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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Joins Amicus on States’ Rights to Create Environmental Policy

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the State of Montana in Held v. Montana. The brief, led by the State of North Dakota, supports Montana’s position in an appeal over judicial overreach from a question of environmental policy set by the state legislature.

The case involves a challenge to a Montana law that bans state entities from “considering the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or climate change” in setting policy. The trial court ruled that this provision was unconstitutional, setting itself up as the branch of government tasked with formulating the “correct” environmental policies for the entire state. The decision led to an appeal to the state supreme court.

In their brief, the States argue that “addressing climate change is a political question,” that the “plaintiffs’ alleged injuries are not redressable by the courts,” and that “the trial court’s order threatens to impermissibly regulate interstate commerce.”

The coalition of attorneys general write, “Addressing climate change while balancing the needs of modern society is a matter of profound importance and requires making fundamental policy choices. In our constitutional republic, those fundamental policy choices are made by the people through their elected legislatures, not by the courts. The Court should reverse the trial court’s judgment or, at minimum, clarify that its order does not dictate policy choices that belong to the political branches or require the State to engage in extraterritorial regulation of the power grids or energy market.”

Joining Utah and North Dakota were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Virginia.

Read the brief here.


AG Reyes Supports Bipartisan Trafficking Survivors Relief Act

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of attorneys general in supporting the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, introduced by U.S. Representative Russell Fry of South Carolina. The letter was led by South Carolina.

H.R. 7137, the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, was introduced by a bipartisan coalition including U.S. Representatives Russell Fry, Ted Lieu, Ann Wagner, and Robert Garcia. According to Congressman Fry’s Office, the bill “would provide federal criminal record relief to survivors of human trafficking who committed a non-violent offense as a direct result of having been a victim of trafficking.” The legislation has been referred to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.

In the letter, the attorneys general write, “We want to ensure survivors of human trafficking have all the resources they need to succeed in their communities throughout their recovery. That is why we commend the efforts of Members of Congress who have authored the “Trafficking Survivors Relief Act” and join multiple organizations in endorsing this bill to allow human trafficking victims a pathway to clear their records of non-violent criminal offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked.”

Joining Utah and South Carolina in signing the letter were the States of Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

Read the letter here.


Attorney General Reyes Joins Bipartisan Coalition Urging Congressional Action on Pharmacy Benefit Manager Reform

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to congressional leaders advocating for legislative action to reform Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) practices. The letter, sent by the National Association of Attorneys General, was led by Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

According to the bipartisan coalition of attorneys general, the “original purpose [of] the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) was to protect and negotiate on behalf of employers and consumers after pharmaceutical manufacturers were criticized for overpricing medications.” However, due to “a small number of PBMs [that] hold significant market power,” the PBMs reap “abundant profits at the expense of the patients, employers, and government payors [they] are supposed to help.”

In their letter, the attorneys general explain that “while state law can provide the basis for oversight of and lawsuits against PBMs, States often face arguments by PBMs that federal jurisdiction and preemption limit states’ authority to regulate PBMs.” This quandary led to the States writing to congressional leaders in support of three proposals that would “combat high healthcare costs”: The DRUG Act (S1542/HR6283), Protecting Patients Against PBM Abuses Act (HR2880), and The Lower Costs, More Transparency Act (HR5378).

Passage of these three bills would help “state and federal regulators [to] work together to better meet their shared responsibility to hold PBMs accountable and improve the country’s health care system overall.”

Joining Utah, Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as signatories on the letter were the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming; as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Read the letter here.


AG Reyes Opposes Overreaching EPA Lead Pipe Replacement Rule

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its proposed rule, “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper.” The letter, which was led by the State of Kansas, urges the federal agency to withdraw the rule.

On December 6, 2023, the EPA released the proposed rule. According to the attorneys general, the rule “requires not just States and public water systems, but every homeowner to replace every lead pipe line in the country within the next ten years.”

In their letter, the coalition of attorneys general argue that the proposed rule “implicates the Major Questions Doctrine, invokes the outer limits of the Commerce Clause, [and] is arbitrary, capricious, unworkable, underfunded, and unnecessary.”

The States write, “The EPA also expects this rule will lead to increased water prices for all American families, in some cases by hundreds of dollars per year. Under President Biden, Americans are already burdened by high energy and utility prices, which are increasing at rates that outstrip even the crushing inflation witnessed in other household expenses over the last few years. And at least partly due to the inflation that this administration failed to control, most – over 60% – do not have savings set aside for emergencies, let alone to pay for unnecessary pipe replacements.”

Joining Utah and Kansas as signatories on the letter were the States of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

Read the letter here.


Attorney General Helps Celebrate Hispanic Youth Day Event

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes spoke and presented awards to Hispanic youth during the annual Youth Day Event held at the Utah State Capitol on February 18, 2024.

During their fight for independence, Venezuelan youth sacrificed and served as a part of the victory at the Battle of La Victoria.

It is now the Hispanic community’s tradition to recognize their outstanding youth members who have contributed themselves, their time, and their efforts toward their families, communities, and country.

In AG Reyes’ address, he stated:

First, I ask you to never forget where you come from, where your parents come from, and to be proud of it. Wherever you come from in the world, you are welcome.

Second, and no less important, is that always praise and ensure, during the rest of your lives, the well-being and prosperity of the United States, the great country that has welcomed you and that is, without a doubt, a great and powerful nation, cradle of freedom. Honor and exalt the United States always with your progress and professional advancement through life, always try to have that gratitude and love present and active.

The event concluded with an award ceremony presented by AG Reyes and photo opportunities for all present.


Celebrating Leadership: President’s Day Lessons From the AGO

As we mark President’s Day here in Utah, the Attorney General’s Office reflects on the legacy of leadership woven into our nation’s history. From the founding fathers to the present day, each president has played a unique role in shaping the course of our republic.

Our office honors their service and acknowledges the responsibilities that rest on their shoulders.

1. Commitment to Justice and the Rule of Law: Many presidents have faced adversity in upholding the principles of justice and equality. Their unwavering commitment reminds us of the importance of defending the rule of law, even when it’s challenging.

2. Courageous Decision-Making: From George Washington leading the Revolutionary War to Franklin D. Roosevelt navigating the Great Depression, presidents have often been called upon to make difficult decisions in times of crisis. Their courage teaches us the importance of informed leadership and taking calculated risks for the greater good.

3. Uniting a Nation: From Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, presidents have used their platforms to unify and inspire a divided nation. These historical moments remind us of the power of words and leadership in fostering unity and understanding.

4. Service Above Self: Every president takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” This act of selflessness underscores the importance of public service and dedicating oneself to a cause greater than oneself.

5. Embracing Diversity: As our nation evolves, our presidents align with the ever-evolving tapestry that shapes our nation. It’s a reminder to embrace diversity and value different perspectives.

As we celebrate President’s Day, let us honor the leadership lessons passed down through generations. May we be inspired to actively participate in our democracy, hold our leaders accountable, and strive to leave a positive mark on our own communities, just as our presidents have done throughout history.

Beyond the Blog:

In addition to this blog post, the Utah Attorney General’s Office encourages you to:

Together, let’s build upon the legacy of our presidents and create a brighter future for all.


AGO Challenges Social Media Censorship

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in Murthy v. Missouri. The brief, led by the State of Montana, supports a challenge to the federal government’s recent censoring of privately held opinions on online platforms.

The States of Missouri and Louisiana sued the federal government over allegations that it “engaged in a broad pressure campaign designed to coerce social-media companies into suppressing speakers, viewpoints, and content disfavored by the government.” For purposes of this challenge, much of the federal government’s censorship took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. Both the district court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the States, leading to the appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation’s high court will hear oral arguments in the matter on March 18.

In their brief, the attorneys general argue that “the States have Article III standing,” that “the standing inquiry is relaxed in the First Amendment context,” and that “the States have standing to defend their sovereign and quasi-sovereign interests.”

The coalition of States writes, “Because individual users were often unaware that their speech was being artificially suppressed by Petitioners, lawsuits to vindicate their interests will be rare. The district court found the social media companies, at the behest of the federal government, used ‘spectrum of levers’ to conceal their censorship efforts, including ‘de-boosting’ and preventing content sharing through ‘friction.’ Petitioners veiled their actions in two ways. First, government actors directed social media employees to silence protected expression through private channels. Second, social media companies artificially limited the reach of protected expression in manners that hid the censorship.”

Joining Utah and Montana are the States of Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Arizona Legislature.

Read the brief here.


Asset Management Companies Withdraw From Radical ESG Group After Continual AGO Efforts

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – After persistent efforts by Attorney General Sean D. Reyes to enforce the law and protect the financial interests of all Americans, J.P. Morgan and State Street announced Thursday that they would be withdrawing their assets from Climate Action 100+, while BlackRock is substantially scaling back involvement. The association “is an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.”

AG Reyes states:

This is a monumental day for the rule of law and the American people. It validates our fight against the radical, environmental agenda, perpetuated by Climate Action 100+ and similar entities.

Since the earliest days of ESG, my office has been unrelenting in opposing actions taken by a cabal of powerful public and private institutions wielding a disproportionate amount of power over everyday Americans. I applaud BlackRock, JP Morgan, State Street, and other firms who have withdrawn active participation in CA100+ and similar entities. It seems these companies have finally come to their senses and now realize not only the negative policy implications but also the potential legal ramifications of entanglement with CA100+. 

I appreciate the coalition of attorneys general who have consistently joined us in holding accountable large, powerful organizations and institutions while ensuring they adhere to all applicable laws and protect the interests of those they claim to serve.

Attorney General Reyes’ efforts include the following: 

  • On March 31, 2023, General Reyes co-led a letter to more than 50 of the nation’s largest asset managers, including Blackrock, J.P. Morgan, and State Street, about ESG investments being made with Americans’ hard-earned money. The coalition of attorneys general reminded asset managers of their extensive legal duties under federal and state law to act as fiduciaries.
  • On May 10, 2023, General Reyes appeared before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to provide testimony on the critically important issue of how ESG factors distort the American financial system and harm consumers. In his testimony, Reyes wrote, “Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, there has been an open conspiracy to bypass Congress and instead impose costly changes on American consumers using the power of horizontal agreements by key players in our financial system, including Climate Action 100+.
  • In 2023, General Reyes filed a Motion to Intervene and a Motion for Relief regarding BlackRock, Inc.’s blanket authorization from the U.S. Federal Regulatory Commission. The States argued that BlackRock violated the statutes for reauthorization because it was a signatory to horizontal associations like Climate Action 100+ that coordinate shareholder voting power across their members to influence FPA-covered utilities’ operations, and because it was not acting as “passive, non-controlling investors” as it represented in seeking authorization.

The exodus from Climate Action 100+ follows a number of firms that have withdrawn from the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance and other organizations also committed to the ESG agenda.


Utah Consumer Privacy Act: A New Law to Protect Online Data

At the beginning of 2024, a new law called the Utah Consumer Privacy Act took effect. It’s something all consumers should know about.

The new law includes important protection that gives consumers the right to find out the extent a company may be using your personal information. It also includes responsibilities for businesses to ensure they’re complying with the law.

On Legally Speaking this week, to give an overview of the significance of the UCPA, are Assistant Attorney Generals Lana Taylor and Brett Nedick, and Katie Has, Director of the Consumer Protection Division.

This news release has details and important links about the Utah Consumer Protection Act:

January 1, 2024: Under a new state law, Utah consumers have the right to access and control their personal data. The Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA) took effect on December 31, 2023. Under the new law, the UCPA also requires businesses to protect personal data and provide consumers with information about how they can exercise their rights.

The UCPA gives consumers the right to:

·        find out if a business is processing their personal data;

·        access their personal data;

·        request that a business delete their personal data;

·        obtain a copy of their personal data; and

·        opt out of having their personal data sold or used for advertising.

Consumers may exercise these rights by submitting a request to a business. The business then has 45 days to respond to the consumer’s request.

Some of the new requirements that businesses must comply with include:

·        protecting the confidentiality and integrity of consumers’ personal data;

·        reducing the risk of harm relating to the processing of personal data;

·        providing consumers with clear and accessible privacy notices;

·        informing consumers about how they can opt out of the sale or the processing of their personal data for targeted advertising; and

·        notifying consumers before processing sensitive personal data.

The Utah Division of Consumer Protection’s website provides educational materials about the UCPA and a complaint form for consumers at https://dcp.utah.gov/ucpa/. The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s website provides information about the UCPA and a link to the new law at https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/how-can-consumers-protect-their-personal-data/.

Listen to the Legally Speaking podcast here.


FCC Responds to AG Reyes’ Demand to Crack Down on AI-Generated Robocalls

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes received a letter from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) notifying him that it outlawed voice calls generated by artificial intelligence (AI). AG Reyes has worked to address robocall concerns for years, and recently joined a bipartisan letter addressing this issue.

The FCC’s action comes after officials in New Hampshire processed a huge number of complaints and started investigating AI-generated robocalls imitating President Joe Biden that discouraged people from voting in the primary last month. With this development, the FCC can now fine companies that use AI voices in their calls or block service providers.

Since he took office, AG Reyes has taken the lead on efforts to protect consumers from fraud and annoyance from AI and robocalls, most recently in a bipartisan letter from the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force. The group sent a February 6 letter warning one alleged offender, Life Corporation, to “cease any unlawful AI robocall call traffic immediately”.

Read the FCC’s Letter to AG Reyes here.

Read an AP News report on the FCC’s action here.