.”
New Mexico AG Hector Balderas has issued a press release stating that the US Supreme Court’s decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District is a “huge victory for New Mexico students with disabilities.” According to the press release, in that case the US Supreme Court “unanimously agreed with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, and attorneys general from Delaware and Massachusetts, when it issued its ruling . . . requiring public schools to provide higher standards for students with disabilities.” The ruling will require that “educational plans for students with disabilities must be designed so that students can make educational progress, rather than the barely more than minimal advancement that was permitted by previous law.” AG Balderas issued a statement that: “No child should be deprived of their constitutional right to a quality, public education, and our students should be given every tool they need to succeed.”
New York AG Eric Schneiderman announced on March 21 that his office received a “record” total of 1,282 data breach notices in 2016, which “represented a 60 percent increase over the previous year,” according to a New York AG press release. Those breaches “exposed the personal records of 1.6 million New Yorkers in 2016, representing a threefold increase over the prior year,” and the “exposed information consisted overwhelmingly of social security numbers and financial account information,” according to the press release. The AG’s office believes that “hacking and inadvertent disclosure were the two leading causes of [those] data security breaches.” The press release also notes that New York law requires “businesses to report all security breaches of their computerized data systems containing private consumer information to the [Office of the Attorney General] in a timely manner.” The AG’s office cautions that “[n]o organization is exempt from the risk of a data breach” and recommends “simple steps to help protect sensitive personal information,” including to “identify and minimize data collection practices” and to “create an information security plan that includes encryption.”