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Attorney General of Utah

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Utah Attorney General
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $69,343,400
Term limits:  None
Structure
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Utah Constitution, Article VII, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

SeanReyes.jpg
Name:  Sean Reyes
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  December 30, 2013
Compensation:  $98,509
Elections
Next election:  November 2014
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Utah Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Attorney General of Utah is a publicly elected executive position within the Utah state government. The attorney general is the chief law enforcement, legal officer and lawyer for Utah. The attorney general also serves as a member of the State Boards of Prison Commissioners, Insane Asylum Commissioners, and Reform School Commissioners, alongside a selection of other state executive officials including the governor, auditor, and superintendent of education.

Current officeholder

The current attorney general is Sean D. Reyes (R).[1] Gov. Gary Herbert (R) appointed Reyes to fill the seat left vacant following the resignation of John Swallow in early December 2013. Reyes' took office December 30, 2013, and will have to run for election in 2014 to serve out the remaining two years of Swallow's term.[2]

When Reyes was sworn in, he relieved interim officeholder Brian Tarbet, who had taken over the role after Swallow left on December 3, 2013.[3]

Authority

The office of attorney general is established in Article VII, Section 1 of the state constitution.

Article VII, Section 1:

The elective constitutional officers of the Executive Department shall consist of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Attorney General...

Qualifications

Article VII, Section 3 of the Utah Constitution establishes the qualifications of the office:

To be eligible for the office of Attorney General a person shall be 25 years of age or older, at the time of election, admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Utah, and in good standing at the bar.
  • a qualified voter
  • a resident of Utah for five years next preceding election
  • at least 25 years old at the time of election
  • admitted to practice law in Utah
  • in good standing with the bar at the time of election

Elections

Utah state government organizational chart

According to Article VII, Section 2 of the state constitution, Utah voters elect the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, and auditor...

...every four years at the time and place of voting for members of the Legislature. The candidates respectively having the highest number of votes cast for the office voted for shall be elected. If two or more candidates have an equal and the highest number of votes for any one of the offices, the two houses of the Legislature at its next session shall elect by joint ballot one of those candidates for that office.

  • Per Article VII, Section 1, the newly elected attorney general takes office beginning on the first Monday of January next after their election.

Full History


Vacancies

In the event of a vacancy in the office of attorney general, treasurer, auditor, or superintendent of public instruction, Article VII, Section 10 of the state constitution allows the governor to fill the vacancy by appointment. The appointee must be from the same political party as the removed officer, and shall hold the office until a successor is elected and qualified.

Push to make position appointed

In March 2013, State Sen. Todd Weiler (R) pushed for a study on amending the Utah Constitution to change the position of state Attorney General from elected to appointed.[4]

Weiler explained, "The discussion is: As an elected official in a statewide race, we’re asking these candidates to run around and ask people for political donations. If someone was appointed, we’d take that entirely out of the process. We wouldn’t have the chief law enforcement officer asking people for money."[5]

Not surprisingly, Attorney General John Swallow (R) pushed back, stating, "The attorney general is the guardian of the public interest and should be independent and provide legal advice based on the law instead of political pressure. Utah is one of 43 states where the attorney general is elected by popular vote and this process ensures the attorney general is the lawyer for all Utah citizens."[4]

At least two other proposals to make the office appointed were considered in 1995 and 2011. A constitutional amendment would be necessary to change the method of selection.[5]

Duties

The mission of the office of the attorney general is to uphold the constitutions of the United States and of the state, enforce the law, provide counsel to state agencies and public officials, assist law enforcement, and protect the interests of the state, its people, environment and resources. Specific duties of the attorney general include:

  • Prosecute or defend all causes in which the State or a state agency is a party.
  • Initiate legal proceedings on behalf of the state.
  • Direct the process of executions on judgments.
  • Account for state funds which comes into possession of the office.
  • Keep a file on each case, civil or criminal, in which the attorney general is required to appear.
  • Act as supervisor to district and county attorneys within the state.
  • Give opinions on questions of law to state agencies, officers, boards, commissions, and to county or district attorneys.
  • Assist district or county attorneys when required by public service or by the governor.
  • Purchase property in the name of the state offered under executions and enter partial or whole satisfactions of judgment as directed by the Board of Examiners.
  • If a judgment debtor’s property is under a prior encumbrance, the attorney general shall redeem the property.
  • Pay costs necessary to the prosecution of any proceedings necessary to set aside fraudulent conveyances made by judgment debtors.
  • Discharge the duties of a member of any official boards of which the attorney general is legally required to be a member.
  • Prosecute corporations which act illegally.
  • Investigate in order to recover property which should revert to the state.
  • Administer the Children's Justice Center program.
  • Assist the Constitutional Defense Council.
  • Investigate and prosecute criminal violations of the False Claims Act.
  • Investigate and prosecute complaints of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of patients at health care facilities that receive payments under the state Medicaid program.

Divisions

The office of the attorney general includes the following divisions:

  • Child/Family Support Division
  • Child Protection Division
  • Civil Appeals Division
  • Commercial Enforcement Division
  • Children’s Justice Division
  • Criminal Appeals Division
  • Criminal Justice Division
  • Education Division
  • Environment Division
  • Investigations Division
  • Litigation Division
  • Natural Resources Division
  • State Agency Counsel Division
  • Tax and Revenue Division

State budget

The budget for the Attorney General's office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $69,343,400.[6]

Compensation

See also: Compensation of state executive officers

2013

In 2013, the Attorney General of Utah was paid an estimated $98,509. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.[7]

2012

In 2012, the Utah Attorney General was paid an estimated $98,509. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 21 attorneys general of Utah since 1896.[8]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Utah + Attorney + General

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Attorney General of Utah News Feed

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Contact information

Office of the Attorney General
Post Office Box 142320
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2320

Phone: 801-366-0260
Toll Free Phone: 800-244-4636 (Utah Only)
Fax: 801-366-0221
E-mail: uag@utah.gov

See also

External links

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References