AALL believes that citizens possess the right to access the documents and proceedings of their government in order to allow for effective public oversight. The public’s right to know promotes equal and equitable access to government, and reduces secrecy and undue influence from special interests. AALL believes that federal, state, and local governments should be committed to openness, transparency, public participation, and collaboration.
AALL strongly supports classification policies that promote opening the government to the greatest extent possible. Recognizing the need to balance security and transparency, we urge lawmakers to prioritize transparency where possible by supporting policies that limit classification and encourage declassification.
Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is an essential federal open government law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the federal government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants nine exemptions to the statute. AALL works to support strong open government laws and has long advocated for improvements to FOIA.
Issue Briefs and Reports
- Advocacy One-Pager, Cosponsor the Open and Responsive Government Act (October 2019)
- Letter to Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget and Melanie Pustay, Director, Office of Information Policy, Urging agencies to finalize proactive “Release to One, Release to All” FOIA disclosure policy (October 31, 2017)
- Letter to Members of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives, To urge members to consider the consequences of expanding categories of records not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (September 27, 2017)
AALL strongly supports network neutrality, the principle that ensures that all internet traffic is treated equally. Network neutrality has kept the Internet open and non-discriminatory and has allowed it to thrive and flourish, promoting innovation, competition, and intellectual freedom.
Issue Briefs and Reports
- Advocacy One-Pager, Support the Save the Internet Act (July 2019)
- Letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Asking him to bring the Save the Internet Act, S.682, to a vote (June 11, 2019)
- Letter to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Urging House members to pass the Save the Internet Act, H.R. 1644 (April 2, 2019)
- Before the Federal Communications Commission, Comments of the American Association of Law Libraries, the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, American Library Association, and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, GN Docket No. 17-108 (July 17, 2017)
- Letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson, In support of net neutrality (March 7, 2017)
Many issues fall under the umbrella of Open Government, including increased access to non-classified government records and government oversight.
- Letter to Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Peters, In support of the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act of 2019, H.R. 150/S. 1829 (June 18, 2019)
- Letter to Dr. Keith Hall, Congressional Budget Office, To express appreciation of the Congressional Budget Office’s efforts to ensure budget transparency and to encourage digital best practices (June 19, 2017)