Dear Neighbor,

We began March by honoring Texas Independence Day and the fall of the Alamo. Reading about Texas history is one of my favorite past times. It’s what makes us unique as Texans. It’s what makes us proud. The history of our independence and 9 years as a sovereign nation explains a lot about the independent streak that runs through all Texans. It is not just a state of mind for Texans; it’s a way of life. 

Showing off my Texas cuff links on Texas Independence Day

Last week, I had the opportunity to teach three middle school classes at Atascocita and Creekwood about our Texas history. I was impressed by how much these young Texans knew about our history – a great testament to our teachers and parents in our district. I loved every minute of it. This was also the first year that I posted a live feed of my lesson so that constituents throughout the district could tune in and hear more about our history.

You can watch the lesson here.

With students at Atascocita Middle School after I spoke to them.

After returning to Washington, I participated in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a topic that’s been dominating headlines lately: encryption. Recently, a federal judge ordered Apple to create new technology that would give the FBI “backdoor access” to IPhones. As a former prosecutor and judge, I have strong concerns with the government mandating a private company to re-engineer their product by creating new technology, technology that can be used to infringe on the privacy of all Americans. I am also leading an amicus brief in support of Apple’s appeal of the court order.

Questioning FBI Director James Comey at the Judiciary Committee's Hearing on encryption

To combat the overreach of power, I have introduced the bipartisan End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act (H.R. 2233) to not only prohibit warrantless searches of government databases for information on U.S. citizens, but also forbid government agencies from mandating “back doors” into commercial products. These "master keys" for phones can be used for surveillance by our government. We’ve seen the federal government violate the constitutional protections guaranteed to every American. Congress must act and pass legislation to end this; otherwise, citizens can never be sure that their private conversations are safe from the eyes of the government.

What do you think about the Federal Courts forcing Apple to create a backdoor?