H.R. 2711: Citizen Empowerment Act

H.R. 2711

Citizen Empowerment Act

Date
July 31, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 2711, the Citizen Empowerment Act, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on July 17, 2013 by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote.  It was also referred to Committee on Judiciary, which waived consideration of the bill.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2711 amends Title 5, Part III of the U.S. Code to allow individuals to have the right to record in-person and telephonic interactions with Executive agency employees.  This bill ensures that individuals across the Nation have the right to record their meetings and telephone exchanges with federal officials, including regulatory officials engaged in enforcement activities.  It also requires that individuals be notified of such right by agencies, which must provide notice of the right to record in written material they send to individuals concerning an audit, investigation, inspection, etc. that could lead to a penalty.  Agencies must also post information about the right to record on their web sites. The bill as reported ensures that law enforcement would not be impacted adversely with burdensome notification requirements.  Also, undercover investigations and wiretap surveillance would not be interfered with. 

Background

Federal officials representing agencies such as the IRS, EPA or SEC sometimes engage in harassing, intimidating or otherwise inappropriate behavior when dealing with members of the public who may face the potential of a fine or penalty.  When this behavior occurs, the individual being harassed may be left with no proof of what was said.  Currently, the right to record conversations with federal officials varies, depending on which state an individual resides.  This bill would ensure that individuals around the Nation are able to record conversations with federal officials without having to request consent from officials who may arbitrarily refuse to provide it

Cost

Enacting this legislation would have no significant impact on administrative costs, according to the CBO.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.