FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 1999
Mary Alice Baish
Associate Washington Affairs Representative
E.B. Williams Law Library
Dear AALL Members,
A quick update on today's Commerce Committee mark up of H.R. 1858, the
database bill that includes AALL language excluding primary legal materials.
Chairman Bliley's opening remarks noted that there is opposition to the bill
from realtors and the legal publishing industry. He added that Commerce
staff would work over the August recess with staff of the House Judiciary
Committee, who have already reported out H.R. 354, the database legislation
which we oppose.
Our language, Sec. 104(f), came under heavy attack from several Commerce
Committee members, which was not unexpected. Ranking Member John Dingell
(D-MI) noted that the bill provides unfettered access to facts in the
public domain. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) reiterated that one of the purposes
of the legislation is to make more government information available to the
The Committee unanimously voted in support of Chairman Bliley's substitute
amendment that broadens the definition of government database and does
include Sec. 104(f). However, Mr. Tauzin pointed out that the bill is a
"work-in-progress" and that it is important to find the proper balance with
So, we must continue our efforts to urge support for H.R. 1858 and to raise
the consciousness, particularly of the Committee leadership, about the need
to retain the language of Sec. 104(f).
Our membership has done a marvelous job in responding to our grassroots
alerts on this important issue. Thank you! As Bob and I continue
negotiations here in Washington, please continue with your important
advocacy work and keep those letters and phone calls coming.
FYI, AALL's August 4th letter to Commerce Committee members is at:
Thank you, Mary Alice