Vol. 2014, Issue 01
A Look Ahead
Advocacy in the New Year
The 113th Congress will return to Washington this
week to begin its second session of work. With midterm elections slated for November,
the 2014 agenda will likely be shaped by election-year politics and hot button
issues like tax code reform, unemployment benefits, healthcare, and the federal
minimum wage. Amid these political battles come renewed opportunities to
advocate for AALL’s
top policy priorities and educate lawmakers (and their campaign challengers!)
about the importance of those issues affecting law libraries.
The 113th Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J.Res. 59),
which President Obama signed into law on December 26, 2013. The law determined
the level of federal discretionary spending for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 and reduced
the impact of sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts that
went into effect in 2013. Since the deal is a budget resolution, which
sets overall spending levels but does not specify funding for every specific
federal program, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees must now write
appropriations bills to finish the budgeting process for Fiscal Year 2014
before January 15, the expiration date of the current Continuing Resolution.
Appropriations Committee staff has been working through the holidays to pull
together a draft omnibus package— 12 bills in one— which will have to pass both
As we saw in the first session of the 113th, the
new normal for the federal budget process is more uncertainty. With such ambiguous and short term budgets, agencies
like the Government Printing Office (GPO), Library of Congress, and National
Archives and Records Administration have been unable to undertake new projects
or, in some cases, continue scheduled activities. Despite increasing demands
for access to and preservation of print and electronic legal materials, these
agencies have been forced to do more with less.
This modest budget compromise and prospective omnibus should
bring greater stability to agency operations in 2014. For instance, with
greater budget assurance, the GPO has rescheduled
its Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library
Conference for April 30-May 2, 2014. AALL will continue to advocate for
increased funding for those agencies whose work ensures public access to
information, so stay tuned for future calls for action this year.
In terms of committee work in the second session of the 113th
Congress, we expect to see more oversight hearings in the Republican-controlled
House. The House Judiciary Committee will continue its series of hearings on copyright reform,
with a focus on fair use, the scope of copyright protection, and notice and
takedown in 2014. The Committee on House Administration may hold additional
hearings on GPO ), and it’s likely we’ll continue to hear more about a possible
name change to the Government Publishing
Office. We also expect to see more hearings on the National Security
Administration’s (NSA) surveillance program in the both the Judiciary and
Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already scheduled a hearing for
January 14 on the recent
report of the President's Review Group on Intelligence and
While midterm elections are still ten months away, the
political climate of 2014 will make it easier to get to know your members of
Congress as they spend more time at home to campaign. By preparing
early— learning about your lawmakers and their committee assignments, taking
stake of the coalitions and allies in your area, reading our advocacy
one-pagers on top issues, and introducing yourself to the GRO— you’ll be
ready to advocate for AALL when we call on you. One easy way to help us do that
is by taking our Advocacy
Team Survey, where you can provide your home address so that we can match
you with your members of Congress and send targeted messages when their votes
matter, and where you can let us know about your top interests so that we can
keep you engaged.
In 2014, the GRO will be hosting quarterly online advocacy
trainings. Information about the first training (January 29) is
available below. Be sure to also save the date for March 27, when the
Government Relations Office will host our second-annual Local
Advocate Lobby Day in Washington, DC. You’ll become an expert on our top
priority issues and learn best practices for successful advocacy, then head to
Capitol Hill to meet with your members of Congress to lobby them on our top
AALL’s advocacy program relies on the participation of our
member advocates and it’s with your help that we’ve been able to make
significant strides. The GRO looks
forward to continuing to work together to advance these important policy issues
that affect law librarians in 2014 and thank you for all that you do!
Training "The 113th Continued" on January 29
Join the GRO staff on Wednesday,
January 29 at 12:00 p.m. EST for our first quarterly online advocacy training
of 2014, “The 113th Continued: What to Expect in
Congress's Second Session." The 113th Congress has begun its second session and with
its start comes renewed opportunity for law librarian advocacy on top priority
policy issues like copyright, privacy, and agency appropriations. With the
November midterm elections looming and continued budget and debt ceiling
debates, this Congress will face a hefty to-do list. We’ll provide an overview
of the major legislative actions, opportunities, and events to expect in the
second session of the 113th Congress, highlighting where your help is needed
most. You’ll learn about the upcoming political landscape, identify strategic
opportunities, and gain the confidence you need to make a difference in 2014.
This training is complimentary for AALL and chapter members.
online by Monday, January 27.
Nominations for PAGI
and Oakley Advocacy Awards due February 1
AALL’s Government Relations Committee is continuing to
collect nominations for the 2014 Public
Access to Government Information (PAGI) and Robert
L. Oakley Advocacy awards. If you would like to nominate an individual
or group for one or both of these prestigious awards, please send your nominations
to Government Relations Committee chair Susan Nevelow Mart by February 1. More information about
these prestigious awards is available on the Washington
Register now for
AALL’s Local Advocate Lobby Day on March 27
Please join AALL President Steven P. Anderson, GRO staff, local
chapters, and AALL members at AALL’s
second-annual Local Advocate Lobby Day on March 27. At this full-day
event, you’ll become an expert on our top priority issues and learn best
practices for successful advocacy. Then, you’ll put your knowledge
into practice, attending pre-scheduled meetings with your members of Congress
and/or their staff to advocate for AALL’s policy positions.
According to a 2011
survey by the Congressional Management Foundation, 97 percent of congressional staff
say that in-person visits from constituents have an influence on the
member. As law librarians and members of AALL, you are experts who represent not only
yourselves, but your profession, other librarians, and your
patrons. Exercise your influence to make a difference for libraries!
Day is free of charge for
all AALL members and chapter members. Breakfast, coffee, lunch
and an afternoon snack will be provided. Participants will have the
opportunity to visit area sites including the Library of Congress, Law
Library of Congress, and Folger Shakespeare Library during afternoon free
RSVP to Elizabeth
Holland at email@example.com by March 1.
AALL in the States
Submit your Chapter Advocacy Updates
Chapters are invited to share news, events, and policy updates with the
broader AALL membership via this monthly column in the Washington
E-Bulletin. To submit chapter advocacy news, contact Elizabeth
Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roundup and Review
- New Year greetings
from the Law Librarian of Congress!
- AALL urges
the FCC to provide permanent public access to legal materials.
- Here’s our summary
of the White House’s ambitious second
National Action Plan on open government.
- The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group has completed its
6th annual analysis of link rot in
legal resources on the web.
- NSA Review Group report
calls for limits on surveillance. We agree.