2020 AG Elections

Republican Jon Bennion Announces Bid for Montana Attorney General

  • Jon Bennion, a Republican, announced his candidacy for Montana AG in 2020.
  • Bennion, who currently serves as the Montana Chief Deputy AG, is the first candidate to announce his intention to seek the Republican nomination for AG.
  • As previously reported, state Representative Kimberly Dudik has already declared her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for AG.
  • Current AG Tim Fox, a Republican who is serving his second term, is term-limited.

Antitrust

FTC Bureau of Competition Announces Creation of Task Force to Monitor Technology Markets

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Bureau of Competition announced the creation of a Technology Task Force to increase the agency’s focus on regulating the technology sector.
  • According to the FTC, the Technology Task Force will monitor competition in the technology market (including markets in which online platforms compete), investigate potential anticompetitive conduct, take enforcement action, and consult with FTC staff on technology-related matters, including reviewing prospective and consummated mergers in the technology sector.

Consumer Protection

Nebraska Attorney General Sues University for Allegedly Misleading Prospective and Current Students

  • Nebraska AG Doug Peterson filed a lawsuit against Bellevue University (“Bellevue”) over allegations that Bellevue made misleading statements regarding the accreditation status of its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (“BSN”) program in violation of the state’s Consumer Protection Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  • According to the complaint, Bellevue allegedly misrepresented to prospective and current students that its program designed to assist current registered nurses obtain their BSN was in the midst of the accreditation process when it had not yet applied for accreditation, and that the programs would be accredited by the time current students graduated, among other things.
  • The complaint seeks injunctive relief, penalties, restitution to current and former students, and costs and attorneys’ fees.

Oregon Attorney General Supports Bills Strengthening Protections for Student Loan Borrowers

  • Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum testified before the state House’s Business and Labor Committee in support of two state companion bills that would strengthen protections for student loan borrowers.
  • The bills, HB 2588 and SB 279, would adopt a state Student Loan Bill of Rights, create a student loan ombudsperson to monitor student loan services, and educate borrowers, among other things.
  • According to AG Rosenblum, the bills would provide student loan borrowers with better information to understand the complex terms and conditions and interest rates of student loans.
  • The Senate bill is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and the House bill is pending in the House Committee on Business and Labor.

Data Privacy

California Attorney General Announces Legislation Amending Consumer Privacy Act and Data Breach Notification Law

  • California AG Xavier Becerra announced the introduction of two bills, one that would amend the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)—a new law that provides additional protections for consumers’ personal data taking effect January 1, 2020—and a bill to expand the types of personal information protected under the Information Practices Act of 1977 (the state’s data breach notification law).
  • The bill amending the CCPA, SB 561, would replace the provision allowing businesses and third parties to obtain individual legal counsel from the AG’s office on CCPA compliance with language allowing the AG’s office to publish general public guidance on CCPA compliance, remove language that allows businesses an opportunity to address CCPA violations before enforcement action is taken, and provide a private right of action for consumers.
  • The bill amending the Information Practices Act, AB 1130, would expand the definition of “personal information” to require businesses to notify consumers of compromised passport numbers and biometric information, such as fingerprints or images of a retina or iris.
  • SB 561 had its first reading and is pending referral to a state Senate committee and AB 1130 had its first reading and is pending referral to a state Assembly committee.

Pharmaceuticals

FTC Settles with Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Over Allegedly Anticompetitive Patent Settlement Agreements

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) reached a settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and its subsidiary Cephalon, Inc. (collectively, “Teva”) to resolve three separate lawsuits alleging that its agreements with other pharmaceutical companies violated the FTC Act.
  • According to the FTC, Teva allegedly entered into “reverse-payment agreements”—in which a brand company pays a generic company to keep a competing drug off the market—with other pharmaceutical companies, thereby impeding consumer access to lower-priced generic drugs.
  • According to the stipulated order, which revises and broadens a prior order and is subject to approval by the court, Teva is enjoined from engaging in certain types of reverse-payment agreements and must undergo compliance monitoring and reporting, among other things.