Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Nov 08 2017

The Ferguson File - October 2017

Dear Friends,

This month, my office won a grant to help sexual assault victims receive justice, released the second annual Data Breach Report, helped improve living conditions for 100 families in Mattawa and filed lawsuits against the Trump Administration for unlawfully jeopardizing access to affordable health care and access to contraception.

We are now 5-0 in our lawsuits against the federal government since Jan. 1. Taxpayers have incurred minimal expense for this work on behalf of the people and the State of Washington.  

In this issue:

Thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office.

Sincerely,

 

 

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


 

Defending women’s rights to affordable family planning

In early October, the Trump Administration issued new rules that would allow any company to deny contraception coverage to its female employees based on religious grounds, and in some cases, moral grounds. The new contraception rules could impact more than 1.5 million Washington workers and their dependents.

The Administration’s efforts to deny women access to contraception make an illegal, gender-based distinction. They also harm Washington taxpayers. A study by the Center for American Progress found that contraception costs can generally exceed $1,000 a year without insurance coverage. Women who no longer receive coverage through their employer may be forced to turn to state-funded programs, which helped more than 90,000 patients in 2016 alone.

 I filed a lawsuit because President Trump’s new rules disregard our laws and our Constitution.

 

SeattlePI 
Connelly: AG challenges Trump on contraception coverage

KING-5 
Washington AG sues to block Trump's new birth control access rules

The Seattle Times 
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sues to block Trump’s rules over contraception access


Protecting Washingtonians’ access to affordable health care

Just weeks before enrollment for 2018 health care plans opened, President Trump again attacked Washingtonians’ access to affordable health care. At the expense of thousands of hard-working Washingtonians, the Administration decided to end the cost-sharing subsidies (CSRs) to health insurance companies, a key piece that makes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) work. The subsidies are designed to reduce the out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income Americans.

There are 204,000 Washington enrollees in the ACA, 70,000 of whom receive CSRs. Since the ACA requires insurance companies to offer cost reductions to eligible enrollees whether or not companies receive CSRs, costs will increase for all enrollees. President Trump’s decision is yet another ploy to sabotage the ACA – at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians. The President cannot simply ignore laws he doesn’t like – I won’t let the Administration get away with this illegal action. I, along with several others states, filed a lawsuit to keep these subsidies in place to continue providing Washingtonians with affordable health care.   

 

The Daily Herald  
State attorney general joins health subsidy lawsuit   

KIRO-7 
Wash. AG Ferguson files lawsuit over Trump's health care order

The Stranger 
Friday Lawsuit Dump: AG Ferguson Joins Trump Lawsuit Over Dismantling of Obamacare


Holding the President accountable to the rule of law – at negligible expense to taxpayers

It’s unfortunate we have had to file 17 legal challenges to the Trump Administration on behalf of the people and State of Washington to protect our vulnerable residents, our environment, our students, our Dreamers and our health.

In response to a request from anonymous Senate Republicans, I sent a letter to the Senate Majority Leader detailing every case we filed against the federal government. I explain in the letter that we brought all of these cases at negligible cost to taxpayers.

Every court to rule on one of our cases against the Trump Administration agreed with us that the Administration’s actions were illegal. We are currently 5-0 in our cases against the Trump Administration that have resolved. If the Administration continues to violate the law or constitution, you can expect to see my office continue to challenge the federal government. 

The Spokesman-Review
Ferguson: Lawsuits against administration keep Trump ‘accountable’ 

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin 
Wash. senators seek information about Ferguson lawsuits against federal government

The Seattle Times 
Washington senators want info about lawsuits AG Bob Ferguson has filed against Trump administration


Providing relief to vulnerable families living in unsafe conditions

I am glad to say that residents of Mattawa’s Sun & Sand Mobile Home Park will see real improvements to their living conditions. For years, the owner of Sun & Sand skirted city health and safety inspections for rental units by forcing his tenants to sign sham “purchase” agreements.

The conditions the owner kept the tenants living in were truly atrocious. The owner let many homes accumulate a long list of unsafe and deteriorated conditions: warped and unsecure doors that blew open with the wind, holes in the floor, rotted stairs and window frames, bedbugs and roaches, to name a few. As a result of my lawsuit, the owner will pay $100,000 in restitution to about 100 families and make needed repairs to all 53 homes at Sun & Sand at an estimated cost of $400,000. My office will monitor the improvements.

I am glad that these families will finally receive some relief.

NBC Right Now
Mattawa landlord settles with state for $500,000

KUOW 
Owner Of 'Disgraceful' Mobile Home Park To Pay Up, Make Repairs


Securing funds to test, investigate sexual assault kits

Sexual assault is a devastating crime that affects thousands of Washingtonians. These sexual assault survivors deserve justice, and I intend to help them get it. To that end, my office won a grant to begin prioritizing and testing more than 2,000 kits.

The $3 million grant will be split into two portions. Half of the grant will create an investigative team within my office that will help local law enforcement find ways to prioritize and submit sexual assault kits for testing. The second half will fund the testing of backlogged kits in labs across the state. I look forward to helping victims across the state get the justice they deserve.  

 

KAPP-TV, KVEW-TV
WA attorney general awarded $3M to test sexual assault evidence kits


 

Notifying residents when and how data breaches happen

Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming more and more common. This was confirmed by our data breach report, which details when and where breaches took place in Washington and discusses how we can reduce their impact in the future. Our office found that breaches compromised almost 3 million Washingtonians’ personal information over the period of a year – which does not include the recent Equifax breach. 

The more you know when and where data breaches take place, the more you can protect yourself in the event that your information is compromised. My office will continue to be a watchdog for consumers, notifying you when and where breaches happen.

KOMO News
AG Report: Dramatic Increase in Data Breaches in Washington   

Northwest Public Radio 
Number Of Consumers Affected By Data Breaches Up Six Times From Last Year


Working Across Washington

When I said that I would visit all 187 Rotary clubs in Washington as Attorney General, even my staff gave me funny looks. I know that every Rotary I visit teaches me more about the communities I serve. On Oct. 9, I reached my 100th Rotary with a visit to Richland Riverside Rotary. I’m now more than halfway toward meeting with every Rotary in the state. I look forward to speaking with more Rotary clubs filled with the community service-oriented individuals who help make our state so great.

The Reflector
AG Ferguson to visit Battle Ground Rotary   


 

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