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Celebrating Susan B. Anthony

February 15, 2019

Today we celebrate Susan B. Anthony and her legacy of social reform and her role within the women’s suffrage movement. Even today, Anthony’s well-known voice rings out on behalf of women’s rights and social equality across the nation.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to partner with organizations like Better Days 2020, who are raising awareness about the value of female leaders in civil and corporate communities, and to work alongside the many women in this office dedicated to public service who follow in the footsteps of Susan B. Anthony and all those who dedicated their lives to this end.

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.” – Susan B. Anthony


Utah AG Joins Coalition Supporting FTC Identity Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2019

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS 31 ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN SIGNING MULTI-STATE LETTER SUPPORTING FTC IDENTITY RULES 

SALT LAKE CITY – On Friday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of 31 attorneys general and sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the FTC to continue its Identity Theft Rules, which were originally adopted in November 2007. The letter cites the proliferation of identity theft in many states, and the growth in technology since the rules were adopted.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States of America and one of the most disruptive and damaging to victims’ lives,” said Attorney General Reyes. “The Utah Attorney General’s Office-led SECURE Strike Force focuses tremendous resources on protecting the identities of Utah. We ask the FTC to do the same.”

The current rules require certain financial institutions and businesses that grant credit or issue debit or credit cards to take steps to detect, prevent and mitigate identify theft by implementing reasonable safeguards. The letter also suggests adding a requirement that a cardholder must be notified by email or cell phone if an email address or cell phone number is changed. This is in addition to the existing requirement to mail notification upon change of account address. The attorneys general also ask that suspicious account activity include account access by new and previously unknown devices and repeated unsuccessful access attempts.

David Sonnenreich from the Tax & Financial Services Division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office said, “Identity theft is a serious and rapidly growing problem that harms our citizens both financially and emotionally, and that increases costs for our businesses. Since 2007 the FTC’s ‘Red Flag’ and ‘Card Issuer’ rules have provided critical early warnings of identity theft to businesses and consumers and have helped to stop countless fraudsters in their tracks when they try to use stolen personal information. However, as cyberthieves become more sophisticated, we need to adopt better responses.”

Attorney General Reyes joined the Attorneys General of Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin in signing this letter.

###

NOTES:


A copy of the letter can be found here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/AG_Comment_Letter_to_FTC.pdf


Utah Signs Inter-Governmental Agreement to Support Navajo Families

February 5, 2019

Yesterday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes met with the leadership of the Navajo Nation, reported on the proceedings of the ICWA lawsuit, and signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (between DCFS & Navajo Nation) with Governor Gary R. Herbert.

The Agreement is the result of a two-year process working with the Navajo Nation on the principles of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). It states the intent to support the fundamentals of ICWA, to adhere to the tribal processes concerning families and children, and to ensure that when a Navajo child is unable to return home, they will be placed with a Navajo family.

Both the Agreement signed by Governor Herbert and Attorney General Reyes, and the actions of Attorney General Reyes in defending ICWA, exemplify Utah’s faith in our first nations and desire to preserve ancient languages and traditions.

Check out the coverage below:

Deseret News: Navajo Nation Lauds Utah for Pledge to Keep Native Families Intact

Utah Governor’s Office: Inter-Governmental Agreement Signed by Utah and the Navajo Nation

KSL: Navajo Nation Lauds Utah for Pledge to Keep Native Families Intact


Photos from the signing & meetings:


Utah Escalates Legal Action Against Purdue Pharma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2019


UTAH ESCALATES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST PURDUE PHARMA BY NAMING EXECUTIVES AND EXPEDITING STATE’S CLAIMS 
State seeks administrative relief for misleading marketing practices by OxyContin producer


SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Utah Attorney General’s Office filed an administrative action against Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company, Richard Sackler, M.D., and Kathe Sackler, M.D., as part of the State’s efforts to hold accountable the opioid companies and individuals that created and fueled the opioid epidemic throughout Utah.

In the filing, under Utah Code § 13-2-6, the Division of Consumer Protection of the Department of Commerce issued an administrative action, in the form of a citation, against the defendants alleging violations of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act. An administrative proceeding allows the State to seek to prove its claims and obtain a judgment, injunctive relief, and civil penalties more promptly than state district court proceedings.

Based on evidence that has emerged over the last year, this administrative action alleges that not only Purdue, but two of its owners, Richard and Kathe Sackler, participated in Purdue’s fraudulent conduct.

“We are committed to achieving the best results for the State of Utah and pursuing all legal avenues appropriate to hold the companies and individuals that created this crisis accountable,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. “After seeing multiple media reports about Purdue retaining restructuring counsel, we decided that filing an administrative action is in the best interest of the people of Utah. This action allows us to expedite legal proceedings against Purdue and the named executives, who we allege incited and participated in the deceptive sales and marketing tactics that ultimately led to an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse in our state.”

“The administrative process, which the Division of Consumer Protection regularly uses, will provide prompt and full consideration of the State’s claims,” added AG Reyes. “Our families, health care professionals, first responders, and law enforcement officers know the urgency of the opioid epidemic. As we recognized when we filed suit, and in the several months since then, we don’t have more time to lose. Meanwhile, we are continuing to investigate other potential wrongdoers.”

Concurrent with this action, the state dismissed without prejudice the civil litigation it filed against Purdue Pharma in Carbon County last May, which means the State may refile against Purdue Pharma for the same circumstance at a later day. This action will not preclude Utah from filing lawsuits in district court against other defendants.
 
In addition to today’s actions, Utah continues to participate in investigations against other entities. Attorney General Reyes and a bipartisan group of more than 40 other state attorneys general have been aggressively investigating the extent to which entire opioid industry – manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies – engaged in unlawful practices. Purdue Pharma alone faces hundreds of lawsuits by government entities while other investigations remain ongoing. The State of Utah continues to investigate further lawsuits against additional defendants.
 
In Utah, non-fatal opioid costs to the state are approximately $524 million annually, according to research from the American Enterprise Institute. From 2013 to 2015, Utah ranked 7th highest in the nation for drug overdose deaths.
 
In May 2018, Attorney General Sean Reyes said, “Purdue Pharma manufactured one of the deadliest combinations in the history of our nation—OxyContin and lies. That lethal cocktail has led to a national public health crisis of epic proportions…. While Purdue’s executives got rich, Utah was plunged into a national public health crisis.”
 


# # #

 
NOTES:
 
1. A legal briefing on background concerning this matter will be held at 1:30pm and 2:30pm today in the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Call Chief of Staff Ric Cantrell at 801-230-9890 for more information.
 
2. You can review a copy of the administrative action here. The large number of redactions in the document are information subject to a protective order in multi-district litigation which is ongoing in the United State District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Utah-Admin-Citation-1-30-2019.pdf   
 
3. These administrative claims are not dependent on other counties’ or states’ lawsuits and will proceed immediately while the district court claims have been stayed.  Complex civil litigation takes years. The administrative claims should be adjudicated within 6 months.


Upcoming: National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

January 29, 2019

The National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest is a nationwide contest, hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), designed to promote awareness among teachers, parents/guardians, and children and engage them in discussions about safety.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office invites fifth graders to participate in the contest with an annual theme of “Bringing Our Missing Children Home”. Participants must submit their poster to the State Contest Manager by February 25th, at which time a winner will be chosen to represent Utah in the national judging competition and will receive a national award certificate from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The national winner, with his/her teacher, parents/guardians, and the state manager, will be invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in the DOJ’s National Missing Children’s Day Ceremony on May 22nd.

Contest rules and the application can be found in the information packet.

Posters and applications are due to the State Contest Manager by February 25th.


Utah State Contact:

Ms. Michelle Busch-Upwall Utah Attorney General’s Office 801-281-1245
mbusch-upwall@agutah.gov


Archie Archuleta: A Powerful Advocate & Example

January 26, 2019

The Utah Attorney General’s Office mourns the passing of a great man and influential community leader in Robert “Archie” Archuleta who dedicated his life to furthering justice for all people and building stronger bonds of friendship throughout our communities.

Archuleta championed many roles in his lifetime and consistently worked to leave people and places better than when he’d found them. He was an influential member of the Utah Latino community, educator, mentor, advocate for civil liberties and peace, and fought with honor and respect for human rights for minorities. Above all else, his kindness and passion for the community around him inspired people to do the same.

On a personal basis, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes stated, “Archie was a friend and mentor to so many of us. He was a respected elder, a giant in our midst and someone whose advice I sought and valued. Archie was a fighter for the causes in which he believed but he was also a peacemaker. He had the heart of a lion and spirit of a warrior but always the demeanor of a gentleman. He will be deeply missed. May God bless Lois and his family in their time of mourning.”

A memorial service celebrating his extraordinary life will be held on Saturday, March 2nd. More details regarding time and place will follow.

His obituary can be read here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=robert-archie-archuleta&pid=191415945


Human Trafficking 101: How to Recognize / How to Report.

January 25, 2019

In a lunchtime discussion this week, professionals from varying backgrounds shared their knowledge and expertise on the human trafficking industry and what people can do to recognize the common signs and report them. (See our previous post for a quick list.)

Listen in here:

Among the panelists were an Assistant Attorney General from the SECURE Strike Force, a Supervisory Special Agent from the SECURE Strike Force, a Trafficking in Persons Director, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and a human trafficking survivor.

The panel focused on the basics – what is human trafficking, how to recognize it, and how to report it. The panelists shared their insights influenced by their medical, legal, law enforcement, and personal backgrounds. Each had a gripping understanding of the horrors of human trafficking and shared how an average person can help combat this industry.

The panelists urged the audience to have kindness, seek out training, support legislators as they make and pass laws to combat human trafficking, and to simply become aware of how prevalent human trafficking is – even in Utah.

Here’s the Facebook Live video – please share with friends, and help end this crime.


Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 21, 2019

By Sean Reyes
Utah Attorney General

Today we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most impactful leaders in our nation’s history. Beyond his role as an advocate for civil rights and a champion for the persecuted, Dr. King’s influence holds a very personal place in my own family history. For it was his wife, Coretta Scott King, who assisted my immigrant father establish himself in this country and avoid political persecution in his native land. 

Dr. King stood for the truths that many Americans hold so dear – that every man, woman, and child are endowed with certain unalienable rights and freedoms regardless of skin color or place of birth.

He once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

In these days of turbulence in our nation and the world, it is our hope that we at the Utah Attorney General’s Office follow in the spirit of Dr. King, fighting on behalf of the people in the great state of Utah to ensure that those freedoms are not diminished.


Utah AG to Be Appointed to Federal Asian-American & Pacific Islander Commission

January 18, 2019

President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to appoint Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders on Thursday.

The commission works to advise the President on issues that face the Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, such as economic growth, education, health and housing. The commission also facilitates access to and participation in federal programs to AAPIs to improve the quality of life for the community.

In 2017, President Trump recognized the tremendous growth and needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in America and issued Executive Order 13811 to re-establish the commission. Attorney General Reyes is among 12 other people named to join the commission.

Read more:

Deseret News: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900051235/utah-ag-seans-reyes-named-to-federal-asian-american-pacific-islander-commission.html

KSL News: https://www.ksl.com/article/46470802/utah-ag-seans-reyes-named-to-federal-asian-american-pacific-islander-commission


Utah AG Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Defending Law that Protects Native American Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2019

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS BIPARTISAN COALITION OF ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN BRIEF DEFENDING LAW THAT PROTECTS NATIVE AMERICAN CHILDREN

SALT LAKE CITY – On Monday, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a bipartisan coalition of 21 states in filing an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) in Brakeen v. Zinke. ICWA is a 40-year-old federal law that furthers the best interests of Native American children and protects the sovereignty of Indian tribes by preserving children’s connections to their tribal heritage.
 
“The future of our Native American nations relies upon their youth learning and integrating the proud history, traditions and culture of their people within our broader society. ICWA accomplishes this while still providing needed protections to indigenous children,” said Attorney General Reyes. “I’m pleased to work in a bipartisan effort with sister states to defend this law. ICWA works in Utah. The State supports it and our First Nation friends support it. ICWA properly balances the safety and needs of children along with tribal and societal interests.”  
 
First enacted in 1978, ICWA was a response to a history of culturally insensitive and ignorant removal of Indian children from their birth families.i This resulted in the separation of Indian children from not only their families, but their tribes and heritage as well. ICWA’s purpose is to “protect the best interests of Indian children and promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards” to be utilized in child welfare proceedings involving Native American children.ii 

Attorney General Reyes continued, “It’s imperative Native American youth stay with their families and tribes whenever possible. There is tremendous cultural importance in this for the children and the nations. As one with heritage from a Native people, I am sensitive to this issue. The Native Hawaiian language was almost lost forever, until it was once again taught to our children in schools and at home.”
 
In this case, individual plaintiffs, along with the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana, sued the U.S. Department of the Interior and its now-former Secretary Ryan Zinke to challenge the law. In October 2018, the district court for the Northern District of Texas agreed and struck down much of ICWA on constitutional grounds. The brief filed today by Attorney General Reyes and 21 other Attorneys General argues that ICWA is an appropriate exercise of Congress’s broad authority to legislate in the field of Indian affairs and does not violate the Tenth Amendment or equal protection principles. The brief also highlights ICWA’s important role in reducing disparities in child removal rates and improving the collaboration between states and tribes relating to their shared interest in improving the health and welfare of Native American children.iii
 
Attorney General Reyes joined the Attorneys General of California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin in filing the brief. 

# # #

 
 
i. About ICWA » NICWA. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.nicwa.org/about-icwa/
ii. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bia.gov/bia/ois/dhs/icwa
iii. A copy of the brief can be found here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Brackeen-Amicus.pdf

Photo Credit: Romel Jacinto



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