November Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin

November 30, 2009

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


-Giving Thanks to All of You
-Government Relations Committee Seeks Nominations for 2010 PAGI and Oakley Awards
-King County (WA) Restores Funding to County Law Library


-Your Help Needed in Support of House PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Bill


-Ferriero Sworn in as New Archivist of the United States
-New Issue Brief on State Secrets Privilege Highlights Need for Reform
-Government Printing Office Honors Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library
-White House Puts Sunshine on Visitor Records
-AALL Urges Nominations to Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board


-Maryland Law Librarians Form First State Authentication Working Group to Respond to Crisis
-LLNE Opposes Budget Cuts to Massachusetts State Library
-California Chapter GRC Chairs Hold Brainstorming Session in L.A.

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

-New CRS Report on Congressional Printing Supports Need for Authentication
-ABA Releases new Media Alerts on Federal Courts of Appeals Web site
-Pew Center on the States’ Report Card on Financial Stability of States
-Become a Fan of the Law Library of Congress on Facebook
-Congressional Committee Web Sites Need Major Upgrades
-New Tool Creates Persistent URLs for THOMAS

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

Ask Your House Rep. to Vote for PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Bill, H.R. 3845

November 19, 2009

The Government Relations Office again needs your help in contacting your House representative in support of the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845).

The message is simple: Please ask your representative to support H.R. 3845 when it reaches the House floor.

On November 5, the House Judiciary Committee favorably reported H.R. 3845 as amended. The bill would raise the standard for Section 215 orders to protect the private information of library users, improve the standards for issuing National Security Letters and adopt important new reporting, audit and oversight provisions.

Please use our action alert to ask your representative to vote for H.R. 3845 when it reaches the House floor. Our action alert contains all the information you need to write an email to your representative, including a sample message.

Thank you for taking action, and please let me know if you receive a response from your representative. To learn more about the PATRIOT Act Reauthorization process, please read our newly updated Issue Brief.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

New Issue Brief on the State Secrets Privilege

November 18, 2009

AALL Government Relations Committee member Cindi Ernst wrote an excellent new issue brief this month on the state secrets privilege. This timely issue brief provides background information on the development of the privilege since it was first asserted by the government more than fifty years ago, and updates on recent efforts for reform.

Legislation in the Senate (S.417) and House (H.R. 984) would reform the state secrets privilege by requiring judges to review the government’s claims of executive privilege and the classified evidence in question. AALL supports both bills.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

Administrative Office of U.S. Courts Wants Your Feedback on PACER

November 13, 2009

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) announced on November 2 that it is looking for feedback on PACER through an online survey to assess user satisfaction with current services and generate suggestions for future improvements to the system.

The survey is part of the AO’s year-long, comprehensive assessment of PACER. It is very important that the AO hear from law librarians and we encourage you to share your opinions and ideas. According to the announcement, the survey will be open for approximately 30 days.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

House Judiciary Committee Passes PATRIOT Reauthorization Bill

November 6, 2009

Yesterday, the  USA Patriot Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845) was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 16-10. During the mark-up, the Committee adopted Chairman Conyers’ manager’s amendment that tightens the standards for issuing National Security Letters and adopts important new reporting, audit and oversight provisions. Unfortunately, the committee also adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA-29) that struck the “specific and articulable facts” language for Sec. 215 orders.

Thank you to all of you who took action on our alert to ask your representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 3845. Earlier this week, AALL, MLA and SLA sent a letter to Chairman John Conyers (D-MI-14), Jerrold Nadler(D-NY-8) and Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) to express support for the bill.

As we reported in the October E-Bulletin, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009 (S. 1692) favorably out of committee on October 13. The bill will now go to the Senate floor for a vote.

For more information about the fast-moving PATRIOT Act reauthorization process, please take a look at our updated Issue Brief.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

Senate Confirms Ferriero as Archivist of the United States

November 6, 2009

Today the Senate voted to confirm David Ferriero as the 10th Archivist of the United States. As we reported in the October edition of the Washington E-Bulletin, Ferriero is a librarian and a highly qualified candidate to assume leadership of the National Archives and Records Administration. AALL is pleased with his confirmation by the Senate.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

White House Posts Visitor Logs

November 4, 2009

Late last week, the White House followed through on its recent promise to disclose White House visitor logs online. Under its voluntary disclosure policy, the White House will make available online the records of visitors from the previous 90-120 days. AALL applauded the White House in September for taking this important step toward increased transparency.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

Immediate Action Needed: Ask Your House Rep. to Co-Sponsor PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Bill

November 3, 2009

With the December 31st sunset of Section 215 (the “library provision”) of the PATRIOT Act quickly approaching, we need your help to get your representative to co-sponsor Rep. Conyers’  PATRIOT Act Reauthorization bill, H.R. 3845, the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009.

Please call your House representative immediately to urge him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 3845, which would raise the standard for Section 215 orders and restore the pre-PATRIOT Act standard for National Security Letters. If your representative is already a co-sponsor, please thank him or her for signing on.

Our action alert has all the information you need to make your call or write your email, including talking points, sample messages, the number for the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and links to your representative’s Webmail form.

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a mark-up of the bill on Wednesday at 12:30pm. If you can call your representatives before then, please do so; otherwise, a call or email to your representative later this week will be just as important. Please email me any feedback you receive when you make your call.

Thanks for taking action to ensure the passage of a strong law that balances the needs of law enforcement with safeguards for our civil liberties.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

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