ARCHIVED: Senate Cosponsors Needed for S. 2288, the "Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998"

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September 3, 1998

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration has scheduled its mark-up hearing on S. 2288 for THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th. Our immediate goal is to have ALL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE (see list below) cosponsor S. 2288 by the time of the mark-up hearing.

Over the course of the past week, I have personally visited with the staff members listed below, and for many, that visit was their first real look at the legislation and its importance to the library community and to the public's right to government information. In addition, since the July 29th Senate Rules Committee hearing on S. 2288 at which Bob Oakley testified in full support of the legislation on behalf of AALL and the Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy (IAWG), opposition to many provisions of the bill has been growing.

This opposition comes from representatives of the executive branch, the judiciary, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the private sector, including those whose interests are in the sale of duplicating machines to federal agencies and in the privatization of government publications.

While I am working closely with Senate staff to counter this opposition, we need full grassroots support to urge all members of the Senate--particularly those listed below as members of the Senate Rules Committee--to cosponsor this bill. At this point in time, a SHORT FAXED LETTER is the most effective lobbying tool so that there is a tangible record of constituent support for staff to share with members of the Senate.

Suggested "talking points" follow. Bob's testimony of July 29th and his response to follow-up questions from the hearing are at: http://www.aallnet.org/aallwash/testimony.asp.

AALL MEMBERS NEED TO STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PARTICIPATION OF THE COURTS IN THIS REFORM OF TITLE 44.
Please see the Q & A from Senator Warner to Bob regarding access to court opinions at: http://www.aallnet.org/aallwash/tm0729a2.asp.

Additional information about S. 2288 is also available from the IAWG website at: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/IAWG.

ACTION NEEDED:

* Urge your Senators to cosponsor S. 2288, the "Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998" and to support its enactment when it is considered by the Rules Committee and/or the full Senate.

REASONS TO SUPPORT S. 2288:

  • S. 2288 is important legislation the will IMPROVE AND ENHANCE PUBLIC ACCESS, and will bring Title 44 and the Federal Depository Library Program into the electronic age. Our democracy is based on the right of all citizens to participate in their government. The convergence of technological innovation coupled with a lack of compliance with current U.S.C. Title 44 together create barriers to the public's ability to locate and use government information.

  • S. 2288 will resolve the "fugitive documents" problem and stop the erosion of public access to government publications occurring today. It will ensure that the public has access to government information, paid for at taxpayer expense, from all three branches of government--INCLUDING THE FEDERAL COURTS.

  • S. 2288 will ensure that electronic government publications are preserved and permanently available for current and future users. This will address the current loss of government information taking place on a daily basis as agencies delete files from their Web sites without first providing for ongoing access.

ENACTMENT OF S. 2288 NEEDED THIS YEAR:

  • Every day that goes by that the reforms in S. 2288 are not in place, the American public loses access to important government information that they have paid for and that they have a right to access. S. 2288 must be enacted this year to stop the erosion of public access; to ensure compliance by agencies from all three branches of government with their dissemination responsibilities; and to ensure current and future access to electronic government publications.

  • Congress and the Administration have been examining Title 44 issues for several years. S. 2288 is the result of extensive discussions and negotiations with a broad array of stakeholders over the past 18+ months. The library community has been a full and proactive player in these negotiations, AND WE REPRESENT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO ACCESS GOVERNMENT INFORMATION. The congressional leadership is in place now to see that the process is completed by the end of the 105th Congress. S. 2288 must be enacted this year.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this critically important matter. Please be sure to identify yourself as a member of AALL in your correspondence with your Senators, and to send us a copy. Thank you very much,

Mary Alice Baish
AALL Assistant Washington Affairs Representative
202.662.9200
FAX: 202.662.9202
baish@law.georgetown.edu


SENATE COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
STAFF CONTACTS

John Warner (R-VA), Chairman
CO-SPONSOR OF S.2288
Staff: Grayson Winterling 202-224-8824; FAX: 202-224-6295

Jesse Helms (R-NC)
Staff: Joe Lanier 202-224-6342; FAX: 202-228-1339

Ted Stevens (R-AK)
Staff: Butch Burke 202-224-3004; FAX: 202-224-2354

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Staff: Leslie Cupp 202-224-2541; FAX: 202-224-2499

Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Staff: Michael Loeshe 202-224-5054; FAX: 202-224-9450

Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Staff: Will Sears 202-224-6324; FAX: 202-228-0604

Don Nickles (R-OK)
Staff: Kourtney Spencer 202-224-5754; FAX:202-224-6008

Trent Lott (R-MS)
Staff: Robert Wilkey 202-224-3135; FAX: 202-224-2262

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Staff: Quin Dodd 202-224-5922; FAX: 202-224-0776

Wendell Ford (D-KY), Ranking Minority Member
CO-SPONSOR OF S.2288
Staff: Kennie Gill 202-224-6351; FAX: 202-224-5400

Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Staff: 202-224-3954; FAX: 202-228-0002

Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Staff: Chrystin Alston 202-224-3934; FAX: 202-224-6747

Daniel Moynihan (D-NY)
Staff: Mark Bradley 202-224-4451; FAX: 202-228-0406

Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Staff: Allison Marinoff 202-224-2823; FAX: 202-224-1083

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Staff: Matt Miller 202-224-3841; FAX: 202-228-4741

Robert Torricelli (D-NJ)
Staff: Keith Roachford 202-224-3224; FAX: 202-224-8567