Sens. Leahy and Lee are what CDT calls the “dream team” supporters, introducing an ECPA reform bill.
Sen. Leahy is crucial because he’s the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which oversees digital privacy issues. That means his support can make or break a bill moving forward. He has the power to schedule hearings, assign committee staff to support a bill, and ask for support from a position of strength. When a bill coming before his committee is his own bill, expectations are that he’ll do everything in his power to get it out of his committee on a positive trajectory, with momentum.
Sen. Lee (and also Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist) matter because they’re notable Republican names. For a bill to be successful in today’s Senate, it needs support, or at least non-opposition, from both major parties. Sen. Lee has been active on tech issues, along with others in the Utah congressional delegation, such as Rep. Chaffetz. Sen. Lee is also on Judiciary.
With these two supporters, the bill is expected to see significant support. Further, last year, a similar bill gained unanimous support in a test vote by the committee. Everything adds up to positive momentum for reforming ECPA.
(full disclosure: PolitiHacks is contracted to the Center for Democracy and Technology on this issue)