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

SALT LAKE CITY May 25, 2016 –   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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25th Anniversary of the Utah Children’s Justice Program

SALT LAKE CITY May 18, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement about the 25th anniversary of the Utah Children’s Justice Program:

“This week we recognize a historic milestone as the Utah Attorney General’s Office celebrates 25 years of the Children’s Justice Center model in Utah. The Children’s Justice Centers (CJCs) provide a homelike, child focused sanctuary for abused children to be interviewed and supported though-out criminal investigations. Cases are handled by a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, medical and mental health providers, and others who help children find their voice and a pathway to justice and healing.

“In 1991, through the efforts of community advocate Grethe Peterson, Weber County Attorney Reed Richards, and Utah legislators Craig Peterson, Lyle Hillyard, and John Valentine, Utah opened its first three centers.  In 1994 the CJCs were incorporated into a program under the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which has expanded services to 22 centers serving 28 counties. The founders envisioned the centers as public-private partnerships, with government and community support, and Utah’s program is now viewed as a model throughout the country. We are grateful to our distinguished founders for their vision, and we congratulate Administrator Tracey Tabet and the directors of the 22 Children’s Justice Centers across the state for 25 years of success.”


To learn more about the important work the CJCs do, please watch the following short video:

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