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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Joins Bipartisan Coalition to Protect Communities from the Dangers of Illicit Xylazine

May 19, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general in urging Congressional leadership to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act (H.R.1839/S.993), which would provide critical measures to combat the widespread illicit use and trafficking of xylazine and help prevent xylazine-related deaths. Today’s letter follows a surge in overdose deaths nationwide related to xylazine. This potent veterinary medication has been widely mixed with opioids like fentanyl and is easily obtainable online. Over the past few months, multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have issued public alerts about the dangers of xylazine. Most recently, the White House declared fentanyl-adulterated or -associated xylazine (FAAX) an “emerging threat” to the nation.

Our office has received several reports of Xylazine mixed with other illicit substances in Utah.

Xylazine is only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a veterinary medicine for sedating and relieving pain in large animals. In humans, xylazine is known to depress breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and cause unconsciousness, necrosis, and even death. Xylazine is not an opioid; thus, existing medications like naloxone are ineffective in reversing the drug’s effects even if used with opioids.

According to the DEA, there was a dramatic increase in xylazine-related overdose deaths across the United States between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 1,127 percent in the Southern region, 750 percent in the Western region, 516 percent in the Mideast region, and 103 percent in the Northeast region. Additionally, in 2022, approximately 23 percent of fentanyl powder and seven percent of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine. To prevent the proliferation of FAAX in communities and keep people safe, Attorney General Reyes and the coalition emphasized the importance of the measures outlined in the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, which include:  

  • Classifying the illicit use of xylazine as a Schedule III drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act;  
  • Allowing the DEA to track the manufacturing and sales of xylazine to ensure that it is not diverted;  
  • Requiring the U.S. Attorney General, acting through the DEA and in coordination with the FDA Commissioner, to submit a report to Congress detailing the prevalence, risks, and recommendations on how to regulate the illicit use of xylazine; and  
  • Ensuring all salts, isomers, and other forms of xylazine are also covered when restricting the drug’s illicit use. 

Joining Attorney General Reyes in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Read the letter here.

AG Reyes Welcome Statewide Children’s Justice Center Workers

May 16, 2023

Today at the statewide Children’s Justice Center conference, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes thanked the hundreds of dedicated employees for their work with young victims of crime and sexual assault. 

Children’s Justice Centers (CJC) provide a safe child-friendly space for children to receive services during the child abuse and neglect investigative process. This year, the Utah Legislature approved the largest funding increase since CJCs were established in 1994–$3.2 million ongoing and $5.1 million at one time. Legislators agreed that the work that professionals at the center do is crucial to avoiding additional trauma for a child who is the victim of abuse.  

This year, the Legislature also added CJC forensic interviewers and advocates to the list of first responders in the state, allowing them to qualify for mental health services to deal with the stress and pain of their jobs. 

The Utah Attorney General’s Office also works with law enforcement agencies across the state to provide support for families of victims as the often difficult legal process plays out.  

Learn more about CJC at

AG Reyes Asks Insurance Group to Disclose ESG Commitments

May 16, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, along with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and 21 other states, sent a letter to members of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, requesting documents and information relating to legal concerns brought about by commitments to collaborate with other insurers in order to advance an activist climate agenda.  

All these insurers are members of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) and some also are members of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA), each of which is an UN-convened group working to implement the Paris Agreement’s climate change goals through the financial system, including the insurance industry. By joining one or both of these organizations, these insurers have committed to using their global influence to “transition [their] insurance and reinsurance underwriting portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.” 

Membership in these two Alliances comes with numerous requirements or protocols, which is the focus of the attorneys general communication. The attorneys general have serious concerns about whether the requirements square with federal law, as well as the laws of their states. The statutes apply to private actors, including federal and state-equivalent antitrust laws and prohibitions on insurers altering insurance terms for reasons not reasonably related to the risk or expense of providing the insurance. 

General Reyes issued the following statement: “The ESG movement has spread to every corner of the world’s financial and energy sectors, and unsuspecting Americans are paying the price. Insurers have an obligation to protect the interests of their clients, not to advance a radical environmental agenda. Utah is taking a stand against these efforts to stop the increased prices and other harms these horizontal agreements will cause.” 

In presenting their concerns about the potentially unlawful activism from the insurers in the Alliance, the attorneys general write: “These actions have led to serious detrimental effects on the residents of our states. The push to force insurance companies and their clients to rapidly reduce their emissions has led not only to increased insurance costs but also to high gas prices and higher costs for products and services across the board, resulting in record-breaking inflation and financial hardships for the residents of our states.” 

The attorneys general also point to two cases of insurance companies leaving the NZIA: “Other insurance companies appear to be realizing just how problematic membership in these groups can be. According to recent media reports, both Zurich Insurance Group and Munich Re have withdrawn from NZIA despite being two of the eight founding members of the organization. Notably, Munich Re’s official statement announced its determination that any opportunities to collaborate without ‘exposing’ the company to ‘material antitrust risks’ were so limited that it was more advisable to work individually.” 

Read the letter here.

AG’s Office Congratulates Utah’s Winner of the Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest 2023

May 15, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and our ICAC Task Force congratulated Kellen Whitehead of Trailside Elementary School for winning the Utah division of the 2023 National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest. General Reyes presided over the event as master of ceremonies.

Kellen, a fifth grader at Trailside Elementary, created inclusive, vibrant, poignant artwork that brings awareness to missing children throughout America.

Kellen’s poster was sent to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for consideration in the national contest. The winning artwork inspires the National Missing Children’s Day logo design for the following year’s event.

AG Reyes and 23-State Coalition Urge the 5th Circuit to Uphold the Right to Regulate Abortion

May 12, 2023

Today Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and 22 other Attorneys General filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The Attorneys General argue that the Biden Administration and the FDA’s attempt to roll back safety mechanisms for the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone and to make it widely available through the mail violates both federal law and state laws. Current federal criminal law plainly prohibits the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs through the mail. (18 U.S.C. § § 1461, 1462) 

As the Attorneys General wrote, “The FDA was not following a congressional mandate or responding to changed circumstances on mifepristone’s safety in promoting a new mail-order abortion regime. Rather, the agency was acting at the behest of the current Administration and its allies who demanded action after Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”

They continue, “The Administration claims that it has the power to make abortion drugs broadly accessible despite contrary determinations by States and despite laws that States have enacted to protect life, health, and safety in the use of those drugs. That claim is wrong.”

Previously in this case, Justice Samuel Alito noted in his dissent on the Application for Stay before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 21, 2023, “Our granting of a stay of a lower-court decision is an equitable remedy. It should not be given if the moving party has not acted equitably, and that is the situation here. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has engaged in what has become the practice of leveraging district court injunctions ‘as a basis’ for implementing a desired policy while evading both necessary agency procedures and judicial review.”

Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming joined General Reyes on this brief.  

Read the amicus brief here.

AG Reyes Leads New Multistate Effort To Protect Reliability and Affordability of Electric Grid

May 10, 2023

This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and a coalition of states filed a Motion to Intervene and a Motion for Relief regarding BlackRock, Inc.’s blanket authorizations from the U.S. Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC). The states moved to intervene in FERC’s three-year reauthorization of BlackRock’s blanket authorizations to buy, acquire or take over $10 million in voting securities of public, electric, utility, transmitting or holding companies.

The filing follows General Reyes’ Wednesday appearance before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in Washington, D.C., where he testified on the critically important issue of how Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factors are distorting the American financial system and harming consumers.

Over the past decade, BlackRock has been granted blanket authorizations and reauthorizations from FERC. In its applications, BlackRock repeatedly assured FERC that reauthorizations are warranted because BlackRock is merely a passive, non-controlling investor. Currently, the coalition asserts this isn’t true. As a member of several horizontal associations, BlackRock aims to pressure utility companies to phase out traditional energy investments.   

Under the 2022 BlackRock Order, the coalition requests that FERC exercise its ongoing authority to:

  1. Audit BlackRock’s compliance with their application representations and commitments for reauthorization and the Order terms.
  2. Issue supplemental orders and other appropriate relief, including ordering BlackRock to function as passive, non-controlling investors.
  3. Cease all coordination with other asset managers and owners to influence control of utility operations by purchasing or acquiring additional securities.  

Attorney General Reyes issued the following statement: “The reliability of our nation’s electric grid is on the verge of catastrophe because of the push to net zero. BlackRock is skirting federal law by telling FERC it is a passive investor in public utilities while actively pursuing its multiple commitments to net-zero initiatives. We will continue to fight for our constituents against these efforts that will make electricity more expensive and less reliable.”   

According to the States, BlackRock has violated § 824b(a)(2) of the FPA and FERC’s reauthorization for two independent reasons, each sufficient for relief.   

First, BlackRock, as a “holding company,” has not received FERC’s authorization. BlackRock is a signatory to horizontal associations—including Climate Action 100+ and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative—that coordinate shareholder voting power across their members to influence FPA-covered utilities’ operations.   

Second, BlackRock is not acting as “passive, non-controlling investors” as they represented in seeking authorization. FERC’s orders never allowed BlackRock to engage in activities that might influence commercial conduct, determine whether physical utility assets are available or withheld from the marketplace, or participate in operational decisions for utility companies.

Joining Utah in filing the Motion to Intervene and the Motion for Relief are the states of Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. 

Read the FERC Filing here.  

AG Reyes Testifies Before House Oversight Committee on ESG Dangers

May 10, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes appeared before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to provide testimony on the critically important issue of how Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) factors distort the American financial system and harm consumers. 

General Reyes has been one of the nation’s foremost leaders in identifying and fighting against organizations that promulgate ESG priorities over the financial and economic interests of investors and beneficiaries. The Utah Attorney General’s Office has recently called on the Security and Exchange Commission to allow full public input on ESG and climate investing rules, led a motion to protest Vanguard’s application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, spearheaded a multistate coalition to challenge the ESG practices of two proxy advisory companies, and joined almost two dozen attorneys general to warn many of the nation’s largest asset managers about ESG investments being made with Americans’ hard-earned money. 

After testifying before the House Oversight Committee, General Reyes issued the following statement: I am thankful to Chairman James Comer and the members of the committee who realize the vital nature of the ESG issue. For too long, many Americans have found their financial and economic security compromised through the unlawful and unethical actions of certain organizations conforming to radical environmental standards and policies. All public servants, regardless of political party affiliation, should join the fight to stop this ESG movement and protect the interests of our constituents.

In General Reyes’ written testimony to the Committee, he explains why he has taken on an extremely active role in the campaign against ESG: “As the elected Attorney General of Utah, I serve as the chief law enforcement officer of a State that is home to over three million people. My fellow state attorneys general and I are charged with enforcing antitrust and consumer protection laws to protect fair competition in our marketplace. Ultimately, our duty in this regard is to protect consumers, and ESG is a clear and present threat to them. I, therefore, welcome the Committee’s interest.” 

General Reyes also encouraged Congress to remain vigilant and willing to confront the ESG movement on behalf of the American people: “The third is the recent Department of Labor rule that paves the way for ERISA fiduciaries to consider collateral factors in investments and shareholder voting. I applaud the bipartisan action of Congress to repeal this rule under the Congressional Review Act. As you know, it is only because of the President’s exercise of his first veto in his entire administration that this rule presently stands. I am proud to be leading a coalition of 26 states, along with private parties, challenging this rule in court. And I believe that actions by Congress such as attempting to repeal bad rules under the CRA draws much needed attention to these constitutional concerns. I urge you to keep up that work for future rules that are suspect on legal and policy grounds.” 

Read General Reyes’ written testimony here

Watch the House Oversight hearing here

Sweet v. Cardona: Strategic Surrender Undermines the Constitution

May 9, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes co-led an amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Sweet, et al., v Cardona, et al. The case involves a challenge to the Department of Education’s unconstitutional action to unilaterally absolve student loans. 

In the brief, General Reyes and the amici States detail the Secretary of Education’s most recent plan for canceling billions of dollars in student debt, thanks to the federal government’s settlement of a long-pending class-action case involving applications filed by individuals seeking the forgiveness of federally held debt that borrowers claim to have incurred because of misconduct by the schools they attended. The settlement provides that borrowers who accrued debt by attending any of 151 schools will have their debt forgiven automatically. A second group of about 68,000 borrowers may seek review of their federally held debt under a novel procedure that all but guarantees their debt will be forgiven. And a third group of borrowers (approximately 206,000 who attended approximately 4,000 schools) may seek forgiveness through yet another process. 

General Reyes issued the following statement: “Over the past two-plus years, the White House has contorted its way around the Constitution, the rule of law, and the U.S. Congress. This is not how our system of government was created to operate, and the consequences will be severe for our posterity if it is allowed to remain unchecked. I’m grateful for this coalition of attorneys general who realize the importance of pushing back against the latest attempt from the federal government to circumvent our checks and balances and I am confident that the judicial system will see through these misguided efforts.”

The amici States make three arguments in this court filing to the federal appeals court.

  • First, “the Secretary has no legal authority to do what the settlement requires.”
  • Second, “strategic surrenders permit the executive branch to undermine the Constitution’s structural protections.”
  • Finally, “the collusive settlement must be rejected because it fails to satisfy the demands of Rule 23 governing class-action settlements.” 

The States highlight the dangers of the “strategic surrender” that has come to define the federal government’s attempts to rewrite laws and policies without legislative input. The amicus brief stated the following. 

“Strategic surrender poses a serious threat to our constitutional order. Settlements like the one approved in this case permit executive agencies to exercise what amounts to legislative power since, using these settlements, agencies can assign themselves authority to take actions Congress never approved. And by acquiescing in orders vacating federal rules – by collusively dismissing cases and appeals, for example – the executive branch can change federal policy without proceeding through the rigorous notice-and-comment process that Congress has required.”

The States also urged the judiciary to correct the wrong from the Department of Education’s unlawful settlement in this class-action case, granting de-facto student loan amnesty to tens of thousands of borrowers, stating: “And when the executive branch attempts to gain new power through a settlement, courts can either refuse to approve the settlement (which is what the District Court should have done in this case) or else vacate the settlement on appeal (which is what this Court, and the Supreme Court if necessary, should do in this case).” 

Joining Ohio and Utah on this brief are the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. 

Read the amicus brief here.

Attorney General Reyes Stands Against Bureaucratic Regulation

May 2, 2023

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of states in co-signing a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), expressing concern “with the DOE’s new attempt to control what appliances Americans can buy – this time for residential clothes washers.” 

The coalition highlights that this rule follows three other proposed EPCA standards, one for dishwashers, one for ovens/stoves, and one for refrigerators/refrigerator-freezers/freezers. The attorneys general write, “This inexplicable slog through Americans’ homes is unwarranted by the facts and unauthorized by the law.” They urge the Department to pull back and let Americans decide what appliances they will use daily.

The coalition’s comment letter contains four parts. First, “the Department should not use or reference the IWG estimates in its analysis. Second, the Department’s analysis does not comply with Executive Order 13,132. Third, the Department failed to consider the EPCA’s constitutional issues in analyzing the Proposed Standards. Finally, the Department’s analysis ignores important aspects of the problem.”

Joining General Reyes in this letter to the DOE are the attorneys general of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Read the comment letter here

Excellence Award for Utah Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

May 4, 2023

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes is proud to announce that Utah’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) received the Inspector General’s Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. The award reflects a strong partnership with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Inspector General, as well as success in combatting Medicaid fraud, patient abuse, and neglect. General Reyes congratulates everyone in the MFCU division.  

In 2022, Utah MFCU obtained 18 indictments, 23 convictions, and total recoveries of more than $1.5 million, an exceptional case outcome for a Unit staff of 16. Utah MFCU investigates fraud and cases of patient abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. In 2022, fraud cases involved 27 types of providers. Through MFCU’s authority to investigate noninstitutional abuse and neglect cases, five investigations have been conducted involving hospice nurses, personal care attendants, and a home health agency.

“Through dedication, determination, and very hard work, our office has produced impressive results –especially for a staff of 16,” MCFU Director Kaye Lynn Wootton said. “I am extremely proud of every one of my coworkers. We work well independently and as a team. We’re dedicated to protecting both vulnerable victims and taxpayers. We’ve come a long way, and we’re all committed to continuing this excellent work.” 

Utah MFCU collaborates with staff from the State and Federal OIG, Utah DHHS, Adult Protective Services, DEA, U.S. Attorney’s Office (jointly working 11 cases in 2022), Managed Care Entities, and the National Association of Medicaid Program Integrity-Fraud Control Units.