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Today,  I joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce the Restoration Of America’s Wire Act

In 2011, the Department of Justice released a legal opinion regarding Internet gambling that abruptly reversed the position it held for fifty years and undercut laws Congress passed relying upon the DOJ’s legal views.  Overnight, we went from a nation in which all gambling on the Internet was illegal under federal law to one in which states could authorize almost any and every form of gambling on the Internet that they choose.

It is time to step in and fix the damage done to the Wire Act and allow Congress, the states, law enforcement, and the public an opportunity to fully review, assess, understand, and debate the significant policy implications entailed in the spread of Internet gambling.

 

Summary of Provisions

  • Section 1 – short title.
  • Section 2 – removes from the Wire Act the phrase “sporting event or contest,” adds definitions to some of the terms found in the Wire Act.

Explanation of Section 2:

    • The Wire Act uses the phrase “sporting event or contest” in one clause, but not in another.  While DOJ had always interpreted the Wire Act to ban all online gaming, the 2011 reversal – finding that it only prohibited sports betting - was predicated in part on the use of this phrase in only part of the Act.  Our bill will remove any ambiguity as to what form of online gambling the Wire Act applies to, and restore its longstanding interpretation.
    • Among the definitions, this bill exempts from the definition of “bet or wager” certain non-gambling activities to mirror the exemptions found in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA); things such as, e.g., securities transactions, insurance contracts, bank transaction, and certain fantasy sports.  This bill also makes clear that using a “wire communication facility” for gambling, includes using the Internet.

  • Section 3 – construction clause.

Explanation of Section 3:

  • Finally, we include a construction clause to clarify that our legislation does not alter, limit, or extend the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978; in-person, state licensed retail lottery sales; or state charitable gaming laws.

 

In addition, I also sent the following letter to the Utah Attorney General in response to a request he made on the DOJ’s legal opinion regarding online gambling:

Sen. Lee Responds to Letter Requesting Review of Wire Act Interpretation

The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act addresses deep problems in the federal government’s welfare programs that make it more difficult for low-income Americans to work their way into the middle class and stay there. This bill would get existing federal welfare programs under control and would help the working poor transition from poverty to opportunity and security.
I think Americans would agree that terrorist organizations with intentions of attacking the United States should not be able to access or benefit from assistance paid for by the American taxpayer. If the administration cannot guarantee that U.S assistance in Syria is not getting into the hands of terror organizations, the assistance pipeline must be shut.

Jan 21 2014

Fighting for PILT

After I learned that the recent omnibus spending bill didn't include funding for PILT, I held a conference call with several of Utah's county commissioners.  It is clearly a problem that a 1,500 page spending bill that spends over $1 trillion dollars doesn't provide funding to offset the financial burdens that are faced by states with high amounts of public land owned by the federal government.

Here are some highlights from the conference call:

This power might be used to enslave any particular state Spending bill that doesn't fund PILT spends $160 million for new land Those burdens remain there regardless How Senator Reid is Obstructing the Funding of PILT

On December 17, I appeared on The County Seat. Chad Booth and I had a great discussion about HB 148, and the fight to reduce excessive federal government ownership of public land in Utah.
A list of Senator Mike Lee's most popular tweets of 2013. Retweet your favorites.
On the night of Wednesday, December 18 at 7:00 p.m. MT, I will be holding my final tele-townhall of the year. We have had a busy year in Washington and there is much I want to discuss with the people of Utah.
You know, Mr. President, what's happening in the senate right now is more than just an attempt by the majority to end debate on nominees. It's an attempt to shut out the American people from the political process.
The “Transportation Empowerment Act” opens up America’s transportation system to greater local control, better targeted projects, and a more efficient way to maintain and improve the nation’s infrastructure. The law allows states to respond to the needs of their communities and develop systems that result in less traffic, shorter commutes, more affordable homes, and help families better manage the work-life balance.

Nov 13 2013

Bring Them In

Remarks to the Heritage Foundation’s Anti-Poverty Forum

And yet, as we approach the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s famous "War on Poverty" speech, we all know the statistics. Despite trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to eradicate poverty since the late 1960s, the poverty rate has hardly budged. And just last week, the Census Bureau reported that today, more than 49 million Americans still live below the poverty line.
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Conservative Reform Agenda

America’s crisis of unequal opportunity is the greatest challenge facing the United States today. We need to start developing a new conservative reform agenda that restores equal opportunity to the families and communities from whom it has been unfairly taken.