December Edition of the E-Bulletin

December 23, 2008

Seasons Greetings! The December Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available. This issue includes a look at the 111th Congress, a summary of the new AALL statement to the Obama-Biden Transition Team,  a link to the new Net Neutrality Issue Brief available on our Web site, a Save the Date for Sunshine Week, and much more. Please enjoy reading this full issue of the E-Bulletin!

Here is the Table of Contents for the December Edition:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
-Seasons Greetings from the Government Relations Office
-Statement to The Obama-Biden Transition Team: Public Policy Positions of The American Association of Law Libraries

TAKE ACTION NOW
-Prepare to Welcome New Members of Congress

UPDATES FROM THE HILL AND THE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS OFFICE

-Important Changes in Congressional Committee Leadership
-New Issue Brief on Network Neutrality
-Save the Date: 2009 Sunshine Week Webcast
-AALL Participates in EPA Working Group
-Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein Resigns
-Groups Send Transparency Bailout Letter to the Hill

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: CHAPTER NEWS

-LLSDC Holds Advocacy Program with Government Relations Office Staff
-ORALL Celebrates Passage of Legislation to Ensure the Future of Ohio County Law Libraries

FREE TIME WELL SPENT: Further Reading for the Information Policy Junkie

-Take Your Seat at the Transition Table
-The Value of Federal Depository Libraries
-CRS Report on “Midnight Rulemaking”
-Government Secrecy Resources

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


Obama Transition Team Offers You a Seat at the Table

December 9, 2008

The Obama Transition Team demonstrated its commitment to transparency this week by introducing the  Your Seat at the Table feature on Change.gov. On the Your Seat at the Table Web site, you can track Transition team meetings, view documents provided to the Transition (including the 21st Century Right to Know Project’s transparency recommendations!), and leave comments on posted items. In a memo from Transition Project Co-chair John Podesta to Obama Transition staff, Podesta wrote,

Every day, we meet with organizations who present ideas for the Transition and the Administration, both orally and in writing. We want to ensure that we give the American people a “seat at the table” and that we receive the benefit of their feedback.

Accordingly, any documents from official meetings with outside organizations will be posted on website for people to review and comment on.

This is an exciting project, and it demonstrates President-elect Obama’s commitment to  “Open Up Government to its Citizens” by using “cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation for America’s citizens” as outlined in his Technology Agenda.

The information posted on the Your Seat at the Table Web site includes:

1. Documents: All policy documents and written policy recommendations from official
meetings with outside organizations.
2. Meetings: The date and organizations represented at official meetings in the Transition
headquarters or agency offices, with any documents presented as noted above.

Going one step farther, Podesta wrote,

This scope is a floor, not a ceiling, and all staff are strongly encouraged to include additional materials. Such materials could include documents (recommendations, press releases, etc.) presented in smaller meetings or materials or made public by the outside organization without a connection to an official meeting.

This is a remarkable effort to provide the public with meaningful access to the Transition process. It is also a promising example of the kind of transparency we can expect from the Obama administration in the future.


CQ Examines Secrecy in Congress

December 8, 2008

The cover story of the November 30, 2008 edition of CQ Weekly features an in-depth look at the state of secrecy in Congress, “A Dome Under Lock and Key.” The article’s author, Tim Starks, explores  Congress’s current and historical penchant for secrecy, the pressure for reform, and the impact that President-elect Barack Obama might have on encouraging more transparency. Starks looks closely at Congress’s tendency to hold secret meetings and back-room negotiations without notifying the public of such events. The article also examines how committees that deal with  national security issues handle classified information and how these committees  might be more open to the public.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


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