Washington E-Bulletin – July 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
ACT NOW
Tell Us: Reactions to Office of Law Revision Counsel Proposal to Eliminate Print Annual Supplements to U.S. Code
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 7

A Look Ahead

With two weeks left before the summer Congressional recess begins, members of Congress are facing a very full agenda after the July 4 holiday. AALL is watching closely to see if the Senate acts to confirm Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress, considers a bill (H.R. 699) to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or votes on Fiscal Year 2017 funding for the Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress (S. 2955). We’re also taking a moment to celebrate yesterday’s signing of the FOIA Improvement Act (S. 337). The bill updates the Freedom of Information Act by codifying the “presumption of openness” established in President Barack Obama’s Open Government Memorandum, subsequent Open Government Directive, and Attorney General Eric Holder’s FOIA memorandum; requires that information be made available to the public in an electronic format; limits, to a period of 25 years, the ability of agencies to keep internal deliberations confidential; creates a centralized online portal for FOIA requests; and increases the effectiveness of the FOIA by strengthening the Office of Government Information Services. In conjunction with the signing, the White House announced new steps to make FOIA work better. 

There are many opportunities to learn more about these and many other policy issues at AALL’s Annual Meeting. The following events, hosted by the Government Relations Office, will help you hone your advocacy skills and learn the latest about the top policy issues on AALL’s agenda. For more policy-related programming, see the Annual Meeting schedule. And don’t forget to pick up a red, white, and blue “Advocate” ribbon at the registration desk when you arrive!

Saturday, July 16
Legislative Advocacy Training 2016
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Join your colleagues at this year’s Advocacy Training workshop and leave prepared to effectively advocate for the issues that matter to you. The training will provide you with the opportunity to hear from special guest speaker Krys Shaw, Deputy District Director for Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), on the ins and outs of the political process and how to have the greatest impact on policy-making. You’ll also have the chance to network with experienced law librarian advocates who will provide their advice about how to influence decision-makers. If you haven’t yet registered and would like to attend, please contact Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren.

Sunday, July 17
Program B5: AALL Public Policy Update
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Connect with the Government Relations Office, fellow advocates, and AALL’s three policy committees on the Association’s advocacy efforts. Program participants will spend time in small, focused discussion sections led by the chairs of the Copyright, Digital Access to Legal Information, and Government Relations Committees. Topics will include recent proposals to update U.S. Copyright Law, the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, and developments on bills related to public access to Congressional Research Service reports, email privacy, and funding for the Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress. The program will conclude with the presentations of the Robert L. Oakley Advocacy and Public Access to Government Information Awards.

Chapter Government Relations Get-Together
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Chapter leaders and government relations chairs are invited to attend the fourth annual Chapter Government Relations Get-Together in the American Craft Kitchen and Bar at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Network with chapter colleagues, strategize on upcoming advocacy campaigns, and celebrate the chapter successes of the past year in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere! RSVPs are appreciated but not required.

Act Now

Tell Us: Reactions to Office of Law Revision Counsel Proposal to Eliminate Print Annual Supplements to U.S. Code

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) is considering whether or not to continue printing cumulative annual supplements to the United States Code. AALL is collecting feedback from members about the proposal to share with the OLRC, anonymously if requested. How would the elimination of the print supplements impact your library users? Do you have concerns about the proposal? How could the publication of the Code better meet your library users’ needs? Please let us know! To learn more, watch Law Revision Counsel Ralph Seep discuss the proposal during the recorded House Legislative Data Transparency Conference (panel starts at 6 hours 30 minutes). AALL member Scott Matheson joined Mr. Seep and former House Parliamentarian John Sullivan for a panel titled “Consuming the Law”.

Roundup and Review  

  • AALL celebrated the latest court decision on net neutrality
  • GPO posted a short recorded webcast on changes to implementation of the regional discard policy. GPO announced the elimination of the planned testing period and will launch Phase 1 of implementation to all regionals in September 2016

Washington E-Bulletin – June 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Privacy
Appropriations
ACT NOW
Don’t Miss Out! Register Now for the 2016 Legislative Advocacy Training
AALL IN THE STATES
Arizona Enacts UELMA
MichALL Advocates for UELMA
NOCALL Opposes Overbroad Copyright Bill
SANDALL Supports Urgent Funding Increase for County Law Libraries
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 6

A Look Ahead

Members of the House and Senate are home this week for the Memorial Day break. Before leaving Washington, both chambers moved on a few of AALL’s policy priorities, including protecting the privacy of online communications and providing adequate funding for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress. Unfortunately, the House Appropriations Committee also missed an opportunity to increase public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports.


Privacy

After years of advocacy by AALL, privacy organizations, and technology companies, we celebrated late last month when the House unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to provide privacy protections for online communications. The bill had bipartisan support and more than 300 cosponsors, making passage swift once the bill reached the House floor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to hold a markup of the ECPA reform bill on May 26, but the markup was postponed at the last minute after the sponsors learned that a couple of members of the Committee were planning to introduce amendments to weaken the bill. Amendments included one from Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx.) that would allow law enforcement to use national security letters to obtain electronic communications transaction records. AALL urged the Committee to take up and pass H.R. 699 without changes that would weaken the bill. Our friends in the Senate are now in negotiations to ensure that the bill can move forward without the weakening amendments.


Appropriations

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved their Legislative Branch funding bills for Fiscal Year 2017 (H.R.5325, S.2955). After a hard fight last year to reinstate money for GPO’s Revolving Fund (the account that supports the development of FDsys/govinfo), we’re pleased to report that GPO received full funding this year under both bills. The Library of Congress fared better under the House bill, receiving $629 million compared to $609 million in the Senate bill. The bills include funding for information technology upgrades for the Library of Congress and for the Law Library’s compact shelving replacement, for which AALL urged funding in our written testimony. While both bills represent an increase for the Library over FY 2016 levels, the amount is tens of thousands less than the Library’s request. AALL will continue to advocate for increased funding for the Library so that it can preserve, protect, and provide access to its vast collections.

During consideration of the Legislative Branch bill in the House Appropriations Committee, two amendments were introduced to make Congressional Research Service reports more widely available to the public. The effort to release the reports was led by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.). The first amendment was essentially the text of the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016 (H.R. 4702,S. 2639), which would provide public access to the reports through FDsys/govinfo. AALL strongly supports these bills. Rep. Quigley offered a second amendment to require CRS to publish online a cumulative, continuously-updated list of all new CRS Reports. Unfortunately, both amendments failed, with Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chairman Tom Graves (R-Ga.) and Ranking Member Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.) asserting that the amendments would burden CRS and impact the important role that CRS plays in providing members of Congress with expert research. AALL signed on to a letter in November 2015 that rebuts these concerns, and we will continue to urge passage of H.R. 4702 and S. 2639. Please use our Legislative Action Center to tell your members of Congress that greater public access to CRS reports is important to you, too. Thank you in advance!

Act Now

Don’t Miss Out! Register Now for the 2016 Legislative Advocacy Training

Join your colleagues at this year’s Advocacy Training workshop on Saturday, July 16 in Chicago and leave prepared to effectively advocate for the issues that matter to you. The training, which is offered free of charge, will provide you with the opportunity to hear from special guest speaker Krys Shaw, Deputy District Director for Rep. Quigley, on the ins and outs of the political process and how to have the greatest impact on policy-making. You’ll also have the chance to network with experienced law librarian advocates who will provide their advice about how to influence decision-makers. See more in our draft agenda. Register through Annual Meeting registration, or by contacting Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren.

AALL in the States

Arizona Enacts UELMA

In May, Arizona became the thirteenth state to enact the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA). The Arizona Association of Law Libraries (AzALL) and members of AALL strongly supported the Act, and their effective advocacy helped to ensure its passage. Congratulations to our advocates in Arizona!

MichALL Advocates for UELMA
Submitted by Marlene Coir, Michigan Association of Law Libraries (MichALL) Government Relations Committee Chair

Michigan House Bill No. 5653 (2016), introduced on May 12, 2016, would amend Michigan’s Legislative Council Act to include the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act. The MichALL chapter is in the process of promoting its passage by drafting a letter of support which may be used by individual chapter members, and other constituents, to solicit endorsement of the bill from their respective state house and senate members. The chapter has also passed a resolution supporting the bill, and has drafted a chapter letter advocating enactment of the bill into law.

NOCALL Opposes Overbroad Copyright Bill
Submitted by Judy Janes, Northern California Association of Law Libraries (NOCALL) Government Relations Committee Chair

NOCALL has joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization concerned with protecting civil liberties in the digital world, and others, to oppose California Assembly bill 2880. The bill would grant, for the first time, a broad authorization to all California state government, local government, and political subdivisions the power to exert copyright restrictions over publications, videos, pamphlets, and other public records that contain copyrightable materials. This conflicts with California’s Public Records Act, Govt. Code §6250 et. al., which extends free and open access to information in possession of public agencies.

SANDALL Supports Urgent Funding Increase for County Law Libraries
Vance Sharp, San Diego Association of Law Libraries (SANDALL) Government Relations Committee Chair

SANDALL is encouraging Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators to include a one-time appropriation of $16.5 million in the final California state budget for the state’s County Law Libraries. These libraries provide access to much needed legal information for millions of residents who cannot afford attorneys and must navigate the legal process on their own. This appropriation is much needed since 90 percent of County Law Library revenue comes from receiving a small portion of civil filing fees. This revenue source has dropped by 37 percent over just seven years, in part due to legislative changes that affect how court funding is allocated. Until that issue is resolved this appropriation would help shore up the budgets of the libraries, some of which are on the verge of closing.

Roundup and Review  

  • AALL submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission in support of proposed rules that would offer greater privacy protections for internet users who access commercial broadband in public law libraries
  • The Copyright Office held roundtables in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as part of its Section 1201 study. A transcript and video will be coming soon. AALL submitted comments in response to the Office’s call for comments, urging reforms that would ease the burden on law libraries.
  • The 50th anniversary of FOIA is coming up on July 4, 2016. Learn how open government groups are celebrating, while calling for reform

Washington E-Bulletin – May 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Hayden Breezes Through Nomination Hearing, Awaits Committee Vote
ACT NOW
Be Your Best Advocate: Register Now for AALL’s Advocacy Training in Chicago
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 05

A Look Ahead

Hayden Breezes through Nomination Hearing, Awaits Committee Vote

On April 20, the Senate Rules Committee held its nomination hearing on Dr. Carla D. Hayden to be the next Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden was introduced by Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, as well as former Senator Paul Sarbanes, who gave her their strong endorsement. In her testimony, Dr. Hayden discussed her passion for librarianship and her vision for expanding the Library’s reach beyond Washington. She received questions about her position on copyright, which allowed her to discuss her belief in the need for balance in copyright law. She also received questions about public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, an issue which AALL supports. On CRS, she said, “I would really look forward to the opportunity to study and work with Congress on the cost, staffing, and other aspects of making parts of the reports available, how you make them available, without stepping over the line in terms of how much public service you provide.”

AALL submitted a statement for the hearing record in support of Dr. Hayden to be the 14th Librarian of Congress, citing her decades of experience running the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, including modernizing the library’s technology systems and keeping the library open during recent unrest in the city. We also joined a coalition of library associations, libraries, and nonprofit organizations urging the Senate Rules Committee to quickly vote and move the nomination to the full Senate for consideration. We are hopeful that the nomination will move to the Senate floor this month or next, giving the chamber time to consider the nomination before the July work period. 


You can help to ensure Dr. Hayden becomes the next Librarian of Congress by writing to your Senator in support of her nomination. We’ve provided talking points and a sample message in our Legislative Action Center. Please take two minutes to tell your Senator that approving the nomination is important to you. Thank you in advance!


Act Now

Be Your Best Advocate: Register Now for AALL’s Advocacy Training in Chicago

Join your colleagues at this year’s Advocacy Training workshop on Saturday, July 16 in Chicago and leave prepared to effectively advocate for the issues that matter to you. The training, which is offered free of charge, will provide you with the opportunity to hear from special guest speakers on the ins and outs of the political process and how to have the greatest impact on policy-making. You’ll also have the chance to network with experienced law librarian advocates who will provide their advice about how to influence decision-makers. The draft training agenda is now available. Advance registration through Annual Meeting registration, or by contacting Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren, is required.

Roundup and Review

    • The House approved the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) by a vote of 419-0 vote on April 27. Passage of legislation to protect the privacy of electronic communications is one of AALL’s policy priorities. More information about the bill is in our one-pager
    • Learn about recent and coming changes to the Federal Depository Library Program by viewing the 2016 Depository Library Council Virtual Meeting session recordings
    • Mary Alice Baish retired as Superintendent of Documents. Read AALL’s letter thanking her for her many years of service to the profession and to supporting greater access to government information
    • AALL sent a new letter to the Uniform Law Commission reiterating AALL’s strong support for the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

Washington E-Bulletin – March 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Speaking Out for Law Libraries
Welcoming the Sunshine
ACT NOW
Register for AALL’s Online Advocacy Training and Virtual Lobby Day
AALL IN THE STATES
LLAM Event: Cybersecurity and You
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016, Issue 03

A Look Ahead

Speaking Out for Law Libraries

Though it’s hard to hear through the noise of the 24 hour news cycle, Washington is buzzing with policy debates impacting law libraries. From  privacy, to copyright, to supporting appropriations for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress, AALL is actively engaged on a diverse set of issues. Moreover, just last week President Obama announced his intent to nominate librarian Dr. Carla D. Hayden as Librarian of Congress, reigniting the dialogue about the position of our “nation’s library” and the role libraries play in building community and connecting people with knowledge. AALL urged the Senate to act quickly to approve the nomination.

Given all that’s at stake, now is the time for AALL members to speak out. Pledge to join your colleagues for the upcoming Virtual Lobby Day on March 16 to send a strong message to Capitol Hill in support of the policy issues that affect law libraries (registration for the Virtual Lobby Day is encouraged but not required). AALL’s policy priorities for Lobby Day include supporting greater access to legal information, updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, reforming the Freedom of Information Act, and ensuring a strong Copyright Office for the 21st century.

For more information about the policy issues that will top our agenda in the coming months and tips on how to make the most out of Virtual Lobby Day, please join our upcoming webinar, “AALL Legislative Advocacy: What’s to Come in 2016?“. Read on for more information.

Welcoming the Sunshine

March 13-19 is Sunshine Week, with events taking place across the country to highlight the importance of an open and transparent government. The American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press host a Sunshine Week calendar at SunshineWeek.org. Some special events include the National Freedom of Information Day Conference (livestreamed), the Department of Justice’s annual kickoff, the National Archives’ Technology + Open Government event (livestreamed), and the Census Bureau’s Open Government and FOIA workshops.


Act Now

Register for AALL’s Online Advocacy Training and Virtual Lobby Day

Register now for AALL’s 30 minute online advocacy training on March 9 at noon EST, during which you’ll learn about AALL’s top policy priorities and how to influence your members of Congress. Then join your colleagues on March 16 for AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day, when you’ll help raise the profile of law libraries on Capitol Hill by sending coordinated messages  through our Legislative Action Center and social media.

Follow Us at @AALLNET  

As of March 7, the Government Relations Office will tweet from @AALLNET with the hashtag #AALLGRO.

AALL in the States

LLAM Event: Cybersecurity and You

Submitted by Camilla Tubbs, Law Library Association of Maryland (LLAM) Vice President

Registration for the LLAM LRI Program:Cybersecurity and Youis now open!  The conference will cover academic, government and private entities, as well as the preventative measures that individuals should take to guard their own online presence. The keynotes and “A” programs will be live-streamed at the time of the event; a video recording of all panels will also be made available after the conference. The event will take place on Friday, April 8, 2016 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The conference received support through the AALL/Bloomberg BNA Continuing Education Grants Program.

Roundup and Review


Washington E-Bulletin – April 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Congress Considers Librarian of Congress Nominee
Appropriations Process Inches Along
ACT NOW
Register for AALL’s Advocacy Training in Chicago
AALL IN THE STATES
NOCALL Chapter News: Sunshine Week
California Chapters Support Online Archives Program
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 04

A Look Ahead

Congress Considers Librarian of Congress Nominee
Dr.
Carla Hayden, the President’s nominee for Librarian of Congress, has
been meeting with members of the Senate Rules Committee, a sign that the
Committee is moving forward with the nomination as AALL had urged.
Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Chuck
Schumer (D-N.Y.) have indicated that the Committee will likely hold a
nomination hearing this month. Many interesting topics may arise at her
confirmation hearing, including the Library’s information technology
needs (the subject of recent GAO reports), copyright, and access to Congressional Research Service reports. Stay tuned!

Appropriations Process Inches Along

Despite
the lack of a budget agreement, the House and Senate Appropriations
Committees have been holding hearings on the Fiscal Year 2017 agency
budget requests. Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao testified before
the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Legislative Branch
on March 2 and March 15, respectively. Committee members were generally
supportive of the Library. The Government Publishing Office (GPO) has
not testified before the Appropriations Committees since 2014, but GPO’s
budget submission is available online. AALL submitted testimony in support of the budget requests of GPO and the Library.

As
the Appropriations Committees consider the budget requests of these
agencies, it’s important that members of the Committees hear from you.
If you haven’t yet responded to our calls to action on funding for GPO
and the Library of Congress/Law Library of Congress, please take a moment to tell your member of Congress why a strong GPO and Library of Congress is vital to the work that you do.

Act Now

Register for AALL’s Advocacy Training in Chicago

Join the Government Relations Committee and Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren for the 2016 Advocacy Training on Saturday, July 16
at the AALL Annual Meeting in Chicago. In this preconference workshop,
you’ll hear from special guest speakers on the ins and outs of the
legislative process, learn about the how a bill really becomes a law (hint: Schoolhouse Rock! got it partly right…), and network with experienced advocates who will offer tips about influencing decision-makers. This year’s training will offer special learning opportunities for newer advocates. There’s no additional fee, but advance registration is required. Please contact Emily with any questions.

AALL in the States

NOCALL Chapter News: Sunshine Week

Submitted by Diane Rodriguez, Northern California Association of Law Libraries (NOCALL) Government Relations Committee Member

On
Tuesday evening, March 15, 2016, NOCALL co-hosted a Sunshine Week 2016
Panel Discussion at Preservation Park in Oakland, CA. The panel featured
presentations by Mae Nguyen from the California Office of The Attorney
General’s Open Justice Team and Miriam Marks Data Director at MapLight.

The California Department of Justice launched an open data initiative – http://www.openjustice.doj.ca.gov
– in September 2015. The initiative consists of two components: a
Justice Dashboard highlighting key criminal justice indicators with
user-friendly visualization tools, and an Open Data Portal publishing
criminal justice data sets from the California Department of Justice’s
statewide repository.

MapLight
is a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence
on politics. They research and compile data about the sources of
campaign contributions in U.S. presidential, congressional, state, and
local ballot and candidate elections. They provide transparency tools
that connect data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative
votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence
never before possible to see. Use their website to get information on
bills, legislators, interest groups, companies, and topics.

The
event was well attended and a lively discussion followed the
presentations. NOCALL and SLA members networked over cocktails and
enjoyed a lovely evening. Diane Rodriguez and Marlene Harmon coordinated
the event with the SF-SLA Chapter on behalf of the NOCALL Government
Relations Committee. NOCALL also thanked LexisNexis for sponsoring the
event and their continuing support of librarian continuing education.

California Chapters Support Online Archives Program
Submitted by Anna Russell, San Diego Area Law Libraries (SANDALL) Past President

In
February, a California bill (Assembly Bill 2674) was introduced to
require the Secretary of State to establish an Online Archives Program.
As the bill went to committee in March, the state archivist reached out
for letters of support. Existing California law requires public access
to government records, with specified exceptions. This bill would allow
funding for digital curation, preservation, and a much greater level of
public access to state historical records. The California chapters of
AALL immediately leapt into action, registering our support along with
the Council of State Archivists and the California Association of
Licensed Investigators.

Roundup and Review

Washington E-Bulletin – February 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Waiting for the FY 2017 Federal Budget
Copyright Modernization Discussions Continue
ACT NOW
Sign Up for AALL’s Online Advocacy Training and Virtual Lobby Day
AALL IN THE STATES
UELMA in Washington
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016, Issue 02

A Look Ahead

Waiting for the FY 2017 Federal Budget
February is budget season in Washington, which means we’re awaiting the arrival of the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget and with it the beginning of the months-long appropriations process. Congressional leadership has committed to returning to regular order for appropriations, with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) making repeated public pledges to have individual spending bills go through committee and onto the floor for consideration.

Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, announced last month that the President’s budget would be unveiled on February 9. That means we’ll soon know exactly what’s in the agencies’ requests for Fiscal Year 2017 and be able to determine which of the agencies that promote access to government information will need our support the most. After the Government Publishing Office (GPO) experienced a significant cut in FY 2016, most of which came from the Revolving Fund which supports the development of FDsys, we expect GPO to ask for a much-needed funding boost this year.

As always, it will be important for AALL members to speak out in support of these agencies once the appropriations committees are considering their requests. Last year, AALL member calls and letters helped to influence the Senate in restoring funding to GPO’s Revolving Fund. We’ll alert you when it’s time to take action once again- thanks in advance!

Copyright Modernization Discussions Continue

Congressional staff of the House Judiciary Committee continue to meet with interest groups, content creators, and other stakeholders about the future of U.S. copyright law, including the proposed move of the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress. AALL has developed a one-pager about the proposal and our opposition to the CODE Act (H.R. 4241), which would establish the Copyright Office as an independent agency. We believe this move would weaken the Office and jeopardize its relationship with the library community.

The future home of the Copyright Office is just one of many issues being discussed in Congress and within the Copyright Office. Later this month, AALL will submit a response to the Copyright Office’s request for comment on their 1201 Study [80 F.R. 81369, Docket No. 2015-8]. The Office is considering updates to the library exemption and changes to the triennial rulemaking process, among other issues. Written comments are due February 25, with reply comments due March 25.
   
Act Now

Sign Up for AALL’s Online Advocacy Training and Virtual Lobby Day
Register now for AALL’s online advocacy training on March 9, during which you’ll learn about AALL’s top policy priorities and the most effective ways to influence your members of Congress on copyright reform, improvements to the Freedom of Information Act, privacy, and more. Then, pledge to join your colleagues on March 16 for AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day, when you’ll help raise the profile of law libraries on Capitol Hill by sending coordinated messages  through our Legislative Action Center and social media. If you sign up for Virtual Lobby Day before March 1, you’ll receive special tips and insider information to help maximize your influence.

AALL in the States

Several states are considering the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA)
this year, with bills already introduced in Arizona, New York, and
Washington. We expect introductions in several more states during the
next few months.

UELMA in Washington
Submitted by Anna Endter, Law Librarians of Puget Sound (LLOPS) Government Relations Committee Chair

UELMA was very recently introduced in Washington as Senate Bill 6361.
LLOPS and WestPac have been advocating for the introduction of UELMA in
Washington State for years and are pleased to see that our Code Reviser
is now in support of the legislation. The Senate Committee on Law &
Justice had a hearing on SB 6361 last week and recommended that it
pass. The LLOPS Executive Board passed a Resolution in support of UELMA
before the hearing and requested that it be included in the hearing
record along with WestPac’s Resolution. The bill is now in the Rules
Committee and will be scheduled for a second reading. 

Roundup and Review

  • AALL joined more than 50 organizations to request that the Federal Communications Commission commence a rulemaking to protect the privacy of broadband consumers
  • We also wrote to House leadership in support of the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act (H.R. 653), which passed the House on January 11. AALL has concerns about language added to the bill at the eleventh hour by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Washington E-Bulletin – January 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
What’s to Come in 2016?
ACT NOW
Nominations for PAGI and Oakley Advocacy Awards due February 1
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016, Issue 01

A Look Ahead

What’s to Come in 2016?

Members of Congress are returning to Washington after Congress’s winter break, with the House back in town this week and the Senate returning next week. Lawmakers have less time than last year to get things done, with just over 110 scheduled voting days on the House’s calendar and with election-year politics distracting lawmakers from the business of legislating. However, the election year brings special opportunities to get to know your lawmakers while they spend more time in their districts and to promote AALL’s top policy priorities on Capitol Hill. Looking into our crystal ball, we believe the following issues present the best chance for action this year.

Access to Government Information
Increased attention to the need for access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports may help move this issue, which AALL has advocated in favor of for more than a decade. AALL is working with a coalition of like-minded advocates pushing for greater access to CRS reports, and we support a House resolution (H.Res 34) to create a centralized, searchable database for these reports.

We also hold out hope that Congress will return to a more predictable appropriations process, as leaders of the House and Senate have committed to return to “regular order” for appropriations. Regular order would allow more frequent and predictable opportunities for AALL members to speak out for adequate funding for the agencies we support, including the Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress.

Copyright
Now that the House Judiciary Committee has finished its years-long examination of copyright law, the Committee is considering next steps for reform. As you may recall, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) kicked off a series of 20 hearings in 2013, saying the Committee’s goal was to “determine whether the laws are still working in the digital age.” The first hearing, held in March 2013, featured testimony from Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante, who outlined her vision for what she refers to as “the Next Great Copyright Act”. Recently, several members of the House Judiciary Committee have introduced the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act or CODE Act (H.R. 4241), which would establish the Copyright Office as an independent legislative branch agency separate from the Library of Congress. AALL opposes the CODE Act because we believe such a move would weaken the Copyright Office and create barriers for the Library of Congress in building a comprehensive national collection. As we await more information about the Committee’s next steps, we will continue to advocate for an equitable balance in copyright law between the rights of information users and rights of copyright owners and licensors.

Privacy
Another issue ripe for action is the much-needed update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). In December, Chairman Goodlatte held the Committee’s first hearing on the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), which would update electronic communications privacy laws to protect the privacy of citizens and library users while balancing law enforcement and national security needs. H.R. 699 is cosponsored by 308 members of the House and would easily pass if brought to the House floor for a vote. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission is asking for an exemption that would allow the agency to access content stored by third-party service providers without a warrant, a move that would weaken the legislation. AALL will continue to push Congressional leadership to modernize the outdated privacy law by allowing clean ECPA bills to go to the floor for a vote.

Act Now

Nominations for PAGI and Oakley Advocacy Awards due February 1

AALL’s Government Relations Committee is seeking nominations for the 2016 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 awards, please send your nominations to Government Relations Committee chair Peggy Jarrett by February 1, 2016.

Roundup and Review

  • AALL submitted comments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on proposed revisions to Circular A-130, emphasizing the need for agencies to consider permanent public access and preservation in managing their information
  • We signed on to a letter to OMB expressing concerns that the agency is not complying with the President’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government
  • There’s a new site hosting CRS reports, aptly called CRSReports.com. While this a helpful site for research, as explained above, AALL strongly believes the government should host these reports

Washington E-Bulletin – December 2015

A LOOK AHEAD
Congress Sprints toward Finish Line
White House Proposes Weak Update to Info Policy Circular
ACT NOW
Take Action Before December 11 in Support of GPO and LC
AALL IN THE STATES
A Victory for California County Law Libraries
UELMA 2016: Get Ready to Advocate in Your State!
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2015, Issue 10

A Look Ahead

Congress Sprints toward Finish Line
With less than two weeks left before the end of the first session of the 114th Congress, the House and Senate are moving at full speed to accomplish several legislative priorities. Chief among them is funding for the federal government to avoid another shutdown. The two-year budget agreement passed by Congress in October may provide some predictability for government agencies, including the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress (LC), which have had to contend with years of budget uncertainty. However, Congress still needs to hash out the details of what an omnibus spending package would like by Dec. 11 to keep the government open. See our action item below to find out how you can help support GPO and LC through this process.

White House Proposes Weak Update to Info Policy Circular
For the first time in 15 years, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is proposing updates to Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, which provides guidance on the Executive Branch’s information policy practices. AALL joined OpenTheGovernment.org and nine other organizations on comments that suggest improvements to OMB’s proposal. In particular, the comments request that OMB reinstate language about the importance of public access to government information and the free flow of information. We also joined a letter to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the Chief Information Officer raising concerns about the comment process, which required users to follow a link for more information and to create accounts on GitHub in order to comment. AALL will submit separate comments later this week that focus on access and preservation issues.

Act Now 

Take Action Before December 11 in Support of GPO and LC
Join hundreds of your colleagues who have already sent letters to their members of Congress in support of funding for GPO and LC. Use AALL’s Action Center to personalize our sample emails. It only takes a few minutes, but your efforts will go far in helping to educate your members of Congress about the importance of these legislative branch agencies.

AALL in the States

A Victory for California County Law Libraries
Submitted by David McFadden, Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL) Government Relations Chair

The Council of California County Law Librarians, with the help of the three California AALL Chapters, secured passage and the Governor’s signature on a bill, SB 711, which modernizes the existing language authorizing county law libraries to collect fines and other charges. Statutory language will now explicitly allow charges for electronic delivery, other delivery services, educational programs, and special events. Many county law libraries already charge these fees but this new law makes it clear that this is permitted. SB 711 also includes county law libraries in the definition of “public libraries” for certain purposes dealing with the State Librarian.


UELMA 2016: Get Ready to Advocate in Your State!  

With just about a month to go until many state legislatures convene for their 2016 sessions, now’s the time to organize advocacy efforts around the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA). If you would like to get involved in UELMA advocacy in your state but aren’t sure where to start, please contact Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren. UELMA advocacy is
important to the profession and can be tremendously rewarding.

Roundup and Review  

  • GPO recently announced approval of a new discard policy for regional depository libraries. The policy will significantly impact law library selectives and access to information in the Federal Depository Library Program. If you have feedback about the new policy, please contact Government Relations Committee chair Peggy Jarrett or Director of Government Relations Emily Feltren
  • Sunday marked the end of the NSA’s bulk collection program, as several requirements of the USA Freedom Act went into effect
  • The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on ECPA yesterday. Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is key in moving the reform bill forward

Want more news and analysis like this? Join AALL’s Advocacy Listserv to stay in the loop about AALL’s public policy priorities

Washington E-Bulletin – September 2015

A LOOK AHEAD
Congress Gets Back to Work
ACT NOW
Register for the 2015 DLC Meeting and FDL Conference
AALL IN THE STATES
UELMA Advocacy in 2016
Submit your Chapter Advocacy Updates
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2015, Issue 09


Look Ahead

Congress Gets Back To Work
The end of summer might make for a rude awakening for members of Congress, who will return to Capitol Hill on September 8 to tackle a number of important, time sensitive tasks. Before the end of the month, they’ll need to come to consensus on Iran, pass a highway funding bill, and even visit with the Pope. And at the top of their to do list: avoid a government shutdown.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 ends on September 30 and with it, so does funding for the federal government. With the House having passed only six of the twelve FY 2016 appropriations bill and the full Senate having considered none, it is overwhelmingly likely that Congress will again pass a temporary spending bill, called a Continuing Resolution (CR), to fund the government in the new fiscal year at the previous year’s levels.

However, some House conservatives have announced plans to oppose any measure that funds Planned Parenthood, while Democrats have said they would not support a measure that defunds the organization, raising the stakes for a Planned Parenthood-related shutdown from both sides. Failing to pass even a short term, stopgap spending bill before October 1 would cause the government to shut down as it did in 2013, a fate many Democrats and Republicans would prefer to avoid leading up to next year’s elections.

As we’ve noted in previous years, the lack of a regular appropriations process means that federal agencies must do their best to contend in the uncertainty of future budgets, as they are unable to predict how much— if any—they’ll be able to spend on new or continued programs. With so much unknown about future budgets, it is especially important to commend and support the important work some agencies do to promote access to legal information. If you haven’t already done so, you can use AALL’s Legislative Action Center to send customized emails to your members of Congress to remind and educate them about important work of the Government Publishing Office, Library of Congress, National Archives, Legal Services Corporation, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. These agencies’ uninterrupted operations are essential to informing the American public about their government and promoting a healthy democracy.

If Congress does pass a Continuing Resolution, it’s likely another fiscal battle may come at the end of the year. The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the Treasury Department will run out of money sometime between mid-November and early December, requiring Congress to raise the debt ceiling around the same time a CR would likely expire.

Act Now

Register for the 2015 DLC Meeting and FDL Conference
Join your FDLP friends and colleagues at the 2015 Depository Library Council Meeting & Federal Depository Library Conference October 19-21 in Arlington, Virginia. The theme of this year’s event is: GPO and the FDLP: A Rich History, A Vibrant Future. A preliminary schedule and agenda are available for download. Register by October 12 to attend in person or follow along virtually. Selected programs of will be broadcast online, with registration for these sessions available soon. 

AALL in the States

UELMA Advocacy in 2016
The Uniform Law Commission is collecting its 2016 legislative enactment plans and Commissioners in several 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. Need a refresher on the process? Watch the recording of our May 2015 training “Progress Report: UELMA Advocacy in 2015 and Beyond,” available on the UELMA Resources page.

Submit your Chapter Advocacy Updates
Chapter members are encouraged to share news, events, and policy updates with the broader AALL membership via this monthly column in the Washington E-Bulletin.  Use AALL Chapter Government Relations Listserv (chaptergr@aallnet.org) to share your advocacy updates.

Roundup and Review


 Please note: Regular publication of the Washington E-Bulletin will be on hiatus until December 2015. Subscribe to the Advocacy Listserv to receive the latest AALL advocacy news.

Washington E-Bulletin – August 2015

A LOOK AHEAD
So-Called Cybersecurity Legislation Called Into Question
ACT NOW
Tell your Senators to Oppose the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act
It?s Recess!
AALL IN THE STATES
UELMA Update
Vermont Law School Library Announces Public Access
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2015, Issue 08

A Look Ahead

So-Called Cybersecurity Legislation Called Into Question
As the Senate enters its final work week before the August recess, the fate of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) (S. 754) hangs in the balance. Last week, AALL joined a broad coalition of privacy advocates, tech companies, and civil liberties groups to oppose CISA, a bill which does more to increase surveillance, undermine transparency, and leave your personal information vulnerable to attack than it does to protect against cyber threats. Amid the outpouring of opposition and crunch for time, several Senators have signaled that consideration of the bill may be pushed till fall, though a number of scenarios are possible.

First, the Senate will hold a procedural vote an unrelated bill banning federal funds to Planned Parenthood. If that measure fails to get the 60 votes needed to advance today, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) told reporters last week that CISA would be next in line for floor time, likely beginning debate on Wednesday and finishing as early as Thursday evening. However, how Senator McConnell handles the amendment process could determine the bill’s success; demand to amend the bill is widespread and bipartisan. Senator McConnell could agree to allow each party to offer a certain number of amendments relevant to the bill or seek to “fill the tree” with his own amendments, preventing others from consideration. Privacy advocates who oppose CISA, like Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), may try to prevent debate altogether. 

While AALL believes strongly in the need for legislative improvement to cybersecurity information sharing practices, we know CISA, as written, is not that fix. Under CISA, companies in the private sector would be authorized to share information about their users’ Internet activity with the federal government, even when that data is unnecessary to identify or protect against a threat. Information shared with one federal agency could then be shared throughout the government, potentially putting your personal information in the hands of agencies like the National Security Agency and vulnerable to hacking. Further, CISA would add a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the first time since 1967, an unnecessary and deeply troubling anti-transparency provision.

Law librarians helped to prevent similarly bad legislation, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, from advancing in 2011 and 2013. Now, we need your help again. With the situation in flux, it is important to keep the pressure on Congress and voice your concerns. See below for information about contacting your Senators to urge them to oppose CISA for the automatic and over-broad surveillance authorities and transparency-weakening provisions it would enable.

Act Now

Tell your Senators to Oppose the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act
The Senate is expected to consider CISA (S. 754) this week. This legislation contains dangerous provisions that would allow companies to liberally share sensitive personal information with the government for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity and without meaningful oversight. The bill would also create a new FOIA exemption for the first time since 1967. 

CISA would permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity. Despite demanding narrower cybersecurity use restrictions, President Obama has not issued a veto threat for CISA. Please write your Senators today to urge them to oppose CISA. Our pre-written email alert makes the process easy. Just enter your home address, customize your email, and send it on its way. 

It’s Recess!
By law and tradition, Congress recesses for the month of August, providing ample opportunity for you to engage your federal lawmakers on the policy issues most affecting law librarianship. On tap this summer: the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) (S. 779), which was voted out of committee just last week. FASTR would expand open access policies by requiring agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from funded research.

Though we’ll likely see another short-term appropriations solution for Fiscal Year 2016, we still need your help to educate you members of Congress about the need for sufficient funding for the Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress. Other salient issues include updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Plan now to reach out to your Members of Congress through meetingslibrary toursemailletters, and town halls. The relationships you create will prove beneficial far beyond the end of summer! Please contact the Government Relations Office for help with scheduling and talking points.

AALL in the States

UELMA Update
The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) is poised for introduction this fall: The District of Columbia City Council will likely reintroduce the bill in September in tandem with a number of uniform acts. In anticipation, AALL and the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, DC sent a letter in support of UELMA to chair of the Council’s Judiciary Committee. The Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries (ORALL) Government Relations Committee Chair Mary Jenkins reports that ORALL anticipates UELMA introduction in Ohio in September. GODORT of Ohio (the Government Documents Roundtable) passed a resolution of support for UELMA adoption in the state last month.

Vermont Law School Library Announces Public Access
Submitted by Anne McDonald, LLNE Government Relations Committee Co-Chair
The Julien and Virginia Cornell Library at Vermont Law School now provides legal reference service to the public, filling the gap left by the closure of the Vermont State Law Library on July 10. The Law School Library received a $67,000 grant from the state to offset the costs of the new public services. Director Cynthia Lewis said in a statement, “Libraries play an important role in providing access to justice. The closure of the state law library program will have an impact on attorneys, alumni and, most importantly, self-represented litigants in Vermont. Our plans include serving as an information resource not only for self-represented litigants, attorneys and alumni, but also for public librarians who assist Vermonters with reference questions about legal issues.” The Law Librarians of New England (LLNE) chapter of AALL opposed the closure of the State Law Library, but is pleased to see the Vermont Law School Library offer a workable solution.

Roundup and Review