April 19

Our thoughts and prayers this week have been with the residents of Boston and those whose lives have been forever changed by Monday's bombings. On Wednesday, I spoke with my friend and colleague Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to let her know that Kentuckians were praying for the residents of her beloved city and that we stand ready to assist the victims of this horrific crime.

General Coakley and I want Kentuckians to know that the best way to support the victims in Boston is to donate to reputable organizations such as the American Red Cross or The One Fund Boston. For more information and tips for wise giving, please see our press release.

I updated the Kentucky County Clerks Association this week on my efforts to help Kentucky homeowners who have struggled in the wake of the mortgage foreclosure crisis. That includes the lawsuit I filed earlier this year against MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (MERS) for violations of Kentucky law. Kentucky's statute is clear. It requires mortgage assignments to be recorded with County Clerks. MERS directly violated that law by creating this system that provides no public record of sales or transactions and deliberately circumvents paying recording fees to states. Since MERS creation in 1995, we believe its members have avoided paying more than $2 billion in recording fees nationwide.

Our participation in the historic $25 billion national mortgage foreclosure settlement has brought nearly $58 million to Kentucky to aid homeowners and communities. To date, the five participating banks have reported providing assistance to 1,562 Kentuckians. I am proud of our efforts to hold banks accountable and to provide second chances to those who were wrongfully foreclosed upon.

It was a great day for Lexington and for the entire state yesterday as international law firm Bingham McCutchen opened its global services center at the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Research Campus Business Park. The center will employ 250 people who will support 1,000 lawyers around the world. As Kentucky's chief law officer, it was a privilege to personally welcome Bingham to the Commonwealth and I look forward to a successful partnership.

Also this week, I was extremely pleased that the FDA heeded the bipartisan advice of state attorneys general and blocked generic drug manufacturers from producing a crushable form of OxyContin. This drug has fueled addiction and overdoses across Kentucky and the nation. To have allowed generic, crushable OxyContin on the market would have been a serious step backwards in our efforts against opiate painkiller abuse.

I will be talking to students in Pike and Perry counties next week about the dangers of abusing prescription painkillers. Operation UNITE's Dan Smoot and my friend Mike Donta, whose son lost his battle with prescription drug addiction, will join me at Perry County Central High and Mullins School in Pike County. For more information on our efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, please visit ag.ky.gov/rxabuse.

I also hope you'll take a few moments to check out some of the other press releases we issued this week: