The NAAG Southern Region Meeting was held April 18-19 in Atlanta and was focused on federalism and the role of state attorneys general in a number of issue areas. Eight attorneys general were in attendance as well as senior staff from 14 states and a small contingent of private sector attendees.
The meeting began with a philosophical discussion about evolving federalism and state sovereignty. However, other sessions had much more practical application for states and companies operating under federal and state regulations. Among the issues discussed were:
- The likelihood that courts would lessen their deference to federal agencies' interpretation of statutes as these agencies have pushed the boundaries of those statutes.
- The importance of states commenting on draft regulations and rules being released by federal agencies and how those early comments might impact potential court challenges to any final rules.
- The direction the Supreme Court is headed with respect to the Federal Arbitration Act and its impact on consumer agreements and what role state attorneys general have with respect to protecting consumers in their states.
- States' ability to sue the federal government to protect the state, individuals and companies within their borders.
Discussion of these issues and others carried over to the meeting breaks where real world examples were shared among attendees about the impacts that court decisions and federal actions have had on businesses and the states in which they operate.