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Sean D. Reyes
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Attorney General Reyes Urges Congress to Study AI and Its Harmful Effects on Children

As part of a bipartisan 54-state-and-territory coalition, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes today joined a letter urging Congress to study how artificial intelligence (AI) can and is being used to exploit children online and to propose legislation to protect children from those abuses.

AG Reyes states, “As artificial intelligence accelerates our country’s incredible tech advances, we need to protect children from those who would weaponize AI to harm, exploit or abuse our kids in any way. As a former tech VC, I am personally aware of the many benefits of AI. As a law enforcement leader, I also see the tragic use of AI in the hands of vicious predators. I’m proud to join this bipartisan coalition of state AGs as we advocate to defend children’s innocence on this new frontier of human achievement.” 

The dangers of AI as it relates to online child sexual exploitation fall into three main categories: (1) a real child who has not been physically abused but whose likeness has been digitally altered to depict abuse, (2) a real child who has been physically abused and whose likeness has been digitally reproduced in other depictions of abuse, and (3) a child who does not even exist who has been digitally created in a depiction of abuse that feeds the market for online child sexual exploitation.

According to the letter, “AI is also being used to generate child sexual abuse material (CSAM). For example, AI tools can rapidly and easily create ‘deepfakes’ by studying real photographs of abused children to generate new images showing those children in sexual positions. This involves overlaying the face of one person on the body of another. Deepfakes can also be generated by overlaying photographs of otherwise unvictimized children on the internet with photographs of abused children to create new CSAM involving the previously unharmed children.”

Attorney General Reyes and the rest of the coalition ask Congress to form a commission to study how AI can be used to exploit children and to “act to deter and address child exploitation, such as by expanding existing restrictions on CSAM to explicitly cover AI-generated CSAM.”

The letter continues, “We are engaged in a race against time to protect the children of our country from the dangers of AI. Indeed, the proverbial walls of the city have already been breached. Now is the time to act.”

The bipartisan letter is led by South Carolina and co-sponsored by Mississippi, North Carolina, and Oregon. Also joining Utah on the letter are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia. Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

You can read the full letter here.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes Announces Google Agreement

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced that a bipartisan group of 52 states and territories reached an agreement with Google. The agreement arose out of a lawsuit over the company’s anticompetitive conduct involving the Google Play Store. General Reyes issued the following statement: 

This is a tremendous win for consumers, app developers, and the marketplace. The combination of monetary damages on top of injunctive remedies that will change Google’s behavior is what we desired from the very outset of this case. Utah is proud to lead this lawsuit with so many states joining our fight. We couldn’t have accomplished this global settlement without the collective and Herculean efforts of so many dedicated lawyers and staff from AG offices around the country.

In their lawsuit (Utah v. Google), the States focused on the company’s Play Store, alleging that Google harmed consumers by using its monopoly power in the Android app market to inflate prices for paid apps and in-app purchases. The agreement in principle will be finalized over the next 30 days, when the complete details will be made public. 

The lawsuit was led by Attorney General Reyes and the Utah Attorney General’s Office, with assistance from the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, along with the Attorneys General of North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and California, who released the following joint statement: 

No company is too big to play by the rules, including Google. We brought this lawsuit because it is illegal to use monopoly power to drive up prices. We appreciate this bipartisan group of Attorneys General who fought for a fair marketplace that encourages competition, innovation, and lower prices for consumers. We look forward to finalizing this agreement and sharing more details in the next 30 days. 

In August 2021, General Reyes made the following comments after initiating action: 

Google’s monopoly is a menace to the marketplace. Google Play is not fair play. Google must be held accountable for harming small businesses and consumers. It must stop using its monopolistic power and hyper-dominant market position to unlawfully leverage billions of added dollars from smaller companies, competitors, and consumers beyond what should be paid.

Most consumers have no idea that for years Google has imposed unnecessary fees far beyond the market rates for in-app transactions, unlawfully inflating costs for many services, upgrades, and other purchases made through apps downloaded on the Google Play Store. As a result, a typical American consumer may have paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than needed over many years. Utah and the other states in our coalition are fighting back to protect our citizens and innovative app developers—including many small businesses across America—from Google’s unlawful practices.

Read the original press release from the Utah Attorney General’s Office. No additional information will be released until the agreement is finalized. 

AG Reyes Objects to Costly and “Flawed” Pipeline Regulations

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of States, led by Louisiana, in sending a letter to the Deputy Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) over its Proposed Rule, Pipeline Safety: Gas Pipeline Leak Detection and Repair. The Attorneys General request that the Proposed Rule be withdrawn.

The proposed rule is part of the Biden administration’s ongoing scheme to eliminate methane emissions from new and existing gas pipelines and facilities. PHMSA claims to derive authority for the rule from a 2020 law directing the agency to prioritize the “assignment and maintenance of safety” in regulating natural gas pipelines. However, the pending regulation turns congressional intent on its head. As the attorneys general write in their letter, PHMSA’s statutory authority is “premised on Congress’s determination that pipelines are necessary and desirable, and that any regulation of those pipelines must satisfy strict statutory constraints.”

In their letter, the States argue that PHMSA’s understanding of the 2020 law is “flawed” and that “PHMSA failed to apply the statutory requirements for it to regulate.” These requirements include conducting a cost-benefit analysis and considering the cumulative costs of the rule.

Joining Utah and Louisiana on the letter were the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Read the letter here.

A Labor Day Message From the Attorney General’s Office

Today, we celebrate Labor Day, which was established as a national holiday by President Grover Cleveland in 1894. Since this nation’s inception, the incredible American workforce ethic, innovation, and perseverance has been the envy of the world.

This day is an opportunity to remember and honor the men and women who have contributed to the DNA of our country, and to inspire countless boys and girls to continue in our ancestors’ hardworking footsteps.  

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and the Utah Attorney General’s Office team wish all Utahn workers a very happy Labor Day.

Our state is fortunate to employ the finest workers in all of the United States. Each one of our workers – across every industry and profession – has left an unmistakable mark on our state and its history. We will be forever grateful for these individuals, their diligent service, and for the society they have built.  

Young Utahns Learn About Civil Liberties From Constitution Reading

Yesterday, children of all ages attended a Read the Constitution! patriotic event at the Utah State Capitol, which included a reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There, they learned more about our country’s beginnings and founding principles.

At the end of the event, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shared some inspiring insights with everyone present about why our country is great and the ideals it was built upon.

Recently, AG Reyes spoke at Constitution Day before the American Preparatory Academy (APA) students. From the event and taken directly from APA’s blog, they shared the following message about the Attorney General’s sentiments:

His words resonated with profound wisdom, emphasizing the imperative of understanding our constitutional ideals and the power they bestow upon us. Attorney General Reyes recounted an inspiring story of combating human trafficking in Haiti, underscoring the importance of action guided by constitutional principles.

He extolled that the American spirit that invokes change through collective dedication is regarded as a standard of excellence worldwide. He reminded us to be inspired by the ideals within our founding document and by the American spirit of those willing to support it with action.

Attorney General Reyes Joins Coalition to Protect Children From Lewd and Obscene Behavior

This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an 18-state coalition supporting Tennessee’s defense of its Adult Entertainment Act (AEA), protecting minors from lewd and obscene behavior. A district court incorrectly ruled against the law, and the attorneys general support the appeal of that initial ruling.

Contrary to its critics, the law does not ban drag shows. By its own terms, the AEA applies only to certain forms of adult entertainment that are sexual or explicit performances, and the law does not even ban those performances. It simply requires this type of adult entertainment to occur in adult-only zones and prohibits such entertainment on public property.

Critics argue it’s a discriminatory law, but the statute prohibits performances that include “nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct, excess violence or sadomasochistic abuse” that “appeal[s] predominantly to prurient, shameful or morbid interests of minors” in a “patently offensive” way that “lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.” This law imposes the same restrictions on drag performers as any other sexually explicit performances, based on longstanding rules with adult establishments. Simply, a drag entertainer can’t perform sexually explicit performances at a library, or anywhere children may be present. The same restrictions apply to exotic dancers or anyone else.

The amicus brief states, “… [T]he district court disregarded decades of precedent that respects the role of legislatures—and state legislatures in particular—in shaping public policy. The Tennessee legislature did not act with an impermissible purpose, and the Court’s holding to the contrary undermines basic principles of separation of powers. The judgment of the district court should be reversed.”

Attorney General Wilson, who argues for AEA, suggests “the General Assembly merely sought to advance its longstanding interest in ‘safeguarding the physical and psychological well-being’ of minor children.”

Utah Attorney General Reyes joined Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia on the amicus brief led by South Carolina.

Read the amicus brief here.

AG Reyes Asks Supreme Court to Give Veterans Education Benefits

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief, led by the State of Virginia, in Rudisill v McDonough, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to give American military veterans the full education benefits they earned during their service to the nation.

The case involves James Rudisill, who served in the U.S. Army. When Rudisill attempted to redeem his benefits under the GI Bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) told him that, since he had already used up over two years of benefits under a previous version of the GI Bill, he had less than one year of benefits left notwithstanding that Congress had since passed a newer, more generous GI Bill. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with the VA, leading to Rudisill’s appeal to the nation’s high court.

This decision could affect approximately 1.7 million veterans.

In their brief, the attorneys general argue that “the lower court’s interpretation of the G.I. Bills deprives veterans of the expansive education benefits that Congress intended to confer.” They further argue that the lower court’s ruling “cannot be justified as a matter of statutory text, history, or policy” and “undermines the promises Congress made to veterans when they joined the Armed Forces.”

Virginia and Utah were joined by the States of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming as well as the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Read the brief here.

AG Reyes Sounds Alarm on SHEIN Business Practices

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and 15 other state attorneys general sounded the alarm on the China-founded, fast-fashion retailer SHEIN’s business practices – including reports of forced labor – and their potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) launch later this year.

In a letter sent Thursday to SEC Chair Gary Gensler, the attorneys general urged the SEC to require any foreign-owned company to certify via a genuinely independent process that it is compliant with Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which prohibits the import of any product manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor as a condition of being listed on a U.S.-based securities exchange.

The attorneys general pointed out that SHEIN has been credibly accused of exploiting forced labor and violating the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Last year’s testing by Bloomberg News found significant scientific evidence that cotton produced in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region was present in clothing sold by the company.

“American exchanges should have a zero-tolerance policy for foreign companies that seek access to our markets but refuse to follow our laws, especially when the implicated laws are meant to prevent serious human rights abuses,” the attorneys general wrote. “We believe in upholding the rule of law and protecting our economy. Lip service is not enough; in this case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission must ‘trust, but verify’ that every such company is complying before it receives the privilege of being listed on an American securities exchange.”

While SHEIN claims to have a self-financed and managed certification process that demonstrates compliance with U.S. law, self-certification is not enough, especially with the company’s documented history of lying about its labor practices.

The attorneys general also highlighted in the letter SHEIN’s exploitation of trends, which can blur the lines of intellectual property and copyright while avoiding customs duties – contributing to its rapid growth. Moreover, the company collects a vast amount of consumer data, which it uses to fine-tune its offerings and launch new products faster than its competitors.

The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party is investigating SHEIN’s business practices for the UFLPA. According to the Committee, SHEIN shipments to American consumers fall under Section 321 of the Tariff Act of 1930, also known as the “de minimis exception,” which allows importers to avoid customs duties on packages valued under $800 and are less likely to be scrutinized by customs officials than other retailers.

Attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia also signed onto the letter led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

Click here to read the letter.

AG Reyes Invites President Biden to Support Gold Star Families

Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes sent a heartfelt letter urging President Biden to provide greater support and response to the Gold Star families whose lives were forever changed after the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan two years ago.

On August 21, 2021, 13 U.S. service members — including Utah’s own Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover — were killed by two suicide bombings at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Due to the sudden chaos of the evacuation, these brave men and women lost their lives feeling abandoned and confused. Now, two years later, Gold Star families are demanding answers.

During a recent congressional forum held for the Gold Star families, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, remarked, “For almost two years, the Gold Star Families of the fallen in Afghanistan have waited for answers and accountability for the loss of their loved ones — and they have waited long enough. At every turn, they’ve been shut out and ignored by the Biden administration that prefers to turn the page on its disaster. That stops now.”

Darrin Hoover, Taylor’s father, agreed and mentioned several leaders specifically. He stated, “I’m calling out Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, General Milley, General McKenzie, Lieutenant Colonel Whitehead, who could not give the order to the snipers to take out the bomber before he detonated his vest,” he said. “And ultimately the President, do what our son did — be a grown … man. Admit to your mistakes, learn from them, so that this doesn’t happen ever, ever again.”

To help these families receive the answers, justice, and peace that they seek, AG Reyes demands the same. Read his complete letter below:

August 25, 2023

Dear President Biden:

Two years ago, our nation watched in horror as thirteen of our military heroes perished in Afghanistan when an explosive device detonated outside of Kabul International Airport. These men and women represented the best America had to offer, and their deaths left a tremendous hole in our nation’s collective soul.

In war, sacrifice occurs. American military personnel understand the risks when they volunteer to serve, and they realize that they may one day be called to pay the ultimate price in defense of our country’s flag and Constitution. We would not have the freedoms we enjoy today without the men and women throughout American history who have given all so that we might live in peace in our communities.

There are, unfortunately, always opportunities for political posturing after these tragedies. The aftermath of this horrific attack was a time of great uncertainty. Americans were justly outraged after blood was spilled in the name of freedom and correctly called for answers and accountability.

When these tragedies happen, it is incumbent upon the Commander in Chief to provide answers, transparency, and accountability where needed to give closure to the grieving Gold Star families and reassurance to the rest of the country that these lives were not sacrificed in vain. This should not be a partisan issue.

In the two years since this incident, many of the families of the thirteen fallen service members do not feel like they have been heard or respected. These family members will always have deep wounds, but their losses are exacerbated by, what they rightly perceive, as a complete lack of accountability and justice. The families of those service members severely injured, are also left to wonder if their sons or daughters will be exposed to a premature death due to the government’s refusal to learn and fix the lessons from Afghanistan.

President Biden, we will likely never know the weight and responsibility on your shoulders when you make life-and-death decisions with our military personnel. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, the members of your team, and those the White House sends into harm’s way. However, we ask that you meet with the Gold Star family members of the American heroes who passed away in Kabul. Please give these families an opportunity to talk to you and to hear that there will be accountability and complete transparency in the investigations surrounding the loss of their loved ones.

Thank you for your time and for your consideration of our request. We hope that your administration will come alongside these Gold Star families to give them the answers and closure they require for their healing process.


Sean D. Reyes
Utah Attorney General

Read the official letter here.

AGO Supports Moody Bible Institute’s Management Decision

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a 17-state amicus brief, led by Indiana, in support of Moody Bible Institute in its case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Moody seeks to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former employee under First Amendment case law that prohibits courts from inquiring into the reasons for churches and other religious organizations’ decisions to hire or retain employees who carry out religious functions.  

Janay Garrick joined the Moody Bible Institute in December 2014 on an annual contract. As part of renewing the contract each year, Moody had to sign the school’s doctrinal statement. Later in her tenure with Moody, Garrick publicly opposed Moody’s religious position on female pastors – which was included in the doctrinal statement she had repeatedly signed. According to Moody, Garrick confirmed she disagreed with Moody’s belief that only men should serve as pastors, and as such, her contract was not renewed. A district court decided that this suit could proceed to determine whether sex-based discrimination occurred in this case, leading to Moody’s appeal to the Seventh Circuit. 

As the attorneys general write in their filing, “The First Amendment provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Together, the Religion Clauses ‘protect the right of churches and other religious institutions to decide matters of faith and doctrine without government intrusion.’ They also protect the ‘autonomy’ of religious institutions ‘with respect to internal management decisions that are essential to the institution’s central mission.’… The Clauses guarantee ‘religious organizations, an independence from secular control or manipulation, in short, power to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.’” 

Joining Indiana and Utah on this brief were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Read the brief here.