LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced allocating $1 million for the State to acquire lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used by doctors, nurses and medical providers in the State to combat COVID-19. The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.
“This shortage of personal protective equipment is putting our front-line healthcare providers at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If our healthcare providers are unable to care for patients, then exponentially more Arkansans could suffer.”
On March 20, 2020, Rutledge allocated $3 million, from the same funds, to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rutledge also has been proactively pursuing violations of price gouging laws since the Governor’s March 11 emergency declaration. Letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart regarding their proactive measures to prevent price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.
Rutledge has received over 500 consumer complaints as a result of Arkansas’s price gouging law which prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.