June Issue of the Washington E-Bulletin: See You in Denver!

June 30, 2010

The June issue of the Washington E-Bulletin includes a look at our exciting upcoming policy programs in Denver, a link to a petition to help save the LSU School of Library and Information Science, and several reports on recent developments on the Hill. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue, and we look forward to seeing many of you in Denver!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

• See You in Denver!
• Please Help Save the LSU School of Library and Information Science
• Thank You for Taking Action on the Recent Coburn Amendment

UPDATES FROM THE HILL AND THE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS OFFICE

• AALL Urges Members of Congress to Support Access to Congressional Earmarks
• AALL and NOCALL Support Transparency Provision in Financial Reform Package
• Justice Department Inspector General Will Investigate FBI’s Use of Surveillance Powers

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: CHAPTER NEWS

• New Case Study: ORALL’s Successful Fight to Save County Law Libraries

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

• Government Printing Office Releases Evaluation of the Needs of FDLP Libraries
• Thurgood Marshall Law Library Adds to Commission on Civil Rights Collection
• New Volume of Foreign Relations of the United States Released
• Energy Department Launches Search Tool Designed to Ease Research

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


Whistleblower Support Center and Archive Features Growing Collection of Resources

June 25, 2010

Long-time whistleblower advocate Dr. Donald R. Soeken has launched a new Web site for his nonprofit organization, the Whistleblower Support Center and Archive. The Web site features a blog with news and videos; articles on whistleblowers and whistleblowing; and a link to the popular International Whistleblower Archive which uses the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service to capture, archive and make accessible a vast collection of whistleblower documents.

In addition to browsing the Web site’s large collection of whistleblower resources and documents, you can become a fan of the Center on Facebook, sign up to follow them on Twitter, and keep track of new items through their RSS feed.

We encourage you to check out this important new Web site, sign up for updates, and visit often to explore this exciting collection of resources.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


AALL Action Alert–Your Immediate Help is Needed!

June 21, 2010

On Thursday June 17, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) offered a package of amendments to the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010. Included in this package was an amendment that would drastically cut funding for executive branch publishing and printing because, according to Coburn, “Nobody reads these. They are all available online.”

We need your help to oppose this amendment.

The Coburn amendment reducing executive branch publishing would have a negative impact on the cost effective printing and binding services procured competitively by the Government Printing Office from thousands of small business printers throughout the country. It would also impact the distribution of important print titles through the Federal Depository Library Program.

Please read our Action Alert for more information and then call your Senators as soon as possible through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Urge your Senators to vote NO on Coburn Amendment No. 4331 related to executive branch printing and publishing.

The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 may be voted on as early as Tuesday, so please take a few minutes to call your Senators now.

Thank you,

Mary Alice Baish
AALL Director of Government Relations
202-942-4237
mbaish@aall.org


Sen. Jeff Sessions Blocks Important Bill to Increase Access to Presidential Records

June 16, 2010

As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares for the June 28 nomination hearing of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has been outspoken about what he considers to be the slow release of records from the Clinton Library to the committee. Ironically, Sen. Sessions has put a hold on the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2009 (H.R. 35) that would help to avoid such delays in the future by ensuring the timely release of presidential records to the public.

The release of presidential records is governed by the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, as amended by Executive Order (E.O.) 12667, which establishes that the public records of our presidents are government property and therefore belong to the American people. Unfortunately, the PRA has been weakened over the years by presidents who wish to keep their records out of public reach.

In 2001, President Bush issued E.O. 13233 granting an incumbent or former president veto power over any public release of materials by the Archivist even after the expiration of the required 12-year withholding period. This executive order was in clear opposition to the intent of the 1978 law, and AALL immediately joined other open government groups in supporting legislative efforts to overturn it. We were pleased when, on his first full day in office, President Obama issued E.O. 13489 to revoke President Bush’s executive order and establish a stronger standard for public access.

AALL supports the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2009 because it would ensure that the important openness provisions of President Obama’s executive order become law. The bill would establish reasonable standards for the release of presidential records and restore the balance between a president’s ability to withhold certain records for a limited time period and the public’s right to access them.

The House passed H.R. 35 on January 7, 2009 by an overwhelming vote of 359-58. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported the bill favorably on April 1, 2009 with an amendment that extends the amount of time an incumbent and former president may review their records before release.

Kagan served as Associate Counsel to President Clinton from 1995 to 1996 and as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council from 1997 to 1999. It’s unfortunate that Sen. Sessions doesn’t recognize that the important piece of legislation he is holding from a floor vote would address his concerns about the delays in getting access to Clinton-era presidential records. We urge him to immediately lift his hold.

To learn more about the history and status of public access to presidential records, please read our Issue Brief.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


Denver Policy Program Spotlight: A Vision for the Future: Authenticated and Official Online Legal Resources (C3)

June 8, 2010

AALL’s groundbreaking 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources, followed by our National Summit, have established AALL as the national leader in advocating for the authentication and preservation of online legal information.

This exciting program, “A Vision for the Future: Authenticated and Official Online Legal Resources,” will give you an opportunity to hear about the progress we’ve made since the Summit; what to expect as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) prepares for  the first reading of the draft Authentication and Preservation of State Electronic Legal Materials Act this July; and how you can help promote these important issues in your own state.

During this timely program, our expert speakers will discuss the progress AALL has made since the release of the 2007 report:

  • Emily Janoski-Haehlen, Chair of AALL’s Electronic Legal Information Access & Citation Committee, will describe the findings of the 2009-2010 updates to the 2007 report. The updates revealed that, as a result of our report, a number of states have recognized the importance of authentication and official status, and have added authentic and official notations to their legal information.
  • Barbara Bintliff, Reporter to the NCCUSL Drafting Committee, will describe some of the issues that the committee has grappled with in its discussions, and update us on the current status of the draft act.
  • Mary Alice Baish, AALL Director of Government Relations, will describe how you can get involved in promoting authentication and permanent public access in your state, including by joining your State Working Group.

The authentication and preservation of online legal resources is a key policy goal  for AALL, and we hope you’ll join us for this important update!

A Vision for the Future: Authenticated and Official Online Legal Resources” (C3) will be held on Sunday, July 11 from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in CCC-Room 201-203.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


Law Library of Congress Adds Enhancements to THOMAS

June 2, 2010

The Law Library of Congress announced today that THOMAS has again been updated with a number of new useful features, in continuing celebration of its fifteenth anniversary. Enhancements include:

  • Expanded Use of the Bookmarking and Sharing Widget: The THOMAS Share Tool allows you to print THOMAS pages and search results; subscribe to regular updates from THOMAS; share THOMAS content via social networking sites and email; and post links to or embed THOMAS content in your personal Web site or blog. First launched only on the Bill Summary & Status and Bill Text pages, this helpful feature is now available on the Congressional Record, Committee Reports, and Nominations and Treaties pages.
  • Consistent, Informative Headers and Improved Navigation: New headers provide useful information at the top of each Bill Summary & Status page. The addition of “back” buttons help users more easily navigate the site.
  • Years Now Included Along with Sessions of Congress: THOMAS now displays the years covered by each session of Congress on the Bill Summary & Status page and the search screen. The Law Library has also added a very nice Congress-to-Year Conversion for users who want to see this information at a glance.

We applaud the Law Library for continuing to add improvements to THOMAS that will help legal researchers and members of the public more easily track legislation and conduct research. We will keep you updated as new features are added.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


May Issue of the Washington E-Bulletin

June 1, 2010

The May issue of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available on AALLNET. This month’s E-Bulletin includes a reminder to register for our Advocacy Training (we’ve extended the registration deadline to Friday, June 4), a summary of the recent audit of agency Open Government Plans to which AALL contributed, an update on recent developments on net neutrality, and more. Here is the Table of Contents:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

• Don’t Forget to Register for the Advocacy Training in Denver!

UPDATES FROM THE HILL AND THE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS OFFICE

• AALL Contributes to Audit of Federal Agency Open Government Plans
• FCC Chairman Proposes Plan to Ensure Net Neutrality
• New National Declassification Center Announces Draft Prioritization Plan
• AALL Urges White House to Release BP Oil Spill Monitoring Data
• White House Refuses to Release Visitor Logs in Response to FOIA Request

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: CHAPTER NEWS

• SNELLA and AALL Celebrate Partial Victory for Connecticut’s Courthouse Law Libraries: 4 of 6 to Remain Open
• CALL Government Relations Committee Launches New Blog

FREE TIME WELL SPENT: Further Reading for the Information Policy Junkie Federal Judiciary Adds Improvements to Web Site

• Law Library of Congress Releases Collection of Resources on Elena Kagan
• CRS Releases Reports on the Jurisprudence of Justice Stevens
• New Digital Curation and Preservation Bibliography Now Available

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


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