Washington eBulletin – February 2018

A Look Ahead

House Committee Continues Work on Draft Title 44 Reform Bill

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

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

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

Act Now

Help Save Net Neutrality

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

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

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

AALL in the States

UELMA Advocacy in 2018

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

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

Roundup and Review

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