Washington eBulletin – July 2019

A Look Ahead

National Archives Responds to Concerns About Obama Presidential Library

In June, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hosted a meeting between NARA leadership and nongovernmental organizations interested in access to government information, including AALL. In advance of the meeting, AALL requested that an update about the Obama Presidential Library be included on the agenda to address concerns about the Obama Foundation’s plans for an all-digital library. NARA had previously stated that, “The Obama Foundation, a private entity, made the decision not to construct a Presidential Library for NARA to house the textual and audiovisual records and artifacts. Instead it will provide funding for the digitization of records so they can be made available online.”

Donius provided assurances that the digitization of President Barack Obama’s records by a private contractor for the Obama Foundation will be required to meet all NARA standards and will be ingested with metadata into NARA’s searchable Electronic Records Archives. Donius also reiterated that NARA takes seriously the need to make presidential archivists and librarians available to assist users with the digital material.

AALL will continue to track plans for the Obama Presidential Library and update members on further developments.

Act Now

Learn Advocacy Skills at the Annual Meeting

AALL members will converge on Capitol Hill on July 12 for AALL 2019 Lobby Day to champion legal information and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Association’s advocacy program. In addition to Lobby Day, there are several opportunities for AALL Annual Meeting attendees to learn about AALL’s legislative priorities and successes. The AALL Public Policy Update will provide information about the Association’s legislative priorities and activities and will offer an opportunity to hear from the winners of the AALL Public Access to Government Information Award and Robert L. Oakley Advocacy Award. The 30 Years on the Front Lines: The Past, Present, and Future of Information Policy Advocacy at AALL program will inform participants of the meaningful successes enjoyed by AALL’s advocacy efforts during the last three decades and inspire participants to get involved to make meaningful contributions at the federal and state levels.

Roundup and Review

  • Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced the Senate version of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act to free access to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. AALL strongly supports the bill.
  • The federal Judiciary is looking for people to serve on a new public user group on PACER. Applications are due July 26
  • AALL joined a letter to urge the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to approve the bipartisan Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act of 2019 (H.R. 150/S. 1829). On June 19, the Committee voted to favorably report the bill
  • AALL urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the Save the Internet Act (S.682) to a vote in the Senate. The bill restores strong net neutrality protections.