Attorney General Leslie Rutledge continues her tear in support of the Republican agenda, not surprising given the dark Republican money poured into her election campaign. Now she's attacking better rules for overtime pay for workers instituted by the Obama administration.
In the last week Rutledge has fought women's medical rights, clean air, separation of church and state and higher pay for workers. No wonder she gets a good seat at the Republican National Convention.
Rutledge joined the usual coalition of Republican state attorneys in filing the suit in Texas. The Obama administration this year directed, after a study of the Fair Labor Standards Act that began in 2014, a change in the rule on overtime pay. It raised the salary threshold of workers covered by overtime pay requirements from $455 to $913 a week, or $47,476 a year. Up to that level, employers must pay time-and-a-half; raise base pay, or send employees home after 40 hours rather than working them unlimited hours without more pay.
Rutledge said this will cost employers money or else force a reduction in services. The Obama administration sees it differently, as the video shows. Note that you could hire more employees for less, rather than making a $30,000-a-year employee work 80 hours with no overtime to get the job done.
No sympathy from Rutledge:
“Concern over this new regulation from Washington has been a consistent topic at regulatory roundtables that I have been holding across the State,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Business owners, sheriffs, mayors and county judges are all concerned about how they are going to implement this rule without being forced to fire hardworking employees. Washington is once again trying to force a political agenda on the states by unlawfully ignoring the role of Congress, and I hope that the court will act and prevent this rule from taking effect.”
The rule is scheduled to take effect Dec. 1. The lawsuit seeks a court order to block that.
At a press conference today at the Doubletree Hotel just across from the Pulaski County Courthouse, Pulaski County Fifth Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen and his attorneys announced that he has asked the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to investigate the conduct of the entire Arkansas Supreme Court, and asked the director of the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct to investigate the conduct of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and several others in the AG's office, related to what Griffen and his attorneys claim were forbidden ex parte conversations between the Supreme Court and the AG's office. /more/
In an order not received until after 11:30 p.m., the U.S. Supreme Court denied Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's application to vacate a stay imposed by the Arkansas Supreme Court on the execution of Don Davis. A warrant for Davis' execution had been issued for today. It was to expire at midnight. In preparation for the Court's ruling, the state had moved witnesses into the execution viewing room. /more/
The attorney general's office today asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to set aside Judge Wendell Griffen's temporary order against the use of a paralytic drug in state executions, an order that would have effectively stopped the killings. A federal judge's order later halted all executions for constitutional reasons. /more/
You wonder if Attorney General Leslie Rutledge would be so eager to execute if her grandpa, Leslie Rutledge, who was imprisoned for killing neighbor Joe Beel and mortally wounding his brother Frank, had been sentenced to death in 1952. /more/
Ernest Dumas takes a walk through history past and present with governors' involvement with the death penalty. He also provides a side note of famly history for another player in the process, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. /more/
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin announced today that he'd hired David Ray, who'd been the director of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity's affiliate in Arkansas, as his deputy chief of staff and communications director.
Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
The State Police have issued a minor clarification in what appears to be an effort to soothe an enraged Sen. Jason Rapert, exposed here as overly excited about both a Conway parking lot question from a constituent as well as some inflammatory Internet rhetoric that he's interpreted as a dire threat on his life. State cops took his reports seriously, they say. But in the end, they found nothing actionable.
Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
What's purported to be a final-words essay from condemned prisoner Kenneth Williams was distributed today by Deborah Robinson, a freelance journalist in Arkansas. He reflects on his execution, his victims, reactions of inmates and big servings of fried chicken, which he says are given to all inmates on execution days.
Calls for an investigation followed the execution of Kenneth Williams in Arkansas Thursday night. Body movement, sounds, labored breathing and a moan indicated something was amiss to several witnesses, though supporters of the death penalty called the movements "involuntary" and termed the killing "flawless."
Photos taken Thursday night by Brian Chilson and David Koon, at Cummins Prison in Grady, the State Police barricade away from the prison and in front of the Governor's Mansion, before and after the execution of Ledell Lee.