Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-3) today voted to pass H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, legislation to modernize and establish clear protections to the privacy rights of American’s email and electronic files. According to the three-decade-old law that currently covers electronic communications, the government and law enforcement are allowed to access emails in most inboxes that are more than six month old without needing to obtain a warrant.
Lucas, a cosponsor of today’s privacy legislation, released the following statement upon its overwhelmingly bipartisan passage in the House of Representatives by a vote of 419-0.
“Your private emails should be just that: private,” said Congressman Lucas. “I’m encouraged to see a vast majority of my colleagues in the House unite behind this comprehensive bill to modernize our laws on email and data privacy. Our Constitutional rights should never be left to fester under aging laws when we have the ability to fix them. I hope the Senate and President Obama will recognize the urgent need to take action on this critical issue.”
H.R. 699 overhauls the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to ensure our nation’s laws are keeping pace with the growth of technology. The Email Privacy Act closes a decades-old loophole that enables government and law enforcement to access emails and other data more than six months old that are hosted on third party servers such as Gmail, Yahoo and most internet service providers.
The legislation creates a new warrant requirement for law enforcement seeking to access email or text messages; continues to hold remote computing service providers subject to warrants; and maintains Congress’s subpoena power to conduct investigations.Read More
In order to sniff out potential terrorist attacks, the National Security Agency (NSA) monitors the metadata of millions of phone calls and other communications. Whether you are for or against this practice, there are strong cases to be made on both sides of this debate – a constant balancing act between privacy and security.
However, most Americans would agree that if an agency like the IRS were to take advantage of similar methods, it would be a clear abuse of our Constitutional right to privacy.
That’s why you may be surprised to learn that according to a nearly 30-year-old law, the government is allowed to access emails in your inbox that are more than six months old without needing to obtain a warrant.
Technology and our day-to-day reliance on it have grown dramatically in the past three decades so it’s hard to believe that the last time Congress legislated on this issue was with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 – before a large majority of Americans were even able to access the internet, let alone email.
This 20th century law applies to email accounts that are hosted on widely used third party servers such as Gmail, Yahoo and many internet service providers. Even electronic files on your phone like photos, videos and text messages that are increasingly being stored on remote servers through cloud computing would be subject to this law.
Who in the government can access this information? It’s hard to say since many agencies keep their operations and procedures under wraps, but this list may very well include the IRS, who could take advantage of existing law to investigate income or gifts that may not have shown up in your tax filing. Internal digital communication within your business or between colleagues could also be accessed.
In fact, former versions of the IRS handbook that have been made public specify that “the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation to privacy in such communications.”
It’s one thing to receive an audit from the IRS. It’s an entirely different matter to have a government bureaucrat snooping through your emails.
I am not a lawyer but it doesn’t take one to realize that the laws on the book covering this issue are glaringly out of date.
Your private emails should be just that: private. That’s why a vast majority of members of Congress, including myself, have united behind H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, to revamp and clarify the existing law on this matter. Our Constitutional rights should never be left to fester under aging laws.
This bill establishes strict guidelines for the government or law enforcement to acquire a court-issued warrant before they can look into an individual’s private email or text messages. Law enforcement should have access to a wide arrange of tools to go after criminals but open and unencumbered access to your emails and personal files should not be one of them.
Several well-intentioned pieces of legislation get stuck in congressional committees or vetoed by President Obama but the issue of privacy bridges Americans from both sides of the aisle.
Passing by an enormous margin of 419-0 this week, I hope the magnitude of support behind the Email Privacy Act will encourage the Senate and the president to swiftly take up consideration of this critical matter.
The rapid evolution of technology highlights the pressing need for a more responsive and modern congress, and I believe this legislation is a promising step in the right direction. As your elected representatives, it’s our duty to stay informed on these matters and act accordingly so that we can protect your Constitutional rights and hold those in the federal government accountable.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-3) today voted to pass two pieces of legislation aimed at bringing greater accountability to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its employees.
From 2004 to 2013, the IRS’s inspector general found that almost 1,600 IRS employees were willfully tax noncompliant. The No Hires for the Delinquent IRS Act, which passed today by a vote of 254 – 170, seeks to remedy this issue by prohibiting the IRS from hiring any new employees until the Treasury Secretary verifies that no current IRS employees have significant delinquent tax debt.
The IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending Act, which today by a vote of 245 – 179, grants Congress greater control over how the IRS spends fees imposed on taxpayers. These fees amount to roughly $350 million per year, with a portion going towards the implementation of Obamacare, according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
“Frustration with the IRS is an issue that resonates with Americans of all political philosophies. Unfortunately, President Obama has repeatedly blocked any effort to fix our country’s staggeringly complex tax code or even reform the IRS – an agency with an astounding record of dishonesty and incompetence under this Administration,” said Congressman Lucas.
“Any government agency, especially one with so much power over our nation’s workers and businesses, must be held to the highest degree of accountability. With these two bills today, the House continues its fight to protect taxpayers by drawing greater scrutiny toward IRS spending and ensuring the agency’s employees are worthy of the confidence and trust of the American people.”Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) today released the following statement regarding Tax Day and reforming our nation’s tax code:
“The president’s annual budget has repeatedly shown that he and his party have no interest in fixing our nation’s tax code or even reforming the IRS – an agency that goes above and beyond its mission when it comes to targeting Americans for their religious beliefs but loses billions of dollars every year in fraudulent refunds and cybertheft,” said Congressman Lucas. “These failures are symptomatic of an agency that has become too large and too bureaucratic to carry out its original mission. Taxpayers are shelling out billions of dollars and countless hours to simply comply with our nation’s tax code.
“For families, this is money that could go towards paying the bills and time that could be better spent with their children. For small businesses, these expenses could be the difference between hiring more employees or investing in new capital.
“Tax Day reminds us that there is a real need for tax reform in this country and for years I have advocated for a simpler and fairer tax system, one that encourages economic growth and does not require the help of expensive professionals to decipher. I look forward to continuing this debate and pushing for commonsense reforms to help Oklahomans keep more of their hard earned dollars.”Read More
FAIRVIEW — Congressman Frank Lucas spoke on a variety of issues Tuesday afternoon in a town hall meeting in Fairview.
Lucas spoke a familiar refrain, stating the “political oxygen” is being sucked from Congress and presidential “silly season” is underway.
Regarding Oklahoma, Lucas said the state needs rain. Two of the state’s biggest economic drivers —agriculture and oil— both are impacted by drought, ethanol and other factors.
“We’re caught in a lack of world demand because of lagging world economies,” he said of the two topics.
Agriculture will balance out, he said, but Congress will need to review some Conservation Reserve Programs next year.
Oil prices also will even out within three years, he said.
“This is not 1982,” he said. “It took 15 years for property prices to recover then. It won’t be 15 years. It’s just a matter of how many. I think two to three.”
Regarding federal politics, appropriation bills and a budget resolution remain at a standstill, and Lucas said Congress may not pass a budget resolution.
Lucas, R-Okla., said one year ago Congress passed a budget resolution that set spending caps. The resolution was amended in December and funded the federal government through September 2016, he said.
“Of the $4 trillion the federal government will spend next year, about $1 trillion is discretionary money — money spent on an annual, year-to-year basis,” he said. “The other $3 trillion is mandatory money — from Medicare to Social Security to crop insurance — all of those things. So, one-fourth of total spending you have year-to-year control on. The caps agreed to a year ago are about $30 billion different than the caps agreed to last December.”
Lucas said lawmakers are discussing operating by December’s agreement or the smaller caps from one year ago.
“If we don’t get one (budget resolution) done, well at some point we have to do our work,” he said.
Lucas also spoke on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.
Lucas said he does not disagree with waiting to appoint a new justice until the new president is elected.
“But, if you get to a point in November where someone is elected that the majority in the Senate thinks is even more likely to appoint a judge even more extreme, don’t be surprised if the fella that President Obama has nominated — don’t be surprised if given a choice between that nominee or a Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders with a nominee that you don’t get this guy lined up at the last minute,” Lucas said.
Lucas has not endorsed a presidential candidate, but stands by his previous statement that Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee.
“We may have a Republican convention this summer where the nominee will be decided on the floor,” he said. “Up until 10 days ago, I may not have said that.”
Lucas compared the presidential race to a reality television show.
“If you were running a business, you’d ask for more resumes,” he said. “It’s like reality TV has come to the presidential campaign. Stop talking about each other's wife. Can you remember a time when there was less focus on the issues?”Read More
Oklahoma City, Okla. – Today Congressman Frank Lucas announced two town hall meetings to be held next week in Fairview and Cherokee on Tuesday, April 5th. Residents are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington. Lucas will be discussing his work in Congress, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for input on legislation currently before Congress.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Fairview Town Hall Meeting
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Fairview Community Center
123 South 6th Ave, Fairview, OK
Cherokee Town Hall Meeting
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Alfalfa County Farm Bureau
113 South Grand, Cherokee, OKRead More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce upcoming town hall meetings to be held in Shattuck, Buffalo, Woodward and Taloga on Wednesday, March 30th. All residents of these locations are invited and encouraged to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington. Lucas will be discussing his work in Congress, taking questions on policy issues and asking for input on legislation currently before Congress.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Shattuck Town Hall Meeting
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Shattuck Chamber of Commerce Building
115 South Main Street, Shattuck, OK
Buffalo Town Hall Meeting
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Medallion Room, NW Electric Cooperative
102 W. Turner St., Buffalo, OK
Woodward Town Hall Meeting
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Woodward Conference Center, Meeting Room 2
3401 Centennial Lane, Woodward, OK
Taloga Town Hall Meeting
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Great Plains National Bank, Community Room
100 S. Broadway, Taloga, OKRead More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-3) today released the following statement after President Obama announced his nomination of federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States:
“With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court lost a great defender of liberty and the Constitution. President Obama’s nomination today to fill Scalia’s vacancy comes at the tail end of his presidency and during a contentious election year. The nomination and confirmation of our next Supreme Court justice will dramatically impact the composition of our nation’s highest court and, in turn, the direction of our country.
“This is not about who the president nominated today; it is about the principle of giving the American people a voice in this process by voting in the next general election. The significance of this decision cannot be understated and I hope the Senate will exercise its constitutional authority to ensure the will of the people is upheld.”Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce upcoming town hall meeting to be held in Alva on Thursday, March 24th. All residents of these locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington. Lucas will be discussing his work in Congress, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for input on legislation currently before Congress.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Alva Town Hall Meeting
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
NWOSU Student Center, Ranger Room
709 Oklahoma Ave., Alva OKRead More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce upcoming town hall meetings to be held in Mangum, Hollis, Altus, Hobart and Anadarko on March 7th and 8th. All residents of these locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events. Lucas will be discussing his work in Washington, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for input on legislation currently before Congress.
Monday, March 7, 2016
Mangum Town Hall Meeting
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Mangum Senior Citizens’ Center
213 N. Oklahoma Ave., Mangum, OK
Hollis Town Hall Meeting
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Hollis Civic Center
208 W. Jones Street, Hollis, OK
Altus Town Hall Meeting
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Museum of the Western Prairie
1100 Memorial Drive, Altus, OK
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Hobart Town Hall Meeting
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
300 S. Washington Street, Hobart, OK
Anadarko Town Hall Meeting
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
City Hall - Council Chamber
501 W. Virginia, Anadarko, OK
2311 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Frank Lucas is a fifth generation Oklahoman whose family has lived and farmed in Oklahoma for over 100 years. Born on January 6, 1960 in Cheyenne, Oklahoma, Lucas graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1982 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election in 1994, and is currently serving his 11th term as a Member of Congress.
Frank proudly represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District includes all or portions of 32 counties in northern and western Oklahoma, stretching from the Oklahoma panhandle to parts of Tulsa, and from Yukon to Altus in the southwest. It takes up almost half the state’s land mass and is one of the largest agricultural regions in the nation. Lucas has been a crusader for the American farmer since being elected to Congress in 1994 as well as working to protect Oklahoma values.
Congressman Lucas serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. In addition, he serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Frank also serves as a member of the Republican Whip Team. The Republican Whip Team is led by Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-22). The representatives who are members of the team serve as leaders in their party and work with the Republican leadership team to ensure every American’s voice is heard in Congress.
Prior to his service in the U.S. Congress, Lucas served for five and a half years in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, where he tirelessly defended the rights of private property owners and focused on promoting agriculture issues.
Frank and his wife Lynda have three children and one grandchild. The Lucas family belongs to the First Baptist Church in Cheyenne.
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