Washington eBulletin – September 2018

A Look Ahead

Congress Gets Back  to Work

While news coverage of Capitol Hill is focused on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, there’s plenty of action elsewhere on the Hill and around Washington. Federal government funding is set to run out in just 11 legislative days, and the House and Senate mustreach an agreement and enact the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 spending bills before the new fiscal year starts on October 1, 2018 or risk a government shutdown weeks before the midterm elections. As we wrote in the July Washington eBulletin, AALL is pleased that the FY 2019 House and Senate Legislative Branch appropriations bills fully fund the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and provide millions of dollars above the requested level for the Library of Congress. We look forward to enactment of strong FY 2019 funding numbers for these agencies.

Politico reports that congressional leadership will visit the White House this week for a meeting with President Trump to discuss the fall legislative agenda. These types of strategy meetings are important for the majority party heading into an election, and may set the course for the 64 days before the midterms. Judicial nominations, immigration, the looming government shutdown, the Russia investigation, and social media transparency are likely to dominate the headlines during the next few weeks. However, AALL remains hopeful that the House will approve our top priority bill, the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5305), before the retirements of bill sponsors Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Bob Brady (D-Pa.) at the end of the year.

Act Now

Register for the Federal Depository Library Conference

Join your colleagues at the Government Publishing Office’s annual Federal Depository Library Conference from October 22 – 24, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia, or attend virtually. This year’s event will feature a keynote presentation from Katherine Zwaard, director of digital strategy at the Library of Congress.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL and the American Library Association offered suggestions to GPO in response to the agency’s proposal to provide copyright information in its bibliographic records.
  • We signed on to a letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve President Trump’s nominees for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, an independent agency charged with reviewing federal counterterrorism programs to ensure that they provide adequate safeguards for privacy and civil liberties.
  • The Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress issued a new report providing a fascinating look at agency information policy practices and awareness of Title 44 requirements. The report, Disseminating and Preserving Digital Public Information Products Created by the U.S. Federal Government: A Case Study Report, identifies lifecycle management challenges and makes recommendations to GPO on how to foster productive relationships with agencies and take proactive steps to ensure all in-scope content is acquired for dissemination. 

Washington eBulletin – August 2018

A Look Ahead

A Busy August Recess

Despite the less crowded halls of Congress, Capitol Hill continues to buzz during the August recess. While the House of Representatives is out until after Labor Day, the Senate remains in session, with a calendar filled with appropriations bills and Presidential nominations. However, we do not yet know whether the Senate Rules and Administration Committee will consider the nomination of Robert C. Tapella to be director of the Government Publishing Office this month or after Labor Day.

Across the street from the Capitol at the Library of Congress, dedicated employees are working to provide public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports before the September 2018 deadline, as mandated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141). While AALL looks forward to seeing the reports online, we are concerned with problems identified in recent letters from members of Congress and public interest groups about the Library’s implementation plan. We hope the Library will consider the suggestions offered by these knowledgeable parties so that it may effectively meet the statutory mandate to provide access to all non-confidential CRS reports.

The recent House Committee on House Administration’s hearing, Oversight of the Library of Congress’ Strategic Plan, Part 2, provided an opportunity for members of Congress to ask questions about the Library’s strategic plan and current initiatives. We were pleased that Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) asked Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden about access to CRS reports, as well as how the Library’s significant realignment will impact the Law Library of Congress.

In response to Congresswoman Lofgren’s question about the Library realignment, Dr. Hayden said:

The Law Library of the Library of Congress is a separate service unit, is the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of legal resources and it is entirely devoted to making sure that those materials and resources are available not only to Congress but also some of the federal judicial system as well. And the reporting structure in the Library realignment is to make sure that the Law Library, like the other service units, Copyright and CRS, can concentrate on their mission-specific activities. So they will continue to be independent, they will have their own management of their collections, and will operationally function the way they are now.

You can watch the exchange here (begins at 47:10). The Library’s realignment is an issue of great interest to AALL, and we will continue to monitor its impact on the Law Library of Congress.

Act Now

Register for the Federal Depository Library Conference

Join your colleagues at the Government Publishing Office’s annual Federal Depository Library Conference from October 22 – 24, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia, or attend virtually. This year’s event will feature a keynote presentation from Katherine Zwaard, director of digital strategy at the Library of Congress.

Roundup and Review

  • The recordings and handouts for the 2018 AALL Annual Meeting, including the AALL Public Policy Update (B7) and Advocacy Leadership (C7) session are available on AALLNET.
  • A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that industry groupscannot control publication of binding laws and standards. AALL had joined more than 60 organizations, companies, librarians and professors as amici curiae in response to American Society for Testing and Materials et al. v. Public.Resource.Org.
  • AALL urged the House Committee on House Administration to allow the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 4631) to go to the House floor for a vote.

Washington eBulletin – July 2018

A Look Ahead

GPO and Library of Congress Fare Well Under Appropriations Bills

The House and Senate have approved their Legislative Branch Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding bills as part of the “minibus”, a small omnibus package that includes the Energy and Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills. The minibus bills will now go to conference.

Whatever happens in conference, the bills should bring good news for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress. The House and Senate bills fully fund the GPO and provide millions of dollars above the requested level for the Library of Congress to support services to the public and modernize information technology systems.

The House report specifically recognizes the importance of the Law Library of Congress’s digitization efforts, and encourages the Law Library to work with the Library of Congress, “to engage in a digitization strategy as part of the Library’s overall digitization strategy to increase online access to major parts of its collections, such as the U.S. Serial Sets and Supreme Court Records and briefs.”

The House report also includes a number of other items that would increase access to government information. For example, the Committee report expresses support for the Legislative Branch Bulk Data Task Force, as AALL President Greg Lambert had urged in his testimony before the Legislative Branch Subcommittee. The report directs GPO to assess the costs associated with converting the Statutes at Large from 1789-2002 into structured data, rather than PDF, to increase its usefulness. GPO is already in the process of converting all Statutes at Large from the 108th Congress forward into digital format. In addition, the House encourages the Library and GPO to publish a unified calendar for House and Senate hearings and markups on Congress.gov. This would be the first time a unified calendar would be available to the public.

Act Now

Learn Advocacy Skills in Baltimore

We’ll see in your Baltimore for AALL’s advocacy training, Advocacy Leadership: Law Librarians Ignite Change (C7), on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. You’ll learn how to use your knowledge, passion, and research skills to combat attempts to erode freedom of information, net neutrality, privacy, and access to justice. You’ll also have an opportunity to join AALL’s Advocacy Team, a network of law librarians who are committed to championing legal information. This year’s program will be preceded by the AALL Public Policy Update, which will inform participants about the Association’s legislative priorities and activities. In addition, Public Access to Government Information Award winners Kyle K. Courtney and the State Copyright Resource Center Team and Robert L. Oakley Advocacy Award winner Peggy Roebuck Jarrett will receive their awards and give brief remarks.

AALL in the States

Updates to AALL State Online Legal Information Website

AALL’s Digital Access to Legal Information Committee (DALIC) has completed its final update of the State Online Legal Information (SOLI) website. The website includes state-by-state information about the official status, authentication, preservation, permanent public access, and copyright of state administrative codes, administrative registers, statutes, session laws, high court opinions, and appellate court opinions. The site also includes information about universal citation. The site helps support advocacy for the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA).

DALIC is sunsetting later this month, following the Executive Board’s action in April 2017. During its remarkable term, DALIC, formerly known as the Electronic Legal Information Access & Citation Committee, helped raise AALL’s profile on issues related to authentication, preservation, permanent public access, and universal citation by pursuing its charge to “use the “AALL Principles and Core Values Concerning Public Information on Government Websites” to identify website characteristics and citation rules that represent best practices.” As one of AALL’s policy committees, DALIC greatly contributed to advancing our policy agenda on the federal and state levels. The SOLI site will continue to be available to members and the public, and the Executive Board may form a special committee to review and update the information as needed.

California Governor Signs Budget with Millions for County Law Libraries

Submitted by Rachel Green, San Diego Area Law Libraries Government Relations Committee Chair

After months of advocacy efforts, the Governor of California has signed into law a budget that includes an unprecedented $16.5 million for county law libraries. The Council of California County Law Librarians has worked toward this result for a number of years. GRC Chairs David McFadden (SCALL), Judy Janes (NOCALL), and Rachel Green (SANDALL) helped in this effort by advocating on behalf of their memberships to urge the State to include a permanent budget appropriation, a huge change from the previous policy of leaving county law libraries to subsist on a portion of dwindling civil filing fee revenue (an amount that decreased nearly 40 percent between 2009 and 2017). At various stages over the past several months, the GRC Chairs submitted letters signed by all three Chapters’ Presidents (to Governor Brown and to state legislators) and provided templates to help their memberships submit individual letters. Everyone is ecstatic to see that their collective efforts helped to effect real change for our law library communities!

Ohio Enacts UELMA 

The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) has been enacted in Ohio, bringing the total number of UELMA enactments to nineteen. Thanks go to the many current and former Ohio law librarians and the Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries who contributed to this advocacy success by organizing stakeholders, working with the Uniform Law Commissioners, testifying before the legislature, and tirelessly advocating for UELMA’s adoption.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL has fought back a number of legislative proposals that would have restricted public access to print legal materials, and worked with Congressional staff to ensure that any language about Congressional printing does not negatively impact public access to information or information distributed to libraries through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Most recently, the sponsor of the PAPER Act of 2018 (S. 2673) responded to AALL’s concerns about whether Federal Depository Libraries would continue to receive the Congressional Record in print under his bill by reintroducing the legislation (S. 2944) with explicit language to protect public access through the FDLP.
  • Demand Progress Action began publishing First Branch Forecast (subscribe here), a weekly newsletter focusing on transparency and governance issues being considered by Congress.

Washington eBulletin – June 2018

A Look Ahead

AALL Advocates for Law Library Of Congress in Response to Library Realignment

On May 3, 2018, AALL wrote to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to raise concerns about the impact of the Library’s Special Announcement 18-5 “User-Centered Realignment” on the Law Library of Congress. The Special Announcement was shared with Library of Congress staff, including Law Library staff, on April 12. The realignment repositions the Law Library of Congress from a stand-alone service unit to a subunit under a new Library Collections and Services Group (LCSG). The plan raises questions about the independence of the Law Library under the new structure.

In her response dated May 18, Dr. Hayden addressed most of our concerns, including that the Law Library will maintain custody of its collections; that the Law Librarian will maintain her title and position on the Library’s Executive Committee; and that the Law Librarian will continue to develop her budget requests and maintain responsibility for collection development and reference service. We are pleased to receive assurances that the reorganization will not significantly change the operations or mission of the Law Library. We will continue to seek more information about how the new Deputy Librarian for LCSG will interact with the Law Library and the other units within LCSG. The realignment is expected to be fully implemented by October 1.

Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality; Will House Follow?

On May 16, the Senate voted 52-47 in favor of the Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval (S.J.Res.52) that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) unpopular 2017 repeal of net neutrality protections. The resolution would restore net neutrality and prevent the rule change from taking effect on June 11.

The measure will next move to the House of Representatives, where an identical resolution (H.J.Res.129) already has more than 160 co-sponsors. While passage in the House will be challenging, recent polling shows that more than 80 percent of Americans oppose repealing net neutrality. The issue is likely to come up in the midterm elections and advocates, including law librarians, need to keep the pressure on elected officials. You can write to your representative in support of the Congressional Review Act Resolution through AALL’s Legislative Action Center.

Act Now

Join the New AALL Advocates Community

The new AALL Advocates Community keeps members in the know on the latest federal and state policy news with weekly updates from the Government Relations Committee and timely action alerts from the Government Relations Office. This new community replaces AALL’s Advocacy Listserv, which was retired on April 27, 2018.

Mark Your Calendars for Advocacy Leadership in Baltimore

Be sure to save room on your Annual Meeting schedule for AALL’s advocacy training, Advocacy Leadership: Law Librarians Ignite Change (C7) on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. You’ll learn how to use your knowledge, passion, and research skills to combat attempts to erode freedom of information, net neutrality, privacy, and access to justice. You’ll also have an opportunity to join AALL’s Advocacy Team, a network of law librarians who are committed to championing legal information. This year’s program will be preceded by the AALL Public Policy Update, which will inform participants about the Association’s legislative priorities and activities.

AALL in the States

LLAW Opposes Legislative Reference Bureau Library Cuts 

Submitted by Diane Duffey, Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin Government Relations Committee Chair

The Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW) is making an effort to advocate for protecting library services at Wisconsin’s Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB). The LRB is required by state statute to collect, maintain and make available legislative and government information to not only Wisconsin legislators but “citizens generally.” Recently, the positions of two LRB librarians were eliminated. LLAW is urging its members to contact their State representatives, and will be sending letters to various officials and a local newspaper which reported on the job cuts.

California Chapters Advocate for County Law Libraries 

Submitted by Rachel Green, San Diego Area Law Libraries Government Relations Committee Chair

Government Relations Committee (GRC) Chairs David McFadden (Southern California Association of Law Libraries), Judy Janes (Northern California Association of Law Libraries), and Rachel Green (San Diego Area Law Libraries) have been working together to urge the State of California to provide permanent funding for the state’s county law libraries. Until now, county law library budgets have relied on a portion of civil filing fee revenue from the courts, an amount that decreased nearly 40 percent between 2009 and 2017. On behalf of their memberships, the GRC chairs submitted letters signed by all three chapters’ presidents to Governor Brown and to state legislators, advocating for a permanent budget appropriation in the 2018 state budget. While the governor did not include such funding in his “May Revise” (an update to the annual budget), the state legislature has moved forward with an allocation in its latest state budget bill, which multiple budget committees have now approved. The GRC chairs are continuing to work together and with their memberships to advocate for this very crucial support of California’s county law libraries.

MALL Supports FDLP Modernization Act 

The Minnesota Association of Law Libraries (MALL) wrote to U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in support of the FDLP Modernization Act (H.R. 5305). AALL thanks MALL for its support.

Roundup and Review

Washington eBulletin – May 2018

A Look Ahead

Fiscal Year 2019 Funding for GPO and the Library of Congress 

Just a week after AALL President Greg Lambert testified before the House of Representatives Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee in support of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget requests of the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Library of Congress/Law Library of Congress, the Subcommittee marked up its FY 2019 appropriations bill. The bill includes the requested level of funding for GPO, and an increase of $40 million above the FY 2018 enacted level for the Library of Congress. The increase for the Library is provided specifically for the development of new public programs and outreach, and for information technology modernization for the Library, the Copyright Office, and the Congressional Research Service. Though the Law Library’s requests are not specifically cited in the bill, they may be referred to in forthcoming report language.

The Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hasn’t yet released a FY 2019 funding bill, which is unsurprising given the body’s more deliberative nature. Unlike its House counterpart, the Senate Legislative Branch Subcommittee doesn’t usually hold public witness hearings. AALL submitted written testimony to the Subcommittee in support of GPO and the Library of Congress/Law Library of Congress.

The Senate Legislative Branch Subcommittee recently experienced a leadership change, with Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) assuming chairmanship in April. Sen. Daines became chair after former chair Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) moved over to lead the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Judiciary. The subcommittee shifts occurred following the retirement of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss), chair of the full Appropriations Committee. The Committee is now chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), with whom AALL previously worked in his role as chair of the Rules and Administration Committee. The Rules and Administration Committee has jurisdiction over GPO and the Library of Congress.

AALL will keep you informed about the potential impacts on GPO and the Library of Congress/Law Library of Congress as the House and Senate continue to consider appropriations for FY 2019.

Act Now

Join the New AALL Advocates Community

The new AALL Advocates Community will keep members in the know on the latest federal and state policy news with weekly updates from the Government Relations Committee and timely action alerts from the Government Relations Office. This new community replaces AALL’s Advocacy Listserv, which was retired on April 27, 2018. The new community is open to all AALL members.

Mark Your Calendars for Advocacy Leadership in Baltimore

Be sure to save room on your Annual Meeting schedule for AALL’s advocacy training, Advocacy Leadership: Law Librarians Ignite Change (C7) on Sunday, July 15, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. You’ll learn how to use your knowledge, passion, and research skills to combat attempts to erode freedom of information, net neutrality, privacy, and access to justice. You’ll also have an opportunity to join AALL’s Advocacy Team, a network of law librarians who are committed to championing legal information. This year’s program will be preceded by the AALL Public Policy Update, which will inform participants about the Association’s legislative priorities and activities.

AALL in the States

NOCALL News

Submitted by Judy Janes, Northern California Association of Law Libraries Government Relations Committee Chair

The Northern California Association of Law Libraries (NOCALL) joined with California library chapters, the Council of California County Law Librarians (CCCLL), the San Diego Area Law Libraries (SANDALL) and the Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL), to support the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5305). It represents a collaborative effort among law librarians at the California chapters to advocate collectively for library supported legislation. The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 would ensure that members of the public have effective and long-term access to government information. It would modernize and streamline the FDLP and add reporting requirements to strengthen oversight and increase transparency. Through the work of the chapter GRC chairs, California chapters have joined forces to provide a unified and strengthened position on proposed legislation of interest to libraries.

On another note, Michele Finerty, NOCALL chapter member, and AALL Government Relations Committee chair, was awarded NOCALL’s prestigious Professional Achievement Award, for her work and commitment to advocacy over the years. Her work continues to inspire others to advocate on behalf of libraries and librarians to support free and public access to government information.

LLAW Supports FDLP Modernization Act

We are grateful to the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin (LLAW) which, in addition to the California associations mentioned above, wrote to House leadership in support of the FDLP Modernization Act.

Roundup and Review

  • On April 12, 2018, the House Committee on House Administration favorably reported the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, or ACMRA (H.R. 4631) alongside the FDLP Modernization Act. AALL strongly supports ACMRA and we are hopeful it will pass the House
  • The UELMA Preservation Group, an informal group of experts from states grappling with how to best preserve official electronic legal materials, released a white paper about electronic preservation strategies and case studies from California, Minnesota, and Washington, DC
  • AALL joined a letter to Senator Hatch (R-Utah) to express concern that language being developed to address access geospacial data would be detrimental to the public’s right to know

Washington eBulletin – April 2018

A Look Ahead

FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 Would Ensure Greater Access to Government Information 

After nearly a year of hearings, stakeholder meetings, and much anticipation, AALL celebrated the introduction of the bipartisan FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5305) on March 15, 2018.

The introduction follows decades of discussion and debate within the library community about the future of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The bill represents a strong compromise that will continue to benefit many types of libraries and strengthen the role of the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and libraries in providing permanent public access to information. The bill:

  • Clearly states the public’s right of no-fee permanent access to government information and the government’s responsibility to disseminate and provide permanent public access to information, which AALL has long held as essential principles of the program
  • Allows flexibility for Federal Depository Libraries while ensuring opportunities for participation and input from many types of libraries, including law libraries
  • Strengthens the Superintendent of Document’s responsibilities to authenticate and preserve government information
  • Adds reporting requirements to strengthen oversight and increase transparency.

AALL has released a section-by-section analysis of the bill to help our members learn more about the proposed changes. On March 28, GPO announced its support for the bill, stating that, “The bill affirms the principle that the free flow of Government information is fundamental to the health of our democracy, and acknowledges the important role Federal depository libraries play in ensuring free public access to that information.”

Markup of the bill is scheduled for April 12, falling on AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day. We’ll make it easy for you to contact your representative that day in support of the FDLP Modernization Act and permanent public access to government and legal information. In the meantime, you are invited to register to join our free, 30 minute online advocacy training on April 11, which will update you on AALL’s policy priorities and prepare you to take action during Virtual Lobby Day. See “Act Now” below for more information.

GPO, LC, and Access to CRS Reports Fare Well Under Omnibus 

Thanks in part to your postcards and emails, GPO and the Library of Congress fared well under the omnibus appropriations act (Public Law No: 115-141) to fund the government through the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. GPO received their requested $117 million. The Library of Congress received an additional $38 million over FY 2017, for a total of $669.9 million, including funds to support technology upgrades for the Library, the Copyright Office, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

AALL is pleased that the omnibus included a requirement that the Library of Congress publish all non-confidential CRS reports on a publicly accessible website within 90 days. This will apply to approximately 3,000 reports annually. The omnibus directs the Library of Congress to publish these reports in searchable, sortable, and downloadable format, along with an index of all reports. Following enactment of the omnibus, GPO announced that it considered CRS reports reports within the scope of the FDLP, and thus will catalog and make the reports available via the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

AALL has advocated for access to CRS reports for more than two decades and it is one of our policy priorities for the 115th Congress. We have worked with many Congressional offices over the years, most recently including Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). We are thankful for the leadership of House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who held a public hearing allowing testimony on access to CRS reports in May 2017 and included access language in their draft appropriations bill for FY 2018. We are also grateful to the hundreds of AALL members who have take action in support of access to CRS reports, responding to our calls for action over many years. As is often the case with advocacy, this effort was a marathon, not a sprint!

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Legal Services Corporation (LSC) also saw funding boosts under the omnibus, despite facing threats from President Trump. IMLS received $240 million, which is $9 million about FY 2017 enacted levels. LSC received $410 million, an increase of $25 million from FY 2017 and its highest appropriation since 2010.

While funding for FY 2018 has just wrapped up, the appropriations process for FY 2019 is already well underway, with hearings already scheduled by the House Appropriations Subcommittees. AALL will be offering our testimony in support of GPO and the Library of Congress/Law Library, and we will keep you informed of progress and opportunities for action.

Act Now

Register by Monday, April 9

Members of Congress are currently debating key information policy issues that could change how law libraries access, use, and preserve government and legal information. Issues include how GPO provides permanent public access to tangible and electronic information; how the FDLP should function in the digital age; and whether government data and government-funded research should be more open to the public. Join AALL’s online advocacy training to learn how you can influence your members of Congress to modernize current laws to benefit law libraries and their users. The training will prepare you to take action during AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day the following day, April 12, 2018.

AALL in the States

NOCALL Spring Institute

Submitted by Judy Janes, Northern California Association of Law Libraries Government Relations Committee Chair

The NOCALL Spring Institute was held on March 16th at the California Museum in downtown Sacramento. The program focused on librarian advocacy and various speakers throughout the day addressed the group. Patrick Sweeney, from EveryLibrary, provided the keynote in which he
emphasized the importance of librarians to become involved in government and to take action. He offered an advocacy “boot camp” all afternoon which was focused on helping County law librarians with their funding crisis. Additional program highlights included a discussion led by California state lobbyist and litigator Chris Micheli who, along with Michele Finerty, David McFadden and Judy Janes, provided tips for advocating with state legislators. And the folks from the California News Publishing Association, Tom Newton, Executive Director, and legal counsel Jim Ewert and Nikki Moore, led an interesting discussion highlighting current cases in the news regarding the public’s right to know and open access to information. The California Museum provided a wonderful venue, with its engaging and educational display about California’s rich history, and its diversity and influence in the world of innovation. It is home to the many Californians who have been inducted.

Roundup and Review

Washington eBulletin – March 2018

A Look Ahead

Advocating for Openness during Sunshine Week 2018

For more than a decade, Sunshine Week (March 11-17) has been celebrated annually to highlight the importance of access to information and an open government. A commitment to openness in government is a key part of AALL’s government relations policy and one of our public policy priorities for the current Congress. AALL supports legislation and policies to provide greater access to legislative and executive branch information, strengthen FOIA, release the results of government-funded research, and open up government data. We’ve recently spoken out against attacks on transparency and a free press, and we will continue to push back against secrecy in government. Only with an open government and access to trustworthy government information can we adequately support our justice system and ensure a strong democracy.

Title 44 Modernization Bill Coming Soon

AALL continues to work with the American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries to provide feedback to the House Committee on House Administration on a draft Title 44 reform bill that represents a major rewrite of the section of the U.S. Code governing the Government Publishing Office and Federal Depository Library Program. The Committee has provided AALL with several opportunities to comment on the draft, and Committee staff have incorporated many of our suggestions. We expect the bill to be introduced soon.

AALL in the States

UELMA in New York

Submitted by Amy Emerson, Association of Law Libraries of Upstate New York Government Relations Committee Chair

The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) continues to make its way through the New York State Legislature (SB 6136 and AB 1922). Uniform Law Commissioner Mark Glaser recently conducted productive meetings with sponsors in both houses and states that he is hopeful that 2018 will be the year that UELMA is enacted in New York.

Maryland Library Day at the Legislature

Submitted by Joan Bellistri, Law Library Association of Maryland Government Relations Committee Chair

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library hosted the Maryland Library Association’s Library Day at the Legislature breakfast briefing – breakfast, as always, provided by the Law Library Association of Maryland. We have nothing going for libraries in the legislature this year so visits were made just to say thank you and to talk about the value of libraries.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL participated in Operation #OneMoreVote, which drove hundreds of thousands of calls and emails to the Senate to save net neutrality. You can still help by urging your Senator to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s bad net neutrality vote.
  • AALL Spectrum features The Ins and Outs of Advocacy by Stacy Etheredge, Peggy Roebuck Jarrett, and Karen Westwood. The article serves as inspiration for law librarians looking to get involved in advocacy and is filled with ideas on how to get started, no matter your interests or past advocacy experience.

Washington eBulletin – February 2018

A Look Ahead

House Committee Continues Work on Draft Title 44 Reform Bill

Late last year, after months of hearings, the House Committee on House Administration (CHA) released a draft Title 44 reform bill that represents a major rewrite of the section of the U.S. Code governing public printing and documents. The Committee gave the major library associations, including AALL, an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft. The Government Publishing Office (GPO) also released the draft to the federal depository library community, asking libraries to provide their views. We thank the many members who shared their views with AALL, GPO, and CHA.

The draft bill includes a number of important elements that have been discussed by GPO and federal depository libraries for years, including requirements to strengthen access and preservation through the Federal Depository Library Program, the creation of a national collection of government information, and flexibility for depository libraries within the program. The bill incorporates several of AALL’s specific recommendations for reform, including dropping the requirement that a depository have a minimum of 10,000 books, giving grant-making authority to GPO to expand permanent public access to information, allowing libraries the option for digital deposit, and prohibiting fees for GPO’s online repository. Unfortunately, the bill also includes some troubling language that could weaken GPO’s role in providing permanent public access to Congressional information. AALL is working with committee staff and representatives from other library associations to improve the draft.

Keep an eye on your inbox to learn more about next steps in the effort to update Title 44. AALL will keep you informed about opportunities to speak out in support of permanent public access to official, authentic government information.

Act Now

Help Save Net Neutrality

Despite the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) decision to overturn net neutrality, millions of internet users−including hundreds of law librarians−continue to speak out to protect the principles that have ensured an equitable internet.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can reverse a change in a federal regulation by a simple majority vote within 60 working days after that regulation is published in the Federal Register. That means Congress can vote to overturn the FCC’s rule change.

Tell your members of Congress: Now is the time to save net neutrality.

AALL in the States

UELMA Advocacy in 2018

As state legislative sessions begin, AALL continues to work with our state advocates and Uniform Law Commissioners to support the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA). UELMA bills are currently pending in Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Utah. On January 31, 2018, AALL member Melissa J. Bernstein, library director and professor of law, James E. Faust Law Library, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah, testified before the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee in support of UELMA.

If you’re interested to contributing to UELMA advocacy in your state, please contact Emily Feltren.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL expressed opposition to the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act (S. 139). Unfortunately, the bill passed without the needed privacy protections.
  • We continue to urge action on the bipartisan Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act.

Washington eBulletin – October 2017

Vol. 2017 Issue 10

A Look Ahead

Congress Considers Extending Surveillance Authority

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes the U.S. government to collect, use, and disseminate communications content and metadata. It covers electronic communications stored by internet service providers, as well as phone calls. Section 702 was promoted as a narrow surveillance authority limited to the collection of communications of non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States for terrorism-related purposes, but the public has since learned that 702 has been used to collect the communications of tens of thousands of people for purposes unrelated to terrorism. Section 702 will expire on December 31, 2017, unless Congress reauthorizes it.

AALL supports efforts to strengthen privacy protections in the law and increase transparency about how the government uses its authority. On September 7, 2017, we joined a broad coalition of privacy, civil liberties, and transparency organizations to urge members of Congress to vote “No” on reauthorization of Section 702 if it is not significantly reformed. We expect more debate about reauthorization through the end of the year.

House Committee Turns Attention to the FDLP

On September 26, 2017, AALL members Beth Williams and Stephen Parks, director of the Robert Crown Law Library and senior lecturer in law at Stanford Law School and state librarian of the State Law Library of Mississippi, respectively, joined Laurie Hall, acting superintendent of documents at the Government Publishing Office (GPO); Mike Furlough, executive director of HathiTrust Digital Library; and Celina McDonald, government documents and criminology librarian at the University of Maryland to testify before the House Committee on House Administration for its hearing on “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond: Part 3 – Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)”. This was the third in a series of hearings on modernizing the GPO.

Hall presented a number of themes for Title 44 reform that GPO has identified as priorities from the FDLP community:

  • making GPO responsible for the lifecycle management of digital and tangible Government information;
  • redefining “Government publication” to explicitly include reference to digital information;
  • protecting the national asset that depository collections represent for present and future generations;
  • providing for more flexibility for depository libraries to elect to receive Government information in the form and formats that best meet the needs of the communities they serve; and
  • ensuring accountability by federal agencies for supplying the FDLP with the information products they issue.

After Hall’s testimony, the Committee heard from stakeholders themselves about the need for reform. Beth Williams recommended three major changes to Title 44: amending 44 U.S.C. § 1901 to include non-print formats; amending 44 U.S.C. §§ 1902/1904/1905 to include legal deposit; and further amending 44 U.S.C. §§ 1902/1904/1905 to include preservation. Stephen Parks recommended that Congress offer federal depository libraries more opportunities to partner with GPO to preserve information; allow additional flexibility to permit regional libraries to partner with selective libraries and to share materials with each other and across state lines; and amend § 4102 to assure no-fee public access. AALL included similar recommendations in our letter to the Committee on Title 44 modernization. Witness testimony is available via the Committee’s repository.

The next hearing on GPO modernization is tentatively scheduled for October 11, 2017, and a bill may be introduced shortly thereafter. It’s important that AALL members prepare to take action to ensure that any changes to Title 44 guarantee permanent public access to official, authentic government information. If your representative serves on the Committee on House Administration, please email Emily Feltren, AALL’s director of government relations, as soon as possible. And stay tuned for future news and alerts on how you can get involved!


Act Now

Attend the 2017 Depository Library Council Meeting & FDL Conference – Virtually!

Register to participate in the 2017 Depository Library Council Meeting & Federal Depository Library Conference right from your desk! The theme of this year’s event, which will be held October 16-18, 2017, is “Safeguarding Government Information Access for All”. There will be several opportunities to hear from GPO and the Depository Library Council about recommended changes to Title 44 and to provide your input on the recommendations. You’ll also hear keynote presentations by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sanchez, and Director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom James LaRue. The final schedule is now available for download.

AALL in the States

UELMA Advocacy in 2018

The Uniform Law Commission is collecting its 2018 legislative enactment plans and Commissioners in nearly a dozen states have included the Uniform Legal Electronic Material Act (UELMA) on their plans. As state legislatures return to session next year, AALL advocates will work to identify UELMA sponsors, usher the bill through the legislature, and advocate for enactment. If you’re interested to contributing to UELMA advocacy in your state, please contact Emily Feltren.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, calling on the judicial body to ensure that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts makes electronic federal court records freely available “to the greatest extent possible.” The brief was filed in response to National Veterans Legal Services Program et al v. United States of America.
  • We also joined sixty-six library associations, nonprofit organizations, legal technology companies, former senior government officials, librarians, innovators, and professors of law as amici curiae in response to American Society for Testing and Materials et al. v. Public.Resource.Org. The case concerns Public.Resource.Org’s copying of model building codes and educational testing codes which have been enacted into federal law and regulations. The brief urges the court to find that the copying is not infringing.
  • AALL signed on to a letter to Congress opposing the expansion of types of records not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
  • We expressed our support for the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act (H.R. 3427, S. 1701), which would expand access to the results of federally-funded research.

Please note: Publication of the Washington eBulletin will be on a short break until the start of the new year.

Washington eBulletin – September 2017

A LOOK AHEAD
Congress Prepares to Return from Recess
AALL Recommends Modest Changes to Title 44
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2017 Issue 09

A Look Ahead

Congress Prepares to Return from Recess

Members of Congress will return to Washington after Labor Day to face a full agenda, including raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government funded past September 30, 2017. AALL is carefully watching the next steps in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations process, particularly for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress.

The current House and Senate bills fund GPO at the requested levels, while the Library of Congress receives slightly lower levels than requested. Given the continued lack of regular order in the appropriations process, these Legislative Branch Appropriations agencies are faring relatively well.

AALL will also be tracking how the House and Senate reconcile their different language on access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports included in their Legislative Branch Appropriations bills. AALL prefers the Senate language, which specifically directs CRS to make its reports available through GPO. The House bill is slightly weaker, only “encouraging” CRS to consult with GPO in developing their plan “when practicable.”

AALL Recommends Modest Changes to Title 44

AALL submitted recommendations to GPO’s Depository Library Council (DLC) on the future of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Our recommendations came in response to DLC’s call for comments on needed changes to Title 44 of the U.S. Code on Public Printing and Documents, including Chapter 19 on the FDLP. AALL is supportive of the existing structure of regional and selective depository libraries, but we acknowledge that Title 44 could be updated to reflect the digital age.

We recommend:

  • Explicitly expanding the scope of the FDLP to include publications in all formats, including digital. §1901
  • Repealing the requirement that a depository library have a minimum of 10,000 books. §1909
  • Allowing for flexibility in the number of regional depositories, under certain requirements and with guidance from the Superintendent of Documents. §1912
  • Giving grant-making authority to GPO so that it may support preservation and cataloging projects and other initiatives that expand permanent public access to federal government information.
  • Allowing libraries the option for digital deposit. Wide distribution of government information helps to ensure preservation.

Many individual AALL members and several law and university libraries also submitted comments to DLC. Thank you for participating in this important process! DLC will present its draft recommendations at the Depository Library Council Meeting & Federal Depository Library Conference in October 2017.

AALL is also preparing to submit comments this month to the House Committee on House Administration, which is driving the effort to update Title 44. Our comments will be submitted to the Committee by mid-September and shared with membership.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL signed on to a letter to Attorney General Sessions to express concerns with the Department of Justice’s demand for information associated with the website DisruptJ20.org, used to organize protests on Inauguration Day 2017
  • AALL has joined Re:Create, a diverse coalition of trade associations, not-for-profits, advocacy groups, and think tanks advocating for balanced copyright rules