Contact Your Senators NOW – Ask Them to Vote NO on Net Neutrality Resolution, S.J. Res 6

November 7, 2011

[This post was updated on November 8]

The Senate is expected to vote this week on a resolution of disapproval, S.J. Res 6, which would repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules and strip the FCC of its authority to implement net neutrality.

Please call your Senators today and ask them to vote NO on S.J. Res 6. Because of the short notice, it is important that you call, rather than email, your Senators. The Government Relations Committee and Government Relations Office have posted a new one-pager on why net neutrality matters to law libraries.

The House passed an identical resolution (H.J. Res 37) in April. The FCC’s net neutrality rules are set to take effect on November 20. It is very important that you contact your Senators now to ask them to vote NO on S.J. Res 6. The vote is expected to be very close, so your calls will make a difference.

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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)


AALL ACTION ALERT: Oppose PATRIOT Act Extension Without Reform

May 24, 2011

The Senate is preparing to vote on S. 1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011.  The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  Certain USA PATRIOT Act provisions expire Friday, May 27, including the Section 215 “library provision”.

Background

Senators Reid and McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH-8) made a last-minute, closed-room deal to extend these expiring provisions without meaningful debate or reforms.

S. 1038 would simply extend the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act until June 1, 2015.  Identified problems with this law would not be addressed but instead extended another 4 years.  The lack of additional protections for libraries in S. 1038 is especially troubling in light of a recent Department of Justice report to Congress that found that the government made 96 applications for Section 215 orders in 2010, up from 21 applications in 2009.

AALL supports an important bipartisan amendment expected to be offered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) which would reform the expiring provisions, including the Section 215 provision.  The Leahy/Paul amendment* is essentially the language in S. 193, which was supported by AALL and reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2011.

Among other important improvements, the Leahy/Paul amendment would require the government to show relevance to an authorized investigation and a link to a foreign group or power in order to obtain highly sensitive library circulation records or patron lists, and bookseller records.  The Department of Justice in December 2010 wrote the Judiciary Committee stating that it has, on a voluntary basis, implemented many of the changes in S. 193.   While this is a positive step, Congress must now follow through to make these practices permanent.

Urgent Action Needed

Please call the Capitol Hill Switchboard NOW at (202) 224-3121 to speak to your Senators.  Ask for the Senator’s counsel who handles Judiciary Committee/PATRIOT Act issues. AALL strongly opposes extending current law.  The PATRIOT Act expiring provisions must be reformed to balance the government’s interest in protecting national security with defending the constitutional rights of the American people.

(1)  Inform your Senators that you, as a constituent and law librarian, strongly oppose an automatic extension of PATRIOT Act expiring provisions for FOUR years and strongly oppose S. 1038 as introduced. Without meaningful reform, Congress should only pass a short-term extension of the expiring provisions.

(2)  Urge your Senators to co-sponsor and/or vote for the bipartisan Leahy/Paul amendment which includes AALL-supported reforms to current law.  AALL also supports amendments that may be offered by Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to specifically address the library provision.

(3)  Please remember to report your contacts to AALL’s Government Relations Office, and your Senators’ responses to your request.  E-mail Julie M. Strandlie, Director, Government Relations, at jstrandlie@aall.org.  Thank you for participating in this important AALL Advocacy Team effort.

*Leahy/Paul Amendment Co-sponsors Include:

Paul (R-KY)
Cardin (D-MD)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Coons (D-DE)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Wyden (D-OR)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harkin (D-IA)
Akaka (D-HI)


USA PATRIOT Act Update: Calls to Your Senators Still Needed

February 15, 2011

First, the disappointing news: yesterday, H.R. 514 passed the House by a vote of 275-144 (see how your member voted here). As we explained in our action alert, H.R. 514 would extend the three expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act until December 8, 2011 without making any amendments to Section 215 to protect the privacy of library users.

Despite this setback, we still need your help to ensure the passage of PATRIOT reforms. Please call or email your Senator if he or she is a member of the Judiciary Committee. Ask him or her to vote in favor of Senator Leahy’s USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011 when the committee considers the bill on Thursday.

Here’s the list of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with links to their Web sites. Thank you again for speaking out in support of commonsense reforms to the PATRIOT Act, and please let us know if you receive a response from your Senator.

Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Christopher A. Coons (D-DE)
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)


IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED: Congress Considers USA PATRIOT ACT Extension this Week

February 14, 2011

AALL has posted a new action alert asking members to take action this week as the House and Senate both consider bills to extend the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (including Section 215, the so-called “library provision”).

Please take action now to:

  • Ask your representative to oppose H.R. 514 when it reaches the House floor
  • Ask members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote in favor of USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011 (S. 193) when the committee considers the bill on Thursday

This important action alert includes background information, sample messages, and links to the contact information for your House representatives and Senators.

Thank you for taking action, and please let me know if you receive a response.


Please Help Deliver Our Message on Three “Must-Pass” Bills

August 19, 2010

As AALL President Joyce Janto announced in her E-Newsletter today, the Government Relations Office posted a new action alert on AALLNET to gain support for three “must-pass” bills that protect government whistleblowers and promote improved access to government information. While members of Congress are home for the August recess, we need your help to get Hill support on the following bills:

  • The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372), which would ensure new meaningful protections for government employees and contractors who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse.
  • The Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 6026), which directs the Office of Management and Budget to create a free searchable Web site to provide public access to congressionally mandated reports, a category of important resources that are rarely made available to the public.
  • H.R.6086 and S. 3717, which would repeal a provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203) that exempts certain data produced by the Securities and Exchange Commission from FOIA.

Please take just a few minutes to call or email your Senators and House Representative using the talking points and sample messages in our action alert. By delivering our message, you’ll make a difference before the 111th Congress adjourns at the end of the year.

[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


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