ARCHIVED: Press Release: AALL Supports The E-Government Act of 2001

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AALL Supports The E-Government Act of 2001

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2001

Mary Alice Baish
American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
Acting Washington Affairs Representative
(202) 662-9200

Today Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the E-Government Act of 2001 that is crucial to the development of an efficient coordinated system to assist Federal agencies in making optimum use of the Internet to improve citizen access to electronic government information. AALL believes strongly in the fundamental principle that the availability of government and legal information to all people is a necessary requirement for a just and democratic society and a valuable public good created at taxpayer expense. We believe it is the obligation of the Federal Government to ensure that government and legal information is authentic and permanently available to the public in an easily accessible and professionally maintained environment regardless of format. AALL commends Senator Lieberman for his commitment to improving citizen access to government information by introducing this important legislation that will harness the Internet to achieve these important goals of our democratic society.

The bill focuses on specific areas that are crucial to making electronic government information more accessible to the American public. It creates a new position of Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the executive branch and a new Office of Information Policy within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This will result in greater visibility for Federal information dissemination and will address the many challenges of the electronic environment. Important duties of this new position include working with other entities, both within and outside of Government, to improve coordination for electronic dissemination; to develop interoperability standards to improve the search capabilities across agency web sites; and to ensure permanent public access to web-based government information. In addition, two key provisions of the bill will improve public access to judicial information by mandating that Federal courts develop and maintain comprehensive web sites and by repealing current statutory language to make the judiciary's electronic PACER system available to the public at no cost.

Additionally, AALL would like to commend the bipartisan group of co-sponsors for their support of this important legislation: Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI).

Founded in 1906, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is a non-profit professional organization that exists to support and serve its members, promote and enhance the value of law libraries, foster law librarianship, and provide leadership and advocacy in the field of legal information and information policy. Today, with over 5,000 members nationwide, the Association represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with a wide range of institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies.