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Press Room

For Immediate Release: January 12, 2009

Preemption Is Attorneys General Top Issue For Federal Government

Other priorities include tobacco, consumer protection, environment, and Mexican drug cartels

Washington, DC---The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is asking the incoming Obama administration and the 111th Congress to resist federal preemption of state laws, particularly in the enforcement of state banking and mortgage foreclosure laws.

“In the current, failing economy, with housing prices plunging, and the number of foreclosures soaring, it is critical that the state Attorneys General continue to be the ’56 cops on the beat’ and be given the necessary regulatory authority to impose appropriate standards on lending institutions,” states a briefing paper released by NAAG describing its priority issues for the federal government. It has been shared with the Obama administration Transition Team and members of Congress.

NAAG would like increased cooperation and coordination among local, state, and federal agencies. One solution is to make the Executive Working Group on Prosecutorial Relations (EWG) a greater priority and give it an enhanced and central role in the sharing of information between law enforcement agencies. EWG consists of representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, National District Attorneys Association and NAAG. In an effort to build and strengthen relationships between state and federal law enforcement agencies, it would also be beneficial to engage more frequently in employee-swapping programs among the various agencies.

The association is calling for federal funding of the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne/JAG) to be restored, after a 67% cut. These grants to states fund multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement, treatment interventions, police training, technology improvements, crime prevention programs, and crime victims’ assistance programs. The funding cut is forcing states to lay off police and prosecutors and shut down multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task forces.

Additional NAAG priorities are addressing issues pertaining to the environment, consumer protection, antitrust, cybercrime, tobacco, Supreme Court, corrections, world trade, and Medicaid fraud, and fighting Mexican drug cartels. Details are available from the NAAG briefing paper.

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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