Public Affairs Committee
Report on Significant Developments
Joanne C. Kiley
Keith Ann Stiverson
Spencer Simons – Chair
Pegeen Bassett - Liaison
– 108th Congress
Several bills have been introduced
in the 108th Congress having to do with the scope
of the government’s ability under the USA PATRIOT Act and other applicable
statutes to investigate terrorism and possible terrorists within the United
States. The most important of these for libraries are:
The Freedom to Read
Protection Act of 2003
Introduced by Representative
Bernard Sanders of Vermont on March 3, 2003, the Freedom to Read Protection
Act of 2003 (H.R. 1157) would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act (FISA) to provide that no application could be made under Section
501 (the provision added by the USA PATRIOT Act that permits the FBI to
seize business records) “…with either the purpose or effect of searching
for, or seizing from, a bookseller or library documentary materials that
contain personally identifiable information concerning a patron of a bookseller
or library.” The Act would also expand the reporting requirements under
FISA to require disclosure every six months of the number of applications
made and orders granted, modified or denied under Section 501. The bill
was referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and on Intelligence.
The Domestic Surveillance
Oversight Act of 2003
Senator Patrick Leahy, also
of Vermont, introduced S. 436 on February 25, 2003.
S. 436 would amend FISA to require that the DOJ issue a public annual
report on the number of U.S. persons targeted and the number of times
the Attorney General has authorized that information collected pursuant
to a FISA order be used in a criminal proceeding and to require that the
semiannual report the FBI makes to the intelligence and judiciary committees
include a separate category for requests made to public libraries or institutions
of higher education. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee
on the Judiciary. In his remarks upon introduction of the bill, Senator
Leahy referred to a report entitled “FBI Oversight in the 107th Congress
by the Senate Judiciary Committee: FISA Implementation Failures,” stating
that it “…sets forth our bipartisan disappointment with the DOJ and FBI’s
non-responsiveness to our oversight efforts and the resulting necessity
for better oversight tools, such as the bill we introduce today.” That
report is available online at http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/fisa.html
Orrin Hatch proposal
to repeal the sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Several provisions of the USA
PATRIOT Act will expire unless extended by
Congress on or before December 31, 2005. This sunset clause was frequently
cited in the legislative history and subsequent public debate about the
USA PATRIOT Act as a safeguard of civil liberties impacted by the Act.
Senator Orrin Hatch has drafted a proposal that would repeal these sunset
provisions which is under discussion in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
See an April 9, 2003 article in the New York Times “Republicans Want Terror
Law Made Permanent” reprinted at http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0409-01.htm
(Contact: Margaret Schilt)
Updates on Previously
Reported Pending Legislation
Senate Resolution 54
– Internet Access to Certain Congressional Documents
Senate Resolution 54 was introduced by Senators McCain, Leahy, Lieberman,
and Harkin on February 11, 2003. The resolution mandates and provides
a mechanism for making certain Congressional documents available to the
public through the Internet.
AALL is one of more than thirty organizations that signed a letter endorsing
The AALL Washington Affairs
Office is working with the sponsors’ staff to develop amending language
that “public access” be “permanent.” Members are encouraged to call their
Senators to urge them to cosponsor S.Res. 54 and to make these publications
permanently available to the public through the Internet.
Current Status: Two new co-sponsors,
Senators Feingold and Cornyn, have been added.
The resolution has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
(Contact: Spencer Simons)
The Digital Media Consumers’
Rights Act of 2003 (the DMCRA or “Boucher Bill”)
H.R. 107 was introduced on January 7 by Rep. Boucher of Virginia, a strong
supporter of fair use and consumer rights. The bill would empower the
Federal Trade Commission to ensure adequate labeling on non-standard “copy
protected compacts discs,” which are causing confusion and increased burdens
on consumers. The bill also would amend Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA) to “restore the historic balance in U.S. copyright
law” that fair use provisions formerly ensured. An AALL Washington Affairs
Office action alert asks members of the Association to write to their
Member of Congress to urge that the Member co-sponsor the Boucher bill.
The bill deserves our active support.
Current Status: There are now 11 co-sponsors. The bill has been referred
to the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.
(Contact: Keith Ann Stiverson)
The Proposed Domestic
Security Enhancement Act of 2003 (so-called Patriot II)
Early in February, a draft
dated January 9, 2003 of a proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act
of 2003 was leaked to the Center for Public Integrity, which immediately
posted the draft on its website,
www.publicintegrity.org . This Act is designed to expand the powers
for government surveillance given to the Department of Justice under the
USA PATRIOT Act. The DOJ’s new proposal contains some very troubling provisions.
Continuing vigilance is needed to ensure that this is not introduced and
passed without serious debate, as was the USA PATRIOT Act. (contact: Margaret
UCITA was introduced in Nevada in late March, but was withdrawn by the
Senate Judiciary Committee after a hearing. Law librarians and the insurance
lobby were instrumental in getting the legislation withdrawn. There has
been no recent movement that we can discover to introduce UCITA in Illinois.
If any of you hear something to the contrary, please contact Keith Ann
of the Public Affairs Committee.
State DMCA legislation
Eight state legislatures, including
Illinois, have passed model or revised legislation that focuses on digital
piracy. In Illinois, Public Act 92-0728 was approved July 25, 2002, and
became effective January 1, 2003 as an amendment to the Criminal Code.
Overall, the legislation seeks to protect online content by expanding
the scope of theft of communication services. It has the potential of
converting an ordinary breach of contract into a criminal infraction.
This legislation largely duplicates the intention and the protective mechanisms
inherent in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed by Congress
in 1998 with the stated purpose of preventing digital piracy. However,
unlike the DMCA, which builds in certain exceptions and limitations to
permit legitimate activities, the state versions do not.
The other states are: Arkansas,
Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Similar
bills also are pending in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and
The Federal DMCA remains controversial
because it has had a chilling effect on academic research, access to information,
and the ability of libraries to preserve digital material.
(Contact: Keith Ann Stiverson)
County Law Library
Filing Fee – House Bill 475
Bills to increase the county law library fees for civil cases have been
introduced in the previous two sessions of the Illinois Legislature, but
died in committee each time. These fees are the primary source of funding
for county law libraries. The effort has been renewed this year, with
the introduction of House Bill 475 by Rep. Mark H. Beaubien, Jr. (R –
52nd Dist.). The bill as originally drafted would have amended the Counties
Code (55 ILCS 5/5-39001), to provide that a county board may authorize
the clerk of the circuit court to charge litigants in civil cases a fee,
not to exceed $19. This maximum would be increased by $1 per year from
2004 through 2008. The bill was amended in the House Committee on the
Judiciary I-Civil Law Committee to authorize a fee not in excess of $13,
with no escalation schedule. The bill has been re-referred to the House
Rules Committee. (Contact: Spencer Simons)