U.S. Representatives Lofgren, Massie, Eshoo & Polis Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Enable Cell Phone & Wireless Device Unlocking
Bipartisan lawmakers reintroduce bill to permanently enable cell phone & wireless device unlocking
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to allow consumers to permanently unlock their cellphones, tablets, and other electronic communications devices in order to switch carriers. The Unlocking Technology Act of 2015 (H.R. 1587) expands and improves on cell phone unlocking legislation signed into law last year by allowing consumers to permanently unlock all their mobile devices and media in ways that do not infringe on existing copyrights.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act currently forbids consumers from sidestepping technical measures that prevent modifying copyrighted works — such as jailbreaking a tablet to run 3rd-party apps, bypassing digital rights management for archiving or disability access purposes, or unlocking a cell phone — regardless of whether there is any actual copyright infringement.
"This bill reflects how the American public views ownership of their electronic devices," said Representative Lofgren. "It’s simple – you should be free to unlock the mobile devices and media you legally purchase. If consumers are not violating copyright or other law, there's little reason to hold back the many benefits of unlocking. It’s time we allow people to permanently use their devices without interference."
"Everyone should be free to use their personal property as they see fit and choose their preferred technologies without penalty," said Representative Massie. "This bill rolls back excessive and out-dated prohibitions on otherwise lawful innovations that promote marketplace competition. I look forward to advancing this bipartisan effort with Reps. Lofgren, Polis, and Eshoo."
"Unlocking a cell phone or smart device gives consumers the freedom to choose the mobile technology and service that best suits them,” said Representative Eshoo, Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee. “It also unlocks potential and puts competition and consumer choice on equal footing in the vibrant mobile marketplace. This bipartisan legislation ensures consumers have this option—permanently. It’s a win for consumers, it’s a win for competition, and it’s a win for our mobile economy.”
"Consumers who are not under contract should be able to unlock their cell phones or tablets," said Representative Polis. "We should not have laws on the books that prohibit consumer choice and stifle competition in the marketplace. I am pleased to introduce this bill with Representatives Lofgren, Massie, and Eshoo which will permanently restore consumers' freedom to switch wireless carriers."
The Unlocking Technology Act improves on existing law by permanently allowing consumers to unlock all of their mobile devices – not only cell phones. Cell phone unlocking legislation signed into law last year merely reinstated a temporary exemption and still relies on the Library of Congress to renew it every three years, which it may choose not to do. The Unlocking Technology Act makes this cell phone exemption permanent and extends unlocking protections to all mobile devices.
The bill would also permit the use and sale of tools — like software apps — that enable unlocking for uses that do not infringe on copyright, and consumers would not be required to obtain permission from their carrier before switching to a new carrier. The legislation further requires that these changes be included in any international trade agreements.
U.S. Representatives Pocan & Massie Introduce Legislation to Repeal PATRIOT Act
Legislation Would End Unconstitutional Mass Collection of Personal Communications
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act (H.R. 1466). The legislation would repeal federal mass surveillance laws.
“The Patriot Act contains many provisions that violate the Fourth Amendment and have led to a dramatic expansion of our domestic surveillance state,” said Congressman Massie. "Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans. I am proud to co-sponsor Congressman Pocan’s bill and look forward to working with him on this issue.” “The warrantless collection of millions of personal communications from innocent Americans is a direct violation of our constitutional right to privacy,” said Congressman Pocan. “Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security- we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties. This legislation ends the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices, while putting provisions in place to protect the privacy of American citizens through real and lasting change.”
The Surveillance State Repeal Act, H.R. 1466, offers a complete repeal of the 2001 PATRIOT Act, which the NSA has cited as the legal basis for its phone metadata harvesting surveillance program. Additionally, the bill repeals the FISA Amendments Act, which contains provisions for email data harvesting. H.R 1466 also makes retaliation against federal national security whistleblowers illegal and ensures any FISA collection against a U.S. person takes place only pursuant to a valid warrant based on probable cause.
U.S. Representative Massie Re-introduces Bill to Eliminate Tax on Social Security Benefits
“Taxing these benefits is an accounting sleight of hand that redistributes portions of the Social Security trust fund to other areas of government”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Thomas Massie re-introduced the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 589), which would eliminate income taxes on Social Security benefits. The bill would boost the retirement income of millions of older Americans.
Original co-sponsors include Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Congressman David Jolly (R-FL), Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), freshman Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA), and freshman Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV).
“Social Security is financed with Americans’ tax dollars, so taxing Social Security is double-taxing by the Federal Government,” said Congressman Massie. “Taxing Social Security reduces benefits to seniors.” Congressman Ron DeSantis said, "Americans pay taxes their entire working lives to support Social Security, so there is no reason why these earned benefits should be taxed once again when they receive them. Congressman Massie’s legislation promotes transparency by blowing the whistle on the Federal Government for double-taxation while protecting our senior citizens."
Congressman David Jolly said, “Seniors should not be taxed for a benefit they rightfully earned by paying into Social Security for decades. The current system penalizes seniors as a way to support a government that is living beyond its means. We should instead focus on securing Social Security for all generations in a responsible and sustainable way." "It is problematic enough to pay high taxes on income when it is earned the first time. But, to turn around and tax Social Security benefits as a portion is being returned is unfair and can be harmful to seniors just trying to get by after a long life of work. This bill is not only the just and right thing to do, it is the helpful thing to do," said Congressman Louie Gohmert. "West Virginia seniors need relief from higher costs of living,” said Congressman Alex Mooney. “Seniors have worked hard to earn their Social Security benefits and have already been taxed on their contributions to Social Security. The Federal Government tax on Social Security is a double-tax and its repeal would provide an immediate increase in benefits for our seniors."
“I am proud to co-sponsor Congressman Massie’s bill to protect our seniors,” said Congressman Rod Blum. “This is a common sense bill that will end the double-taxation of our seniors. Our seniors pay enough taxes on their Social Security on the front end, and it is irresponsible for the government to tax them twice.”
Dan Weber, President of AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens, said “AMAC is proud to stand with Congressman Massie today as he introduces the “Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act.” This bill rightly eliminates the unfair income tax on Social Security benefits and ensures that older Americans, who have paid into Social Security throughout their careers, are not excessively taxed by the Federal government. Given that mature Americans and seniors have already paid tax on their Social Security contributions via the payroll tax, it is irresponsible for the government to double-tax the benefit in order to generate more revenue. The “Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act” will not only enable beneficiaries to retain more money for retirement, but it will restore integrity to the Social Security program. As an organization committed to representing the interests of older Americans, we encourage Congress to support this commonsense legislation and to protect the benefit our seniors have earned.”
The purpose of Social Security is to provide people with financial support during retirement, not to be another source of tax revenue for the Federal Government. Under this legislation, Social Security benefits would neither be taxable nor reportable on individual tax returns, thus restoring the integrity of the program.
“Taxing these benefits is an accounting sleight of hand that redistributes portions of the Social Security trust fund to other areas of government,” Congressman Massie concluded.
Congressman Massie introduced a previous version of the bill on January 16th, 2014. The Association of Mature American Citizens supports the legislation.
For Immediate Release
Thursday Jan 22, 2015
U.S. Representatives Massie and Polis Introduce Bipartisan Industrial Hemp Bill
Bipartisan coalition of 47 Members propose bill to allow commercial cultivation of industrial hemp
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), and a bipartisan coalition of 45 lawmakers introduced federal legislation that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing cultivation of industrial hemp. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (H.R. 525) amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.
“I'm optimistic that we can get the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to the President's desk this Congress,” said Representative Massie. “In 2014, for the first time in over half a century, hemp was grown and harvested in Kentucky under the pilot programs allowed by the Polis-Massie-Blumenauer amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill. I look forward to building on last year’s momentum to give our nation's farmers and manufacturers more opportunities to compete and succeed in the global economy."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who cosponsored the Senate version, said, “I’ve heard from countless Kentuckians about the success of our initial 2014 industrial hemp pilot programs and university studies in the Commonwealth. I am especially proud that Rep. Massie and I were able to work together in making those projects possible on the federal level via the 2014 Farm Bill. I support this legislation and look forward to seeing industrial hemp prosper in the Commonwealth.”
“I’m excited to join with Representative Massie to introduce common-sense, bipartisan legislation that will once again allow American farmers to benefit from industrial hemp,” said Representative Jared Polis. “The federal ban on hemp has been a waste of taxpayer dollars that ignores science, suppresses innovation, and subverts the will of states that have chosen to incorporate this versatile crop into their economies. I am hopeful that Congress will build on last year’s progress on hemp research and pilot programs by passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to allow this historical American crop to once again thrive on our farmlands.”
“From the first day I took office, I’ve worked with a bipartisan group of partners to unlock the potential of industrial hemp to create jobs and farm income,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. “We’ve made tremendous strides in a short time, but now we need to take the next step and make hemp production legal for anyone who wants to grow and process it. Rep. Massie has stood side by side with us from the beginning, and I appreciate all his efforts to get this done.” “Voters across the country have made it clear that they believe industrial hemp should be regulated as an agricultural commodity, not a drug," said Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a key Member in passing the Polis-Massie-Blumenauer amendment to the Farm Bill. "Last Congress, we made it clear that a majority of our colleagues feel the same way by passing an amendment to the Farm Bill allowing colleges and universities to grow industrial hemp for research purposes in states where it is already legal to do so. This legislation, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, is the critical next step, while at the same time creating meaningful jobs and restoring an important industry in the U.S.”
“The American family farmer is the backbone of this nation,” said Michael Lewis, a Rockcastle County, Ky., farmer who participated in a hemp pilot project in 2014. “With farmers struggling with rising expenses and declining prices for traditional crops, restoring the right to grow one of our nation’s historic cash crops makes sense. The time has come to remove the draconian regulations surrounding industrial hemp and enable the American farmer to rebuild our rural economy.”
Kentucky made significant progress on this issue in 2014 under the leadership of Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer at the state level and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senator Paul, and Representative Massie at the federal level. In early 2014, the President signed into law a Farm Bill that contained an expanded Polis-Massie-Blumenauer amendment allowing research institutions and state agriculture departments to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal to do so. Additionally, last December's CR/Omnibus included Congressman Massie's amendment to further support the hemp pilot projects enabled by the Farm Bill. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would finally remove the legal barriers that have prohibited the cultivation of hemp for commercial purposes.
Kentucky was a leading producer of the world’s industrial hemp supply during America’s early years as a nation. It is used in hundreds of products including paper, lotions, clothing, canvas, rope, and food. Critics of industrial hemp mistakenly equate it to marijuana. The plants are cousins in the cannabis family but industrial hemp does not contain a psychoactive amount of the intoxicant (THC) found in marijuana, making it ineffective as a drug. Hemp is grown in over 30 western nations including Canada, England and France.
On January 8th, 2015, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (S. 134) in the Senate.
Rep. Massie introduced an identical bill in the 113th Congress. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (H.R. 525) has 46 original cosponsors in the House, including House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-MN). The original cosponsors are: Reps Justin Amash (R-MI), Andy Barr (R-KY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Ken Buck (R-CO), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Lacy Clay (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Honda (D-CA), Raúl Labrador (R-ID), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Scott Perry (R-PA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Tim Walz (D-MN), Pete Welch (D-VT), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Don Young (R-AK), Todd Young (R-IN), John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Ryan Zinke (R-MT).
U.S. Representative Massie Proposes Repeal of Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced H.R. 86, the Safe Students Act, which would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.
The bill, originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in 2007, repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, which makes it “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.” In 1995, the Supreme Court held the GFSZA unconstitutional, which prompted Congress to amend the bill in 1996. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the amended Act.
“Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” said Massie. “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”
Representative Massie concluded: “A bigger federal government can’t solve this problem. Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”
As John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime writes, “Ask yourself: Would you feel safer with a sign on your house saying ‘this house is a gun-free zone’? But if you wouldn’t put these signs on your home, why put them elsewhere?”
Original Cosponsors include: Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC). Congressman Massie is Chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus in the 114th Congress.
For Immediate Release
Tuesday Jan 6, 2015
U.S. Representative Massie Introduces Bill to Audit the Federal Reserve
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Thomas Massie introduced H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015, also known as “Audit the Fed.” The bipartisan bill would require the Comptroller General to conduct a full examination of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks.
"The American public deserves more insight into the practices of the Federal Reserve,” Massie said. “Behind closed doors, the Fed crafts monetary policy that will continue to devalue our currency, slow economic growth, and make life harder for the poor and middle class.”
Former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), who has long championed this cause, originally introduced the bill in 2009.
Massie concluded, “It is time to force the Federal Reserve to operate by the same standards of transparency and accountability to the taxpayers that we should demand of all government agencies."
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015 was introduced with 64 bipartisan original co-sponsors. An identical bill introduced by former Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) in the 113th Congress overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives, 333-92.
A New Speaker is a Step in the Right Direction
by Congressman Thomas Massie
This OpEd originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Washington is broken, and the public knows it. Many have attributed our government’s dysfunction to factors such as campaign financing, gerrymandering, lack of transparency, career politicians, disregard for the Constitution and hyper-partisanship.
I concede all of these contribute to the problem. But after coming to Washington, I discovered a bigger, less obvious source of congressional dysfunction. The House of Representatives has devolved into a theatrical stage for congressmen to perform for their constituents, while most legislative power is vested within the office of speaker.
To understand the power that today’s speaker wields requires understanding how the House works. All legislation ostensibly passes through committees. The chair of each committee should in theory have the authority to make decisions regarding which bills will pass through his committee and receive a vote on the House floor.
However, pursuant to current House rules and procedures, the speaker is the sole and final authority regarding who becomes the chair of each committee, and which bills are allowed to be voted on by the full House. If a chairman refuses to conform to the speaker’s wishes, the speaker has the power to bypass that committee completely.
Our country deserves an orderly legislative process. However, the 113th Congress frequently followed anything but an orderly process. Witness the recent CR/Omnibus: This 1603-page bill was written behind closed doors, introduced two days before the vote with little time for debate, and contained numerous legislative riders irrelevant to the funding of the government. It was the speaker’s decision to create a fiscal crisis on the last legislative day before Christmas vacation.
This irresponsible brinksmanship was designed to give congressmen a choice between spending their Christmas vacation in D.C. or rubber-stamping the legislation without reading it. Those members who voted for the bill have aptly defended their vote, but I know of none who will strain their credibility by defending the process the speaker employed to pass it.
Numerous but less publicized examples of legislative malpractice exist. For instance, on March 27, 2014, our leadership suspected it did not have support to pass an unfunded $10 billion Medicare spending bill. After delaying the scheduled vote twice that morning, they told members the House was in recess. Then, after members dispersed to their offices, in the course of less than 53 seconds, our leadership gaveled the House back in session and passed the bill on a voice vote with less than a dozen members present. Nearly every member of Congress resents this abuse of the speaker’s power and none will defend it.
So why would 434 members perpetuate this centralized autocratic rule when they have the constitutional power to choose a new speaker Tuesday? Because for many members, this choice is an illusion. Voting against the speaker means jeopardizing your committee assignments, your fundraising opportunities, and literally your political career. Critics may call my vote unwise for these reasons, but I challenge them instead to defend the undemocratic manner in which the speaker has moved legislation through the House of Representatives.
Rather than defend their own vote for the current speaker, some will choose to spread misinformation about my vote. It is untrue that a vote for anyone other than the current speaker will cause Rep. Nancy Pelosi to be elected. To become speaker of the House, one must receive a majority rather than a plurality of the votes cast for candidates.
I will vote for a speaker who can articulate a constitutional vision for America and facilitate an inclusive and orderly legislative process that allows Congress to truly reflect the will of the people.
This OpEd originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.Read More
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U.S. Representative Thomas Massie entered Congress in November 2012 after serving as Lewis County Judge Executive. He represents Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District which stretches across Northern Kentucky and 280 miles of the Ohio River.
U.S. Representative Massie attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. During school, he invented a technology that enabled people to interact with computers using their sense of touch, and leveraged that technology to found SensAble Technologies, Inc., which raised over $32 million of venture capital, created 70 jobs, and obtained 24 patents. The hardware and software he developed is now used to design automobiles, jewelry, shoes, dental prosthetics, and even reconstructive implants for wounded soldiers.
In Congress, Thomas serves on three committees: the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure has jurisdiction over roads, bridges, mass transit, railroads, aviation, maritime and waterborne transit. Thomas’s selection to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee puts him in a position to hold the federal government accountable to taxpayers. Further, Rep. Massie’s background from MIT and the high-tech business world makes him uniquely qualified to serve his state and country on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Thomas lives on a cattle farm in Kentucky with his wife and high school sweetheart, Rhonda, and their four children.
He’s honored to be able to serve the citizens of Kentucky’s 4th District.
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Retweeted by RepThomasMassie
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