Attorney General weighs in on student-athlete likeness ruling

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares backed a federal judge’s ruling that bars the NCAA from enforcing its rules prohibiting name, image and likeness compensation for recruits, calling it a ‘significant victory’

“Today’s decision is a significant victory in our effort to protect Virginia’s student-athletes from the NCAA’s restrictive and unfair rules,” said Attorney General Miyares said in an emailed statement Friday. “The students putting in the countless hours of hard work, sacrifice, and determination should have the freedom and capability to negotiate and benefit from their skills and abilities. Student-athletes generate millions of dollars for the NCAA, its members, and corporations within the college sports industry – it’s only fair that they have more freedom over what they earn. The NCAA has taken advantage of talented young athletes for too long.”

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AG Miyares announces $500 million in opioid settlements

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced settlements totaling $500 million in response to the ongoing opioid crisis.

A $350 million settlement was reached with Publicis Health to resolve investigations into the marketing and communications firm’s role in the opioid crisis.

The terms of the settlement state that Publicis recognizes the harm caused by opioids and will provide communities hit hardest by the epidemic with financial support for treatment, recovery, and infrastructure with the goal of saving lives.

The company was accused of farming data from private recordings between patients and providers and marketing OxyContin to providers on patient’s health records.

The other settlement of $150 million was with Opioid manufacturer Hikma Pharmaceuticals for their role in the crisis.

From 2006-2021, Hikma failed to monitor suspicious orders of opioids from potentially illegal distributors with staff acknowledgement of inadequate systems.

The settlement will be dispersed with $115 million in cash and $35 million in opioid addiction medication.

Virginia is expected to receive a total of nearly $10 million dollars and to date, the Commonwealth has secured over $1 billion to recover from the drug crisis.

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AG Miyares continues campaign against gun violence

Attorney General Jason Miyares continues his efforts in Operation Ceasefire with the start of a digital media campaign.

The campaign will utilize YouTube and social media to attempt to reach young people who may be considering gang or criminal activity.

Miyares released a trailer yesterday following the announcement of the highly anticipated release of Grand Theft Auto VI.

In the teaser, he mentions that violent crime is not a game and encourages young people to say something if they see something.

Operation Ceasefire began in October of 2022 as an effort to address gun and gang violence through prosecution and prevention, as well as promoting intervention strategies and working with local communities to reduce violent gun and gang related crimes.

A link to the teaser is available here.

AG Miyares joins lawsuit against Meta

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares joined 41 other attorney generals throughout the country in a lawsuit against Meta in federal and state courts.

The federal complaint supported by 33 states alleges that Meta knew the harmful impacts on young people who use their platform including Facebook and Instagram.

The complaint alleges Meta concealed information about the psychological and health effects of young people addicted to the platforms and utilized data of users under 13 without parental consent.

The complaint relies on confidential information but also cites publicly available information released by former Meta employees who have stated that the company profited by purposely making the platforms addictive.

Last week multiple school districts in the DC area joined forces in their own lawsuit against the company.

To view AG Miyares full press release, click here. 

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Virginia legislators join fight for JMU’s bowl eligibility

Multiple Virginia legislators have now spoken out against the NCAA’s decision to ban James Madison University’s football team from postseason play this year.

Earlier in the month, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter to NCAA president Charlie Baker requesting the Dukes receive an exemption which would allow JMU to play in a bowl game.

Yesterday, multiple members of the Virginia State Senate spoke out against the decision on X, formerly known as Twitter, and threatened a “very unfriendly future” from the state’s legislature if the technicality is not dealt with appropriately.

JMU is currently ranked #25 in the nation in both the Coaches and AP poll and with their record of 7-0, they have already eclipsed the win total required to be bowl eligible.

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Virginia colleges reevaluate legacy admissions

Following the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, colleges and universities in Virginia are reevaluating their policies on legacy admissions.

Virginia Tech became the second public institution in the country to announce they will no longer consider relationships to alumni as a deciding factor.

The University of Virginia is adjusting their application to allow prospective students the opportunity to write about their personal or historic connection to the school instead of simply checking a box regarding their relation to alumni.

Some institutions, like VCU, never took legacy into consideration.

Attorney General Jason Miyares recently pleaded to all state colleges to do away with legacy admissions, urging them to focus on the individual and their experiences.

Colorado became first state to ban legacy admissions at public universities in May of 2021.

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Tobacco settlement pays Virginia $137.3 million

Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that Virginia received a payment of $137.3 million from major tobacco companies like Phillip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and others as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was originally finalized in 1998 and resolved Virginia’s lawsuit against the companies for violating consumer protection laws and deceptive marketing practices.

The payments help to cover the cost of healthcare for smoking related illnesses.

The Commonwealth has received $3.2 billion in payments to date from the settlement. 

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Attorney General Miyares Launches Civil Rights Investigation

Attorney General Jason Miyares today announced that his Office of Civil Rights will be investigating Fairfax County

Public Schools and the administration of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (“TJHSST”) for

unlawful discrimination in violation of the Virginia Human Rights Act (“VHRA”).

The investigation will examine if the administration’s decision to withhold National Merit Scholarship honors from

students and the school’s new admissions policies violate the VHRA.

“No student should be treated differently because of their race. Students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science

and Technology are amongst the brightest in the nation, yet some have been punished in the name of ‘equity.’ Racism

and race-based government decision making in any form is wrong and unlawful under Virginia’s Human Rights Act,”

said Attorney General Miyares. “The controversial admissions policies at TJHSST, which have significantly decreased

the amount of Asian American students enrolled in recent years, is another example of students being treated

differently because of their ethnicity. My Office of Civil Rights will investigate any potential violations of the law and

vindicate the civil rights of these students and their families.”

Read the letter here.

 

 

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Federal Court Ruling Finding Transgender Sports Law Constitutional

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in June told a crowd gathered at the State Capitol that a lawsuit

brought against a state law defining “sex” in school sports would not succeed. On Thursday, those words came to fruition: a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West

Virginia ruled the state legislature’s definition of “girl” and “woman” in the context of HB 3293 (Save Women’s

Sports Bill) is “constitutionally permissible.” “This is not only about simple biology, but fairness for women’s sports, plain and simple,” Attorney General Morrisey

said. “Opportunities for girls and women on the field are precious and we must safeguard that future. Protecting these

opportunities is important, because when biological males compete in a women’s event women and girls lose their

opportunity to shine. Under HB 3293, all biological males, including those who identify as transgender girls, are ineligible for participation

on girls’ sports teams. The challenge to that law came from a transgender student at Bridgeport Middle School identified in court papers as

“BPJ.” Attorneys for BPJ argued that HB 3293 violates BPJ’s rights under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of

the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Attorney General Morrisey, on behalf of the state, intervened and asserted the law protects female athletes’ safety and

keeps female sports competitive for female athletes, consistent with Title IX and the Constitution. Title IX was signed

into law on June 23, 1972. It prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that

receives funding from the federal government.  “This short and simple law demands that girls and women get their fair share of opportunities in education, and Title

IX’s regulations make it clear that this could be accomplished in school athletic programs by having ‘separate teams

for members of each sex’ where the teams are based on competitive skill,” Attorney General Morrisey said. Read a copy of Thursday’s ruling at: https://bit.ly/3GEyNxp.

 

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Virginia joins other states in JUUL settlement

Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares announced that Virginia has joined 33 other states in securing a $434.9 million settlement with JUUL Labs.

The settlement resolves claims that since 2015 JUUL used social media marketing campaigns to addict a new generation of Americans to nicotine.

Under the terms of the settlement JUUL is required to pay Virginia at least $16. 8 million.

The first payment of $1.58 million will be made once the settlement is approved in court.

The settlement will also prohibit JUUL from engaging in a variety of misleading youth focused marketing tactics.

JUUL will be prohibited from marketing to youth, funding education programs, depicting persons under 35 in any marketing.

JUUL will not be allowed to use cartoons in their advertisements or allow access to websites without verification of age among other restrictions.

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