AG Bird states priorities, Miller wins agreement from Juul in last act

An audit of the victim service office, hiring new prosecutors and challenging federal lawsuits are part of Brenna Bird’s first priorities as Iowa Attorney General.

As part of the audit, Ms. Bird will meet with victims, advocates, prosecutors and law enforcement, while the two prosecutors will serve in the Statewide Prosecutions Section.

According to a press release, Ms. Bird will also join Governor Kim Reynolds in opposing President Biden’s federal student loan debt cancellation plan, and will fight against vaccine mandates across the country and challenges to the tax cut ban in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Her legal team also appeared to represent Governor Reynolds and Iowa in their appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court seeking to dissolve the injunction of the fetal heartbeat bill.

The decisions to fight federal lawsuits and dissolve the fetal heartbeat bill injunction mark a complete shift in approach compared to the outgoing AG Tom Miller, who did not support any of the aforementioned policies.

“The federal government is encroaching on our freedoms, and we will do whatever is necessary to support Iowans and defend our freedoms,” said Ms. Bird in a statement.

Ms. Bird asked for the resignations of 19 staffers in her first step in the office, according to the Des Moines Register. Chief Deputy for the AG office Sam Langholz said the resignations were timed so staffers would receive holiday pay and health insurance through January.

More than 200 people work in the Iowa Attorney Generals’ office.

Ms. Bird will be officially sworn in on Jan. 5.

Miller reaches Juul settlement

As the final announcement before Brenna Bird would become Iowa’s new attorney general in January, outgoing AG Tom Miller reported a $5 million agreement with Juul Labs Inc.

The agreement, where Juul Labs will pay $1.25 million each year to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, will require the company to revamp its targeted advertising to Iowans under the age of 21 so it no longer violate Iowa’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act, according to a press release.

“This agreement strikes a balance in truthful advertising and promotions of Juul devices and pods,” Mr. Miller said in a statement. “E-cigarettes should be promoted to smokers as a less harmful alternative, but not to youth.” 

The funds will go toward helping Iowans quit e-cigarettes, fund education and prevention programs, establish research, facilitate adoption of age-verification technologies and more.

Juul Labs will be required to not directly target Iowa youth with deceptive marketing tactics, not fund youth education campaigns, not sell or license apparel or goods under the Juul name, not sell Juul products in any flavor until they receive FDA authorization, limit online transactions to no more than two devices per month and more.

In December, Mr. Miller announced a $1 million multistate settlement with CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc. that will require CarMax to disclose unrepaired recalls related to the safety of its used vehicles before consumers buy.