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Dept. of Justice hosts discussion on tech companies with state AGs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2018

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES JOINS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL TO DISCUSS TECH COMPANIES
State attorneys general share consumer protection concerns on tech company platforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eight other state attorneys general, and representatives from five state attorneys general offices at the Department of Justice to discuss competition, free exchange of ideas, and consumer protection surrounding tech company platforms.

AG Reyes shared the following statement after the meeting concluded:

Today’s meeting was part of a critical, ongoing dialogue on protecting consumers and competition in the technology sector without unnecessarily burdening innovation or investment. State AGs have grappled with these issues for years. Having a federal perspective was welcome. The meeting was bipartisan. It was productive. We compared notes with our federal partners about a range of issues including cybersecurity, privacy, data gathering, and monetization of personal information by members of the tech community.

We shared ideas and concerns about the impact of dominant market players on competition and how they may be unfairly leveraging their position for competitive advantage. We agreed that at the federal and state level, we are both seeking robust protection of consumers and markets through responsible regulation and disciplined enforcement.

Utah is a rapidly expanding innovation hub. As such, consumer protection, privacy, and a level playing field in the tech ecosystem are of utmost concern to me and the Utah AG Office. I want to thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his team at the U.S. Department of Justice for inviting us to collaborate in addressing issues crucial to the future of our nation.

Utah joined attorneys general from Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia, as well as representatives from the Office of the Attorney General in Arkansas, Arizona, Missouri, Texas, and Washington.

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Photo by Marvin Meyer

Utah Attorney General's Office

Utah Joins Lawsuit Challenging DOE, DOJ “Dear Colleague” Letter on Bathroom & Locker Room Rules

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY  –   On May 13, 2016, the Obama Administration issued a “significant guidance” letter, also commonly known as a “Dear Colleague” letter.  After multiple efforts to obtain clarification from the Departments of Justice and Education failed to receive a response, a coalition of states sued. The lawsuit argues that the “Dear Colleague” letter has constitutional and statutory flaws, including improper rulemaking and failure to provide clear notice, among others, and if the Administration is using the Dear Colleague as new law, then it is legally deficient. 

On joining the lawsuit, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement:

Every child is an individual.  The recent “Dear Colleague” letter from the US Department of Justice and Department of Education attempts to apply a single solution to all individuals without regard for the input of parents, schools, and community leaders. The federal government’s ‘one size fits all’ mandate, disconnected from the needs of Utah schools, disrespects individuals and ignores the law.

As such, Utah has joined an action with states across the country to clarify issues raised by the DOJ and DOE and to prevent the federal government from infringing on the role of states, local school districts or Congress.  Multiple states in good faith sought clarification from the DOJ and DOE, but the silence from the federal government has resulted in an environment of confusion for educators and administrators. The lawsuit will identify whether states and local school boards remain free to find solutions on a case-by-case basis, suited to the needs of individual families.

This case is not really about bathrooms, but about executive branch overreach.  If the “Dear Colleague” letter was intended to mandate a new interpretation of the law, the lawsuit challenges that adaptation as legally improper.  When a presidential administration wishes to change the law, it must do so appropriately. This Administration could have worked with Congress. It could have challenged the constitutionality of a state or local board policy. Or it could have taken proper steps under the Administrative Procedures Act to provide notice and solicit comment from the public, including states, school boards and families.  Process has a purpose.

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