AALL ACTION ALERT: Restore Funding for GPO FDsys and FDLP PROGRAMS

August 18, 2011

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch will consider its version of the FY 2012 funding bill as early as the first week of September. It is critical that you contact your Senators today to support funding for the Government Printing Office (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys) and Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) as the future of these programs is in jeopardy.

Background

The House of Representatives on July 22 passed H.R. 2551, the FY 2012 Legislative Branch appropriations bill.  H.R. 2551 would reduce the GPO budget by 20 percent to $108.1 million, and prohibit transfers to the GPO’s “revolving fund”.  The bill specifically provides no funding for FDsys and instead suggests that GPO comes up with another funding stream to pay for this essential government function. This means new bills, laws, other important legal materials and government documents may not be accessible.

In addition, the Superintendent of Documents Salaries and Expenses account was cut by 16 percent.  This line item supports annual FDsys expenses and also supports public access to congressional and other government information through the FDLP.  These cuts would undermine the entire FDLP program; GPO works in partnership with the more than 1200 participating depository libraries, including law libraries, to provide access to federal government information, including important information for businesses, consumers, and the general public.

AALL strongly supports GPO’s FY 2012 request, which includes $42 million under Salaries and Expenses (including $304,000 for FDsys annual operating costs) and $5 million under the revolving fund for the continued development of FDsys.  AALL strongly opposes the GPO funding levels included in H.R. 2551, as passed by the House of Representatives.

More information is available here: LibraryJournal.com article, AALL Govt. Relations Summary

Urgent Action Needed – PLEASE follow the instructions below.

If you live in States whose Senators sit on the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, your participation is especially important, but every Senator will play a role in the outcome. Your voice as a constituent will also play a key role in this debate.  Please act now:

(1)   Please write a personal letter to both of your Senators urging them to support appropriate levels of funding for these programs. A SAMPLE letter for you to customize and personalize with your own experiences is below.  Please fax a copy to your Senators and send the PDF version by e-mail to jstrandlie@aall.org.  If you don’t have access to a scanner, please fax a copy to us at (202) 737-0480 and mail the original to AALL, 25 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20001.  Having constituent support in hand will be important as we meet with Congressional offices.  Should you need fax information, e-mail your request to efeldman@aall.org.

(2)   Please consider meeting with your Senators while they are back home during the August recess, or perhaps attend a town hall meeting. The recess extends through Labor Day, September 5.  If you are willing to do this, please e-mail jstrandlie@aall.org as we can help you make the contact.

(3)   Please remember to report your Senators’ responses to your request, so that we can better coordinate this important effort.  E-mail Julie Strandlie, Director, Government Relations, at jstrandlie@aall.org.  Thank you for participating in this important AALL Advocacy Team effort.

Senate Committee on Appropriations

http://appropriations.senate.gov/about-members.cfm

Full Senate

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

SAMPLE LETTER

Available here as a customizable Word Document

(one well-written, personal letter is powerful and effective)

 

LETTERHEAD (IF POSSIBLE)

Your NAME
ADDRESS
CITY, STATE, ZIP

August [XX], 2011

The Honorable [INSERT FIRST AND LAST NAME]
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Subject: Legislative Branch Appropriations bill
Funding for the Government Printing Office, including FDsys and FDLP

Dear Senator [insert last name]:
As a constituent and a law librarian, I urge you to provide full funding for the Government Printing Office (GPO) in the FY 2012 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, as requested by the GPO and the Administration. Recently, the House of Representatives passed its version of this bill (H.R. 2551) and gutted funding for critical GPO programs including the Federal Digital System (FDsys) and the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

While the significant cuts will unacceptably undermine the FDLP program, the elimination of funding for FDsys is of particular concern.

INSERT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES RE FDSYS:

PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF HOW CONSTITUENTS OF THE SENATOR(S) ARE USING THESE PROGRAMS

EXPLAIN WHY THESE PROGRAMS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU, YOUR COLLEAGUES, YOUR STUDENTS, LOCAL BUSINESSES, THE LEGAL COMMUNITY, DEMOCRACY

While I understand Congress’s interest in cutting its own budget and services, these decisions regarding FDsys and the FDLP primarily impact the American people and the legitimacy of our government.  I urge you to provide full funding for GPO, including FDsys and the FDLP, and reject the funding cuts included in H.R. 2551.

Sincerely,

Constituent

Title (unless writing in only individual capacity)


July Issue of the Washington E-Bulletin

August 3, 2011

The July issue of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available on AALLNET. Here is the Table of Contents:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

  • Contribute to GPO’s Collection of PACER Training Guides and Virtual Tools

STAY INFORMED/GET INVOLVED: News and Action Alerts

  • House Approves Severe Cuts to GPO and Library of Congress
  • Department of Justice Makes Digitized Legislative Histories Available to Public
  • National Declassification Center Releases Valuable Records

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: Chapter News

  • Chapter Leaders Join Government Relations Office to Discuss Best Practices
  • AALL Celebrates Working Groups

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

  • GPO Publishes New Authentication White Paper
  • Fastcase Names 50 Leaders in Field of Law, Scholarship and Technology
  • Nixon Presidential Library Releases New Set of Records

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