Washington eBulletin – January 2017

A LOOK AHEAD
Advocacy in the New Year
ACT NOW
Join the AALL Advocacy Team
AALL IN THE STATES
Announcing AALL Chapter Collaboration: California Government Relations Committees’ Joint Effort

ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2017 Issue 01

A Look Ahead

Advocacy in the New Year

As the 115th Congress begins, AALL is busy introducing the new Senators and Representatives to the Association and welcoming the returning members back to Washington, DC. We are sharing AALL’s public policy priorities with members of Congress and their staffs, educating them about the Association and the profession, and planning for advocacy opportunities in the coming year.

We are also eagerly awaiting complete announcements of Senate and House Committee assignments and chairmanships so that we can target the members on the committees of most importance to AALL. The Senate Republicans released their committee assignments on January 3, 2017; committee chairs will be selected by a vote of the members of each committee and then ratified by the Senate Republican Conference. The House Speaker’s Office announced its committee chair recommendations in December and the Republican Steering Committee met on January 4, 2017 to make key assignments. We’ll know final committee rosters and leadership in the coming days.

The Senate committees of most interest to AALL are Appropriations (funding for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress (LC)), Judiciary (copyright, FOIA, Attorney General nomination), Rules (GPO and LC), Energy and Commerce (net neutrality), and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (National Archives and Office of the Federal Register). The House committees of particular interest to AALL are Appropriations, House Administration (GPO and LC), Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform (FOIA), and Commerce. We also track the work of the intelligence committees because of their work on surveillance and privacy issues.

One of the most important things you can do right now to prepare to advocate for law libraries in the new Congress is to get to know your elected officials and let us know of any personal connections you have with them. Read on for more information about how you can be a part of AALL’s Advocacy Team.

Act Now

Join the AALL Advocacy Team

Now is the time to get to know your member of Congress, including their background, key issues, and legislative priorities. Visit AALL’s Legislative Action Center to read their bios and link to their websites. Then follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletters to stay informed about their policy priorities and learn about opportunities for making your voice heard via in-district meetings, town halls, online surveys, or phone calls.

Already know your member of Congress? Perhaps you went to law school with one of your members, or know them or their family through community activities. If so, please let us know! AALL’s Advocacy Team Survey asks about any relationships you have with your members of Congress, your policy areas of interest, and on what issues you’d like to get more involved. We keep this information confidential and work with you to help use your connections to the best advantage. These “grasstops” connections are key to influencing members of Congress in support of our issues. Thanks in advance for helping AALL create a strong advocacy network!

AALL in the States

Announcing AALL Chapter Collaboration: California Government Relations Committees’ Joint Effort

The Government Relation Committees (GRCs) of the Northern California Association of Law Libraries (NOCALL), Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL), and San Diego Area Law Libraries (SANDALL), the three California chapters of AALL, have agreed to formalize the coordination of advocacy efforts for monitoring and mounting letter campaigns regarding pending legislation, state or federal, that affects access and dissemination of public information. Judy Janes of NOCALL, Vance Sharp of SANDALL and David McFadden of SCALL – the chairs of the three Government Relation Committees – have agreed to join forces when issues arise that necessitate, or make stronger, a joint advocacy effort.

NOCALL and SCALL, later joined by SANDALL after its formation as a chapter, have worked cooperatively in advocacy since at least the 1990’s. Passage of a bill insuring the retention of legislative and rulemaking files in 1996 and later enactment of UELMA in 2012 are two examples.

Planning for the AALL California Chapter Government Committees’ Collaboration statement began in spring 2016 with emails and regular phone conferences among the three chapter GRC chairs and California members of the AALL GRC committee. The chapter GRCs agreed to a flexible workflow for coordinating joint legislative advocacy efforts. Each chapter GRC brought the agreed workflow to his or her respective executive board for approval. A Google site for storing GRC committee resources and documents was established. The coordinated effort is meant to increase the depth and breadth of governmental advocacy when specific legislation affects the entire state. For efforts that relate to a specific location alone, individual chapter GRC efforts are still preferred. Sharing various legislative efforts at any governmental level ought to provide increased support for AALL’s Government Relations program and efforts.

We are announcing the California chapter collaboration in order to promote a model of regional partnership efforts for broadening our legislative reach. Anyone interested in accessing or viewing the CA GRC google site should contact Anna Russell. Feel free to reach out to any of the California GRC chairs as well for further details about setting up your own regional partnership.

Roundup and Review  

  • View the recording of the recent AALL online training, “Advocates and Influencers: How Law Librarians Can Impact the New Congress and New Administration”, on AALLNET
  • The video recordings, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations from the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials are now on AALLNET

Washington eBulletin – December 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
AALL Priorities in the New Congress and New Administration
ACT NOW
Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Greater Access to Government Information
Register Now: Online Advocacy Training

ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 12

A Look Ahead

AALL Priorities in the New Congress and New Administration

Election day has come and gone, and AALL has been busy analyzing the short- and long-term impact of the election results on law libraries and preparing for the next four years under the new administration. While the makeup of Congress did not change dramatically, the incoming Trump administration has suggested major shifts in policy direction on a number of issues of importance to AALL, including net neutrality, government surveillance, and government transparency. In the coming days and months, AALL will proactively advocate for the policy issues that are core to the profession, including intellectual freedom, privacy, and freedom of information. 

On the day after the election, AALL released its Public Policy Priorities for the 115th Congress, clearly articulating our positions on access to justice, balance in copyright, greater access to government information, openness in government, and protection of privacy. New for this Congress is our express support for access to government data in open and machine-readable formats, an effort that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) strongly backs, as well as language on the importance of oversight of cybersecurity programs and updates to section 1201 of the Copyright Act. AALL will use this Priorities document to advocate for our members and for the essential role of law librarians in a democratic society.

As we transition to a new Congress and administration, it is essential that AALL members become effective advocates for themselves and the profession. Please read on to learn how you can get involved.

Act Now

Register Now: Online Advocacy Training

Register for AALL’s upcoming online advocacy training, “Advocates and Influencers: How Law Librarians Can Impact the New Congress and New Administration,” which will be held on Tuesday, December 13 at 11 a.m. (CST). Learn what to expect from the political landscape of 2017, how you can help promote AALL’s policy priorities, and what strategic opportunities will raise your profile to decision makers at the federal level. Registration ends Monday, December 12.

Roundup and Review  

  • AALL wrote to Congressional leadership to support the Review the Rule Act, S. 3475 and H.R.6341, which would delay the implementation of changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 41 impacts the government’s ability to conduct remote access searches of electronic storage devices. Unfortunately, the bills did not pass and the changes go into effect today, December 1, 2016.
  • We signed on to statements to the Presidential Transition Teams in support of classification reform.
  • The Copyright Office announced the adoption of a final rule to govern the designation and maintenance of DMCA agent information under a new electronic system. Website owners must re-register. 

Washington eBulletin – November 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Changes at the Copyright Office
After the Election
ACT NOW
Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Greater Access to Government Information
Register for the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 11

A Look Ahead

Changes at the Copyright Office

On Friday, October 21, 2016, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced leadership changes at the Library of Congress with the appointment of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante as senior advisor for digital strategy and Karyn Temple Claggett as acting register. The following week, Register Pallante submitted her letter of resignation to Dr. Hayden, declining to take the new position. The Library of Congress has indicated that it will conduct a national search for the next register.

The search for a new head of the Copyright Office comes at an especially important time; the Office is in the midst of several policy studies and Congress is considering a major overhaul of copyright law. The most recent study is of section 1201 of the Copyright Act, for which AALL submitted comments last week. Our comments urged the Copyright Office to consider recommending to Congress a new permanent exemption for the circumvention of malfunctioning, damaged, and obsolete technological protection measures, and a permanent exemption for the blind, visually impaired, or print disabled. We also suggested that Congress consider adopting language attaching liability for circumvention only in cases where the circumvention facilitates copyright infringement. AALL fully expects that, despite leadership changes, the Copyright Office will continue its important policy studies, including those on 1201 and section 108 (the library exception).

It also seems likely that some members of Congress will continue to explore the possibility of moving the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress, a change that Register Pallante had ardently supported. AALL opposes such a move, and we will continue to work with members of Congress to ensure that the Copyright Office continues to reside in the Library.

After the Election

Stay tuned for the December issue of the Washington eBulletin, which will offer a post-mortem analysis of what the election results mean for law libraries, and how AALL and our members can best leverage our collective knowledge to affect the development of public policy in the next Congress and with the new administration. And register now for AALL’s upcoming online advocacy training, “Advocates and Influencers: How Law Librarians Can Impact the New Congress and New Administration” on December 13 at 11 a.m. (CST) to prepare you for the new Congress. Registration is free for AALL members and chapter members.

Act Now

Register for the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

AALL and Boston University School of Law are pleased to host a special conference on the copyright of state legal materials on December 2, 2016, at BU Law. The conference will feature keynote speaker Corynne McSherry, lunch speaker Sarah Jeong, and a full slate of copyright experts on three panels: legal status, operational issues, and advocacy and inspiration. Registration is $75�. Register now to secure your spot.

Roundup and Review  

  • AALL celebrated the FCC’s vote to protect the privacy of internet users
  • Recordings and handouts from the 2016 Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference are now available
  • What’s the impact of secret law on our democracy? The Brennan Center reports  

Washington eBulletin – October 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
As Congress Leaves Town, Attention Turns Away from Capitol Hill
ACT NOW
Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Greater Access to Government Information
Registration Open for National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

AALL IN THE STATES
UELMA Advocacy in 2017
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 10

A Look Ahead

As Congress Leaves Town, Attention Turns Away from Capitol Hill

Congress left Washington last week after passing a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. The funding package keeps the government running only until December 9, forcing both chambers to once again reach an agreement to fund agencies through FY 2017 when they return in mid-November. Without time to pass the 11 remaining appropriations bills during the lame duck session, it’s likely we’ll see a fight over whether to pass a full omnibus or a series of smaller measures, referred to as minibuses. The latter provides an opportunity for greater input from members of Congress and closer examination of each spending measure, but also opens up the possibility of more policy riders and further delays. 

While Congress is out, we’ll turn some of our attention away from Capitol Hill to the Library of Congress, Government Publishing Office (GPO), and Copyright Office. We’re eagerly following Dr. Carla D. Hayden’s first few months as the new Librarian of Congress, and are ready to learn more about her leadership style and plans for transforming the Library. Later this month, we’ll attend GPO’s Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference, where we look forward to hearing the latest about the implementation of the Regional Discard Policy, including whether GPO has identified enough preservation stewards to allow regional depository libraries to begin discarding certain titles. We’ll also draft a response to the Copyright Office’s new request for additional comments on its Section 1201 Study [81 F.R. 66296, Docket No. 2015-8]. The new notice of inquiry asks for feedback on proposed new permanent exemptions for facilitating access to electronic works by those who are blind, visually impaired, or print-disabled and to allow circumvention of certain access control technologies. AALL previously submitted comments in response to the Copyright Office’s Section 1201 study in February 2016.

Act Now

Register for the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

AALL and Boston University School of Law are pleased to host a special conference on the copyright of state legal materials on December 2, 2016 at BU Law. Join keynote speaker Corynne McSherry, your colleagues and other experts in the field for a day-long event on this timely and important topic. Registration is $75- register now to secure your spot.

AALL in the States

UELMA Advocacy for 2017

Uniform law commissioners in more than a dozen states have included the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) on their legislative enactment plans for 2017. AALL members and chapters are now organizing to advocate for UELMA next year. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Emily Feltren, director of government relations, at efeltren@aall.org.

Roundup and Review  

  • The annual Law Librarian and Friends Dinner during Federal Depository Library Conference will be held Monday, October 17. Look for an email from Larry Meyer with additional details and/or contact him
  • PACER class action claiming systematic overcharging for court records proceeds
  • The Marrakesh Treaty (aka “books for the blind”) entered into force on September 30, 2016

Washington E-Bulletin – September 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Congress Readies to Return to Capitol Hill
ACT NOW
Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Greater Access to Government Information
Registration Open for National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

AALL IN THE STATES
UELMA Advocacy in 2017
CALL Presents Legislator of the Year Award to Congressman Quigley
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 9

A Look Ahead

Congress Readies to Returns to Capitol Hill 

Members of the House and Senate return to Washington next week, following seven weeks away from Capitol Hill. One of the top items on their “must do” list is approving an appropriations package to keep the government funded past September 30. As we reported last month, it looks likely that Congress will pass at least a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government funded at Fiscal Year 2016 levels, avoiding a politically damaging government shutdown. 

Members of Congress will once again hit the campaign trail in October, leaving us with a brief window to advocate for AALL’s policy priorities. In the next few weeks, AALL will focus our federal advocacy efforts on gaining support for the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 5876) and the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2016 (H.R. 4702/S. 2639), which require greater access to government reports through the Government Publishing Office’s FDsys/govinfo. You can help increase the support on Capitol Hill for these bills by urging your members of Congress to add their names as cosponsors – see “Act Now” below. AALL will also continue to advocate for a balance in copyright law, including protection of Section 108, and against major changes to the structure of the Copyright Office, including opposition to the CODE Act (H.R. 4241). To help AALL members stay informed about copyright issues, AALL’s Copyright Committee posts regular updates to its blog

Act Now

Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Greater Access to Government Information

Your members of Congress need to hear from you in support of the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 5876) and the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports (H.R. 4702/S. 2639). Please take a few minutes to write to your representative and Senators to urge them to cosponsor these bills. 

Registration Open for National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials

AALL and Boston University School of Law are pleased to host a special conference on the copyright of state legal materials on December 2, 2016 at BU Law. Join your colleagues and other experts in the field for a day-long event on this timely and important topic. Registration is $75- register now to secure your spot.

AALL in the States

UELMA Advocacy for 2017

Uniform law commissioners in more than a dozen states have included the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) on their legislative enactment plans for 2017. AALL members and chapters are now organizing to advocate for UELMA next year. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Emily Feltren, director of government relations, at efeltren@aall.org.

CALL Presents Legislator of the Year Award to Congressman Quigley

The Chicago Association of Law Libraries (CALL) presented its Legislator of the Year Award to Representative Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) in his district office in Chicago. The award honors the Congressman’s work on open government and transparency issues, including access to Congressional Research Service reports and the Freedom of Information Act.

Roundup and Review  

Washington E-Bulletin – August 2016

A LOOK AHEAD
Campaign Season Kicks into High Gear While Work in Washington Continues
ACT NOW
Thank Your Senators for Confirming Dr. Hayden
Reminder: Share Your Reactions to Office of Law Revision Counsel Proposal to Eliminate Print Annual Supplements to U.S. Code

AALL IN THE STATES
HALL, SWALL and LLAM Speak Out in Support of Dr. Hayden
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW

Vol. 2016 Issue 8

A Look Ahead

Campaign Season Kicks into High Gear While Work in Washington Continues

Members of Congress have returned home to campaign before the November elections, leaving Washington for an extended summer recess. When Congress returns after Labor Day, both chambers will be faced with the urgent task of funding federal agencies for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, which begins October 1. At this point, it looks likely that Congress will pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded at FY 2016 levels past September 30, because neither party wants to face a possible government shutdown during an election year.

Summer recess may leave the halls of Congress less noisy than usual, but plenty of action continues off of Capitol Hill. At the White House, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its long-awaited update to Circular A-130, which establishes policies for the management of Federal information resources. The updated circular, now titled “Managing Information as a Strategic Resource,” incorporates some of the suggestions AALL made in comments to OMB last December. We are pleased that OMB reinserted language making clear that federal agencies “shall protect the public’s right of access to Federal information,” and added more references to preservation. Unfortunately, the policy does not go far enough in addressing information life cycle concerns. AALL will continue to work with the White House, Congress, the Government Publishing Office (GPO), Library of Congress, and National Archives and Records Administration to ensure that legal and government information is trustworthy, complete, and preserved for permanent public access.

Meanwhile, implementation of GPO’s regional discard policy moves forward, with recent acceleration of the implementation schedule allowing regional libraries the ability to discard items beginning in September. AALL is concerned that recent changes to the Federal Depository Library Program will put more burden on law libraries to preserve and continue to provide access to federal government information in print. If you’re interested in learning more about these changes, please consider participating in GPO’s August 23 webinar,”Implementing the Regional Discard Policy: Updates and Q&A“.  

Act Now

Thank Your Senators for Confirming Dr. Hayden

AALL eagerly awaits the swearing-in ceremony of new Librarian of Congress Carla D. Hayden. As we look forward to welcoming Dr. Hayden into her new role, please take a moment to thank your Senators for voting in favor of her nomination. If you don’t know how your Senators voted, check the roll call vote.

Reminder: Share Your 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 eliminating the print cumulative annual supplements to the United States Code. AALL is collecting feedback from members about the proposal to share with the OLRC. Please let us know whether the elimination of the print supplements would impact your library users.

AALL in the States

HALL, SWALL and LLAM Speak Out in Support of Dr. Hayden

After AALL heard last month that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was considering putting a hold on the Hayden nomination, the Houston Area Law Librarians (HALL) and the Southwestern Association of Law Libraries (SWALL) acted quickly to urge Senators Cruz and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) to allow the nomination to go to a vote before the summer recess. Thank you to HALL and SWALL for taking action to support our new Librarian of Congress! In addition, the Law Library Association of Maryland (LLAM) released a statement expressing pride in their own Maryland librarian becoming the new Librarian of Congress.

Roundup and Review  

  • AALL met with the Copyright Office regarding our priorities for Section 108 reform
  • What’s next for net neutrality? Find out during an upcoming livestreamed event from TechFreedom, George Washington Institute of Public Policy, and the Open Technology Institute on August 2

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