GRC Report: October 1999
I think I can speak for all of us who participated in the first-ever AALL legislative advocacy pre-conference by describing the experience as exciting and energizing. Visits to Members of Congress reminded us that individuals DO make a difference. We hope that many of you will join us this year in our advocacy efforts. In addition, we have proposed a 1/2 day pre-conference workshop for next year's annual meeting in Philadelphia to build on this year's success.
The GRC Legislative and Regulatory Update at the annual meeting provided a good summary of important issues. Washington Affairs Representative Bob Oakley and Associate Representative Mary Alice Baish reported on the many activities they were involved in during 1998/99 and issues coming up. The chief focus for GRC last year was AALL's involvement with other organizations on Title 44 reform and also the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The chief focus in the coming year is legislation to protect databases. AALL's amending language in H.R. 1858, the Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act , would ensure that primary legal information in electronic form would not be covered by such legislation. The guest speaker at the Update, Jonathan Band, is an attorney with the Washington office of Morrison & Foerster who specializes in intellectual property and Internet regulation. Mr. Band has worked with the Digital Future Coalition and has represented many information technology clients on subjects of interest to libraries, including the issue of access to information in the electronic age. He described the long and checkered history of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA, formerly U.C.C.2B), and the reasons that many have opposed its passage. [As expected, however, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws approved UCITA by a wide margin the week after the annual meeting.] Our focus will shift to state legislatures; GRC will be calling on AALL chapters to rally opposition at the state level.
For those of you who want to know more about UCITA, or any of the other issues GRC and the Washington Affairs Office are working on, please visit the AALL Web page. Click on 'Washington Affairs' and then follow the links such as "Reports" to get the full text of issue briefs and other information. If you would like to join a new advocacy listserv to receive regular updates and calls to action, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I will add your email address to our growing list.
The Government Printing Office was awarded the 1999 AALL Public Access to Government Information Award, which was established to honor an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to protect and promote greater public access to government information. GPO received the honor in recognition of the recent enhancements to GPO Access. Criteria to be used in judging the award are: a contribution that significantly improves public access to government information, thereby increasing the public's knowledge about the workings of government; the extent to which the nominee has had a positive impact on protecting and promoting public access to federal, state, or local government information; and the extent to which the nominee's effort advances the AALL mission and government relations policy.
Submitted by Keith Ann Stiverson, Chair, Government Relations Committee Phone 512-471-7240; email email@example.com