Washington E-Bulletin – December 2015

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