SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief, led by the States of Iowa and West Virginia, in USA v Trump. The brief, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, supports the former president’s constitutional right to protected political speech.
Earlier this fall, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order that restricted former President Trump’s verbal and written statements regarding “individuals involved in the judicial process” in one of the unprecedented prosecutions of a former President of the United States. This order was stayed until the appeals court hears arguments on the matter later this month.
The coalition of attorneys general argues that the district court’s order is too broad and vague, and that it interferes with the ongoing presidential election. It urges the appeals court to reverse the district court decision.
In the brief, the States write that “the Fifth Circuit recognized that restricting officials’ speech obstructs their ‘crucial interest in listening to their citizens.’ When the ‘federal government coerces or substantially encourages third parties to censor certain viewpoints, it hampers the states’ right to hear their constituents and, in turn, reduces their ability to respond to the concerns of their constituents.’ So if President Trump wants to weigh in on a subject covered by the prior restraint and is restrained from doing so, his constituents will be denied by the federal government an opportunity to have him listen.”
Joining Utah, Iowa, and West Virginia were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.
This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes spoke at a Lincoln Elementary youth event in South Salt Lake City. It was aimed at supporting the Utah Attorney General Youth Committee’s presentations and teachings on police-leading activities.
Through the Lincoln Elementary G.R.O.W. mission, children learn to trust police officers and how they can help their communities.
In this event, ICAC officers taught kids a variety of topics, including internet safety, outreach to their local communities, and becoming supportive role models.
Children heard from an education specialist, spoke with ICAC officers about positive social behaviors, and played indoor games with Attorney General Reyes. An enjoyable photo opportunity concluded the event.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief, led by the States of Montana and Idaho, in a Second Amendment case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The matter in front of the court involves a challenge to a law passed by the Hawaii State Legislature in June 2023 that “prohibits the carry or possession of firearms” in designated places, including “bars and restaurants serving alcohol, banks and financial institutions, and adjacent parking areas.” A U.S. District Judge in Hawaii enjoined portions of the law, leading to the appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
In their brief, the coalition of attorneys general argues that “Hawaii fails to show that its sensitive-places restrictions align with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulations,” focusing on the lack of these similar prohibitions in public parks and beaches, banks and financial institutions, and bars and restaurants serving alcohol during the late nineteenth century.
The States conclude by writing, “As Bruen explained, ‘when it comes to interpreting the Constitution, not all history is created equal.’ Rather, ‘[c]onstitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them.’ So evidence closer in time to the Second Amendment’s adoption is most relevant for understanding the Amendment’s scope. Of course, evidence of historical regulations through the end of the nineteenth century could be relevant, but only to the extent that it confirms what prior evidence ‘already…established.’”
Joining Utah, Montana, and Idaho were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 23 state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen today in support of a California mother who was wrongly shut out of her child’s gender identity decision by a school district, violating her longstanding and fundamental right to direct the care of the child.
Earlier this year, Aurora Regino filed a lawsuit against officials at the Chico Unified School District in California, which violated her constitutional rights when district officials allowed her daughter to socially transition to a boy without informing Regino of her daughter’s decision, following the district’s flawed policy not to inform parents of such decisions unless given express permission by the student. The school’s counselor even advised the child against telling her mother and confiding in another family member instead.
To make matters worse, the daughter’s feelings about being a boy diminished throughout the semester, amplifying her gender-related stress and anxiety since by that time her school community viewed her as a boy. The attorneys general are asking the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse a district court decision which wrongly ruled in favor of the school district.
The school district violated Regino’s longstanding and fundamental right to direct her child’s care and custody. A century ago, the United States Supreme Court grounded a long-standing common law right in the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, securing parents the right to direct the care and custody of their minor children. Since then, the Court has reaffirmed that parental right repeatedly.
The law correctly assumes that children do not have the same capacity for making difficult decisions that adults do, which is why there are many restrictions on children’s rights including the right to vote, enlist in the military without parental consent, or to drink alcohol. Additionally, that same principle is traditionally applied in schools since parental consent is routinely required before a student can receive medication or participate in some school activities.
“School districts can’t shut a parent out of their child’s decision about their gender identity because the school believes the parent isn’t supportive enough of an immediate gender transition,” the attorneys general wrote in the brief. “The District’s policy infringes on Regino’s substantive due process rights by withholding critical information about whether her children have taken any action concerning their gender identity, leaving Regino (and other parents) completely in the dark about her children’s mental and emotional well-being.”
The school district also violated Regino’s fundamental rights by making decisions about her daughter’s gender identity behind her back. The school district’s policy “requires all District personnel to refer to a student by a new name and pronouns at school if the student informs them of their new identity and preferred name and pronouns.” However, the school district may not inform parents of their child’s decision “unless the student specifically authorizes the disclosure, except where disclosure to parents is ‘otherwise required by law’ or there is ‘compelling evidence that disclosure is necessary to preserve the student’s physical or mental well-being’” giving ultimate decision-making authority to the child and depriving parents of their “longstanding, primary role in ensuring their child’s safety and well-being.”
Schools across the country have adopted these dangerous policies, which violate parents’ rights and prevent them from helping their children make crucial decisions about their mental health and identities.
“The explosion of these policies appears to stem from ideologically driven advocacy groups claiming that federal law requires this result. One such group, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), promotes a so-called “model” policy—similar to the District’s—which falsely claims that disclosing a student’s ‘gender identity and transgender status’ without the student’s consent may violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA),” the attorneys general wrote. “These federal statutes—no matter how laudable their aims—cannot displace parents’ longstanding right to care for their children.”
Montana Attorney General Knudsen led the effort. Attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia also joined the amicus brief.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, urging the Biden Administration to “vigorously renew vetting of foreign student visa holders and promptly remove anyone who has endorsed or espoused terrorist activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations.” The letter, which was led by the State of Arkansas, was signed by eighteen additional states.
The letter to Secretaries Blinken and Mayorkas describes the concerning pattern of demonstrations in many cities across the United States supporting Hamas and opposing Israel’s efforts to defend itself against acts of terror. In their letter, the coalition of attorneys general highlight the “surge of Antisemitic threats on university campuses” and explain that “supporting terrorism is grounds for removal and violates federal law.”
In the letter, the States quoted a message by President George Washington to the Hebrew congregation at Newport, Rhode Island, in which President Washington stated that “[t]he Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance[,] requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support,” with the goal that “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” The attorneys general reaffirmed that this “principle still applies today,” adding that “those who live under the protection of the United States government, including holders of student visas, must respect the basic rights of all to be free from the threat of terrorism.”
Joining Utah and Arkansas as signatories to this letter were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a comment letter, led by the State of West Virginia, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the agency’s proposed rule, “Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks for Model Years 2027-2032 and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans for Model Years 2030-2035.” The States urge the agency to make substantial revisions to this fuel efficiency regulation to ensure that it conforms to the law.
According to NHTSA, the fuel standards, which were published on August 17, would “increase at a rate of 2 percent per year for passenger cars, 4 percent per year for light trucks, and 10 percent per year for heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans for MYs 2030-2035.” The American Energy Alliance wrote that “unlike previous rulemakings, the costs of Biden’s efficiency rule are now so high that regulators can no longer pretend that mandating greater fuel economy for passenger cars is a good thing for society. Increasing the costs of transporting Americans, as well as their goods and services, simply hurts them.”
The coalition of attorneys general argues that this proposed rule from NHTSA violates federal law because it “wrongly considers EV’s (electric vehicles) fuel economy” and considers hybrid vehicles in ways not permitted by statute. The States further argue that the proposed rule unlawfully preempts State efforts in this area and is arbitrary and capricious.
In addition, the States assert that the nation does not have the capability to support the era of electric vehicles that the Administration seeks to mandate. They write that “many States foresee painful energy shortages on the horizon because of increasing EV market penetration. Utilities and federal and state governments haven’t invested enough into infrastructure to avoid problems from the current pace of electrification. And not only is grid load a challenge, but distribution is, too. Because many Americans share similar rhythms in their daily life, huge numbers of EV drivers plug in their vehicles at the same time – right when they get home from work – and therefore create peak demand at the same.”
Joining Utah and West Virginia on this letter were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.
We celebrate Thanksgiving by giving thanks and remembering the blessings we have received over the past year.
At the Utah Attorney General’s Office, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of this remarkable state and to uphold the rule of law. Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and all Office staff do not take this privilege and responsibility for granted. We are thankful for every day we have to do our jobs and make this state a better place than it was.
Utahns have so much to be thankful for! We live in the greatest state in our Union and have access to some of the finest lands in the country. Our leaders prioritize freedom, law, and a better life for all. When it comes to living, working, recreating, and raising a family, Utahns couldn’t ask for more.
From all of us at the Utah Attorney General’s Office, we thank you, the people of this state, for the opportunity to serve you. We wish you a happy Thanksgiving and hope it is filled with delicious food, meaningful family time, and abundant gratitude.
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Attorney General’s Office has arrested and plans to file formal charges against multiple individuals in connection with a human trafficking case at a West Bountiful-based landscaping and snow removal company registered with the State as Rubicon Contractors, LLC.
So far, three company executives have been arrested, including Clayton Phillips, Tyler Brinkman and Adam Perea. All are charged with seven counts of Aggravated Labor Trafficking. Additional Rubicon employees are expected to be charged as well.
Investigators from the Utah Attorney General’s Secure Strikeforce discovered about 150 people from Mexico were recruited to work at Rubicon, using H2B Visas. Once in Utah, workers endured extremely poor working and living conditions, and unreasonable charges for housing and equipment. Pay for the workers was negligible, forcing them to rely on food banks and charity to survive. Winter months increase health and safety risks.
Investigators found workers were required to be on the job even if they were sick and were threatened with deportation if they did not comply. Workers report they were not allowed to use restrooms during long shifts and were forced to pay for tools, repairs and damage to Rubicon equipment.
“The treatment of these workers is appalling. I know our AG Victim Advocates have been on the scene supporting them,” said Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “We intend to prove the victims are innocent people who came to America using a legal immigration process to work hard, earn a living and contribute to society. But, instead, we believe they were exploited in subhuman living and working conditions as indentured servants in a labor trafficking scheme.”
AG Reyes continued: “This is another example of how broadly this type of crime plagues Utah and America and why I have made it a priority to combat human trafficking for the past 10 years. My office and I will continue to prioritize awareness and enforcement of these crimes and human rights abuses.”
SALT LAKE CITY – Utahns are noticing the price of their Thanksgiving Turkey this week. Today, our office is announcing that Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes has joined a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) and several other states’ Attorneys General against Agri Stats, Inc. (Agri Stats), a company that organizes and manages anticompetitive information exchanges for meat processors across the United States. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the amended complaint alleges that Agri Stats generates weekly and monthly reports with thousands of competitively sensitive data points for subscribing broiler chicken, pork, and turkey meat processors. Agri Stats’ reports, according to the amended complaint, are used by meat processors to coordinate efforts to increase prices and reduce output, violating federal antitrust law.
“Meat processors should compete in a free market, not collude behind locked doors. For years, Utahns have paid too much for chicken, pork and turkey because Agri Stats throws gasoline on the fire of anticompetitive business practices,” said Attorney General Reyes. “This activity is illegal, harmful to our agriculture markets, and ultimately hurts Utah ranchers and families. It needs to stop.”
The U.S. DOJ filed its original complaint against Agri Stats on September 28, 2023. With this amended complaint, Utah is joining the U.S. DOJ’s effort to end Agri Stats’ anticompetitive conduct. Together, the attorneys general and U.S. DOJ allege that Agri Stats violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Participating meat processors have accounted for more than 90% of broiler chicken sales, 80% of pork sales and 90% of turkey sales in the United States.
In the amended complaint, the Attorneys General underscore that:
Agri Stats’ information-sharing scheme hurts competition. Specifically, as part of Agri Stats’ “give to get” policy, subscribing meat processors share information about all aspects of their businesses with Agri Stats, including current costs, output, and prices. In exchange, Agri Stats audits and converts that information to common metrics that it distributes to subscribing meat processors in the form of weekly and monthly reports. Those reports enable meat processors to increase prices on items priced below their competitors with greater confidence that they will not lose sales to lower priced rivals. Meat processors pay Agri Stats millions of dollars for the reports.
Agri Stats also goes a step further and tells subscribing meat processors how to use the weekly and monthly reports to weaken competition. Indeed, executives at some of the country’s largest meat processors testified that they could not recall any examples in which their companies used Agri Stats information to lower their sales prices to gain market share.
Agri Stats refuses to sell the weekly and monthly reports to meat purchasers, farmers, workers, or consumers, thereby strengthening the advantage that subscribing meat processors gain by sharing information only with one another.
A copy of the second amended complaint is availablehere.
ST. GEORGE – The Utah Attorney General and the Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection (Division) filed a lawsuit today against insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo, Nordisk, and Sanofi as well as pharmacy benefits managers (PBM) CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx for their involvement in an insulin pricing scheme that has harmed hundreds of thousands of Utah diabetics and their families.
“Access to affordable insulin is, literally, a life-or-death issue. But, insulin makers and PBMs value billions in profits over the lives and well-being of Utahns. The markups and margins on insulin are unconscionable,” explained Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “Unrestrained greed cannot be allowed to direct our healthcare outcomes. This is one of the most egregious cases of avarice and inhumanity I have ever seen. It not only violates the law, but is morally repugnant too.”
Though the cost of producing diabetes drugs has decreased over time, the lawsuit alleges manufacturers and PBMs worked together to inflate the reported price of these medications up to 1,000 percent over the last decade. PBMs used their significant leverage in the pharmaceutical pricing chain to raise profits instead of lowering prices for consumers. Manufacturer defendants allegedly raised the reported prices of diabetes medication only to deceptively refund a significant portion back to PBMs through rebates, discounts, credits, and administration fees.
This alleged scheme created an environment where patients were forced to pay artificially high prices for life-saving medications while PBMs and manufacturers reaped record profits. Patients with diabetes have collectively been overcharged millions of dollars a year for medication that is expensive only because the defendants know they can extract money from patients who would die without it.
“This pricing scheme is not only appalling, it’s also unlawful,” said Margaret Woolley Busse, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce. “We’ll do everything in our power to hold these companies accountable for their unconscionable actions and for the damage they have caused to Utahns who rely on insulin for survival.”
Presently, 200,000 Utahns, approximately eight percent of the adult population, suffer from diabetes, and an additional 700,000 have pre-diabetes. The complaint alleges the total estimated cost after diabetes diagnosis to be $1.7 billion per year just in Utah; one in every four dollars in healthcare is spent caring for diabetes patients.
This excessive price of insulin and the prevalence of the disease have historically led to dangerous patient practices. In Utah, some patients have reported rationing or underdosing insulin, injecting expired insulin, and even reusing needles. If you’ve been affected by insulin costs, the Division of Consumer Protection is inviting you to share your experience at dcp.utah.gov/insulin . Your input will be shared with the Division and might be used in this legal action.