Feb 3, 2017

House plans vote on email privacy update — but watch the Senate

The House plans to vote next week on a bill that would require law enforcement get a warrant to search through electronic communications no matter how old they are, according to congressional leadership. Their intentions were first reported by Politico Pro.

Between the lines: It's no surprise that House leaders would want to move this bill — called the Email Privacy Act — quickly since it passed without a single no vote last year. Things could get more complicated in the Senate, where lawmakers have attempted in the past to put language into the bill that privacy advocates say would expand government surveillance powers.

Rubber, meet road: When asked about the bill this week, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley noted that he didn't yet have an agenda for this Congress. "If they take a somewhat different approach we would not discourage that at all," House Judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte said of his Senate colleagues while speaking to a lunch this week. Kevin Yoder, the Kansas Republican who sponsors the bill, encouraged the Senate to take up the issue "quickly."

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