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AG Reyes Stands for School Choice and Religious Liberty

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in Hile v Michigan over an issue pertaining to school choice and religious liberty. The brief, led by the State of West Virginia, urges the nation’s high court to hear arguments in the case.

Michigan parents have challenged a state constitutional amendment from 1970 that banned taxpayer dollars from nonpublic educational institutions. State voters also voted against a measure in 2000 to amend the constitution to allow for taxpayer support of nonpublic schools and students. The Michigan parents have argued that the state’s opposition to taxpayer support of nonpublic institutions and students is unconstitutional and harms religious schools. The district court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled against the parents, leading to the appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The questions presented in the brief ask “whether Michigan’s constitutional amendment barring direct and indirect public financial support for parochial and other nonpublic schools violates the Equal Protection Clause, [and] whether the failure of a 2000 school-voucher ballot proposal purges the amendment of its religious animus for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause.”

In their brief, the coalition of attorneys general argue that the U.S. Supreme Court should accept the case because this would give the Court an opportunity “to clarify the confused political-process doctrine,” as well as “to give parents every possible means to educate their children.” According to the brief, “the political-process doctrine reflects that a representative democracy like ours requires a fair playing field, and courts should stop majorities from stacking the political-process deck against ‘socially subordinated’ minority groups.”

Joining Utah and West Virginia on the brief were the States of Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, and South Dakota.

Read the letter here.

VirTra Simulated Training: A Closer Look


VirTra training can put you into dicey situations that result in lethal force, or not. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to employ VIRTRA training. It is realistic training with situations police officers face daily, which are not easy.

It’s an exciting tool that uses giant screens, intense surround sound, and a real-but-disabled handgun. Different situations play out on the screens as the trainee, playing the part of a police officer, moves around and shouts commands—trying to diffuse what’s occurring without using their weapon.

Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Join us on this Legally Speaking episode as we dive deeper into VirTra training with Will Fowlke, the Training Center Director for the Investigations Division.

Listen to the podcast here.

AG Reyes Speaks at 2024 Children’s Justice Symposium

SNOWBIRD, UT—Attorney General Sean D. Reyes attended the Utah Children’s Justice Center (CJC) Symposium this week, which brings professionals together to learn about the latest advancements in child abuse prevention and intervention.

The CJC program promotes a multidisciplinary response to child abuse, providing a comfortable, neutral, child-friendly atmosphere for children to receive coordinated services during the child abuse investigative process. This three-day event gave professionals a platform to network, share best practices, and gain valuable insights from other experts in the field.

The 2024 CJC Symposium covered topics such as the power of connection, child abuse prevention strategies, navigating abuse investigations, human trafficking, advanced grooming, and innovative approaches to supporting child victims.

AG Reyes Urges Biden Administration Reject Two Troubling WHO Accords

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to President Joe Biden over the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations and new Pandemic Treaty. The letter, led by the State of Montana, urges the president to reject these accords to protect individual freedoms, national sovereignty, and local control.

In their letter, the attorneys general share several reasons for their opposition to the policies from the World Health Organization (WHO). The first is that “the two proposed instruments would transform the WHO from an advisory, charitable organization into the world’s governor of public health.” The second is that “the federal government cannot delegate public health decisions to an international body.” The final reason is that “the proposed IHR amendments and the Pandemic Treaty would lay the groundwork for a global surveillance infrastructure.”

As the States write, “To varying degrees, these measures would threaten national sovereignty, undermine states’ authority, and imperil constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Ultimately, the goal of these instruments isn’t to protect public health. It’s to cede authority to the WHO – specifically its Director-General – to restrict our citizens’ rights to freedom of speech, privacy, movement, (especially travel across borders) and informed consent.”

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

Read the letter here.

AG Reyes Joins Coalition of States in Lawsuit Against President Biden’s Changes to Title IX Rule

SALT LAKE CITY—Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a coalition of states led by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach in a lawsuit opposing President Biden’s changes to Title IX, the law designed to create opportunities for students in education and athletics.

Attorney General Sean D. Reyes stated:

“This is the very definition of improper and illegal federal coercion.

Holding a sword over school districts, without Supreme Court or other legal precedent and in the absence of Congressional authority, the current administration once again bypasses America’s democratic process and threatens to defund schools that do not bend to its dictates.

The policy is so extreme, both progressives and conservatives seem largely united in opposition to the rule as it attempts to force a redefinition of gender on schools in America. In doing so, the Biden Department of Education vastly overreaches and defies common sense, rendering Title IX much less protective of women and girls in athletics and unraveling decades of gains in women’s sports.”

In addition to Kansas and Utah, attorneys general from Alaska and Wyoming joined the lawsuit.

Read the filing here.

General Reyes Takes Action Against the EPA’s Methane Tax; Illegal Regulation Hurts Utahns

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a recently proposed rule titled “Waste Emissions Charge for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems.” The letter, which was led by the State of West Virginia, urges the EPA to reconsider its “unlawful and ill-advised” regulation.

On August 16, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law. One of the provisions of this legislation was to mandate the implementation of a “waste emissions charge” – or Methane Tax, as per Section 136 of the Clean Air Act. This congressional directive led to the proposed rule in January 2024. Still, even though the EPA is following through with marching orders from enacted legislation, the attorneys general warn that this agency “must operate within the bounds of the law and make reasonable decisions” in taking the next step to craft policies under its purview.

In their letter, the attorneys general present multiple arguments against the EPA’s proposed rule, as written. First, that “the Proposed Rule is premature, resting on a regulatory landscape that is itself subject to ongoing legal challenges.” Second, that “the EPA’s additions to the Methane Tax’s envisioned scheme push the Proposed Rule beyond the agency’s statutory authority in several ways.” Third, that “the Proposed Rule contains several unreasonable interpretations of statutory text that actually undermine Congress’s intent, making the rule arbitrary and capricious.” And finally, that “the Proposed Rule lacks an adequate cost-benefit analysis.”

The States note in the conclusion that, “the Methane Tax is a misguided burden on our nation’s energy industry. It is just the latest attack in what seems to be this administration’s all-out war on that sector. We therefore urge the EPA to reconsider this rule and return with a focus on following the text and purpose of the law.”

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

Read the letter here.

Ridd Case: Roommate Assaulted by a Virus

This Legally Speaking podcast is a case study in the prosecution of a woman charged with poisoning her roommate in Millcreek, Utah.

In 2019, the Utah Attorney General’s office worked with federal authorities to convict Janie Lynn Ridd of abuse and possession of a biological agent. Charges state that Ridd purchased a Staphylococcus strain and gave it to her roommate over time. That roommate was supposed to be her best friend. 

It’s a case the Attorney General’s office worked on with the U.S. Department of Justice. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Gadd, who commented on the case for Legally Speaking.

Listen to the podcast here.

AG Reyes Opposes the IRS Direct File for Taxpayers

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen over the recently launched IRS Direct File pilot project. The coalition of attorneys general, which was led by the State of Alabama, requests that the Treasury Department and IRS “begin consulting with [them] on this matter due to the myriad of legal issues and practical concerns that are raised by this IRS action.”

The Direct File program was created to prepare and file tax returns for Americans. This program stemmed from the passage of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, where the Executive Branch was given $15 million for an “independent third party” to study “the overall feasibility, approach, schedule, cost, organization, and design” of such a project. In selecting the party to study a potential framework for this program, the IRS chose New America, which did not meet the criteria of the congressionally mandated independence. Also, Congress did not intend for a program to be formed out of the funds that were appropriated from the legislation, but Direct File was, nevertheless, established.

In their letter, the attorneys general raise several issues with the IRS program. One of those issues is their belief “that the exorbitant costs contrasted with the low consumer interest is reason enough for the IRS to halt any further spending on this program.” Another issue highlighted was that individual states “have not budgeted to build systems that would integrate with IRS Direct File, and it is unlikely that states would have the capacity, resources, or interest to do so when the system does not provide for state filing.” One of the consequences of the lack of integration between state and federal tax returns is that “some taxpayers with state tax-filing obligations will simply not file their state tax returns if they use an IRS Direct File system that fails to offer them a simultaneous state tax return.” Finally, the attorneys general note that they “see no clear and evident authority that would permit the IRS to create and maintain a ‘tax preparation’ system.”

Joining Utah and Alabama on the letter were the States of Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

Read the letter here.

Attorney General Reyes Urges Congress to Defund Terrorist-Embedded U.N. Agency

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a letter to U.S. Congressional leaders, calling on the federal legislative branch to “stop funding United Nations Relief and Works Agency.” The letter, which was led by the States of Iowa and South Carolina, issues its demand over the agency’s continued and troubling ties to the terror organization Hamas.

This letter, sent on May 7, follows a similar communication to Congress on February 1, when more than two dozen States, including Utah, transmitted a letter asking the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to “stop funding United Nations Relief and Works Agency.” The coalition of attorneys general had stated that “it is time for Congress to stop funding this organization that rapes, murders, and kidnaps innocents – and that has shown it has no willingness, desire, or capacity to stick to humanitarian aid and away from supporting antisemitism and terrorism.”

As the attorneys general clarify in this latest letter, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has not made sufficient progress to warrant the resumption of American taxpayer dollars to continue subsidizing its international efforts. They write, “While the United States suspended UNRWA’s funding in January, it is time to make that permanent – unless UNRWA engages in serious and clear reform… While UNRWA has fired many employees for participating in the October 7 Hamas-led massacre, even the UN agrees there is more work to be done… Congress should take this opportunity and moment of moral clarity to say enough is enough and stop funding UNRWA for good.”

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

Read the letter here.

Attorney General Reyes and the UAGO Mourn Fallen Hero

Last Sunday morning, a Santaquin police officer was hit and killed by a semi-truck. In response, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shares the following statement:

This news is heart-rending and tragic. The loss of an officer in our own state cuts especially deep for all of us in the Utah law enforcement community.

May the peace he fought so hard to protect now rest upon his soul. The Utah Attorney General’s Office sends our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of our fallen brother, as well as to Chief Hurst and the Santaquin Police Department.

Just a few days ago we celebrated at the annual Utah Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial the joy of a full year without a loss of anyone in the line of duty. Next year’s services will be far more somber.