Help us support UELMA in Massachusetts!

UELMA (Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act) is once again before the Massachusetts Legislature as H. 812, sponsored by Carmine L. Gentile and currently in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. LLNE member (and head of its Government Relations Committee’s Subcommittee working on the passage of UELMA in Massachusetts) Marnie Warner testified in favor of the legislation on May 2nd. You can read a copy of her testimony on the LLNE website.

We can use your help in two ways:

1) If you are a Massachusetts resident and your representative is on the Joint Judiciary Committee, please contact that person to encourage passage of H. 812. If your representative is not on the committee, please contact the committee chairs. (See Find My Legislator if you are not sure who your representative is.) Below are links to some examples of letters, but it is good to idea to personalize the message so that all messages are not identical. You might also want to link to or consult our LLNE UELMA one-pager.

§ LLAM Sample letter to Committee member
§ AALL Sample One-Pager for Chapters or Individual
§ AALL Sample Letter of Support to Committee Chairs (Individual)
§ Additional AALL UELMA Materials

2) Tell us your stories!

As part of our UELMA advocacy we are looking for stories of how lack of access to digital legal information has affected real people. Please help us by filling out the following survey: http://bit.ly/uelma-survey .

Thank you for caring about these issues and helping us make UELMA a reality in Massachusetts!

Government Relations Committee update

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Massachusetts UELMA Bill

Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee of the LLNE GRC, the UELMA bill is making its way through the Massachusetts legislature. H 812, sponsored by Rep. Carmine Gentile, was heard in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on May 2, 2017.  The UELMA Subcommittee will keep the LLNE membership apprised of further action on its web page, where it has added an updated UELMA in Massachusetts one-pager.

Why is UELMA important?  As the above-mentioned fact sheet notes: “enactment of UELMA will put a set of principles in place if a body in the future decides to publish in only online form or designate their online materials for use of the public as official.” Updates will be posted on this page and on the LLNE blog when available.  AALL also has a wealth UELMA resources on its Government Relations site, which is constantly being updated. It is important for LLNE members who reside in Massachusetts to contact their legislators at critical times, so please check the website from time to time and follow through.

AALL Virtual Lobby Day

AALL’s Government Relations Office Director Emily Feltren reports that the AALL’s Virtual Lobby Day on April 26 enjoyed very active participation by AALL members who sent a flurry of emails to their legislators in support of its top priorities.  The most popular action alert was in support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, followed by funding for the Legal Services Corporation and net neutrality.

If you were unable to participate in Lobby Day, there’s still time to act: visit AALL’s Action Center  to learn more about these issues and to email your Members of Congress directly from the site.

AALL is focusing on these issues:

  • Full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, (IMLS)
  • Full funding for the Legal Services Corporation
  • Net Neutrality
  • ECPA (Electronic Communication Privacy Act) Reform
  • Keep Appointment authority for Register of Copyrights with the Librarian of Congress.

A word on the Copyright bill:  The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 1695/S 1010) which makes the Register of Copyrights subject to Presidential Appointment and Senate confirmation passed in the House on April 26th with bipartisan support and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. Emily Feltren stated in an email that this bill is deemed a compromise because it does not go as far as the CODE Act (HR 890) and keeps the Copyright Office within the Library of Congress. Nevertheless, AALL opposes the bill because it would have a detrimental effect on interactions between the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Government and Legislative News of Interest from New England States

Maureen Quinlan, GRC’s Maine state representative, would like LLNE members to know about the new digital library at the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, the brainchild of Director John Barden. Maureen writes: “The library staff members have been digitizing bills, laws, legislative reports, and tying them all together in a wonderful Legislative History page for each public law, including relevant links to the legislative record.  It has made researching legislative history so easy and transparent.”

Michelle Pearse, of the GRC’s “UELMA in Massachusetts” subcommittee, reports that a Massachusetts UELMA bill will be introduced during the current session. A bill number is not yet available; we will keep the membership posted as updated information becomes available. We thank the group membership for their hard work and persistence. The other members of the group are: Barbara Schneider, Joan Shear, Marnie Warner and Sue Zago.

AALL Resources

Many LLNE members attended the National Conference on the Copyright of State Legal Materials which took place on December 2, 2016 at Boston University School of Law.  For those who were unable to attend, the video recordings, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations from the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials are now on AALLNET. There is also an article on the conference on page 6 of the February 2017 edition of the CRIV Sheet, the newsletter of AALL’s Committee on Relations with Information Vendors.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

 

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald & Emilie Benoit, Co-chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Massachusetts Legislative Update

The UELMA in MA Subcommittee of the LLNE GRC continues to advocate for the passage of H 43, the UELMA bill.  The Massachusetts Bar Association House of Delegates voted to support H 43 on May 19, 2016. We thank Marnie Warner for her advocacy efforts with the Massachusetts Bar Association and thank all members of the UELMA subcommittee for their hard work and dedication.  According to Emily Feltren of AALL’s Government Relations Office, Massachusetts is the second state bar association to support UELMA, after Connecticut.

H 43 remains in the Massachusetts House Ways and Means committee. Marnie Warner, of the UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee of the LLNE GRC, reports that given the current budget shortfall, she does not expect any movement until the budget is settled.  Even though formal legislative sessions end at the end of June, legislators continue to meet informally, retaining the ability to vote on bills, until the end of December.

There is still time for LLNE members who are Massachusetts residents to contact their legislators and urge passage of UELMA.

The Massachusetts Public Records bill was signed into law on Friday June 3, 2016. It promises to make government more transparent, according to the Boston Globe.

 AALL GRO News

June 13, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FOIA Improvement Act (S.337), sending the comprehensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform bill to the President’s desk. He is expected to sign it before the 50th anniversary of FOIA on July 4th.  The bill updates FOIA by codifying the directives previously established in memoranda by President Obama and Attorney General Holder. It requires that information be available to the public in electronic format and limits the time period that federal agencies can keep internal information confidential.  Here is a link to AALL’s Washington Blawg.

 Librarian of Congress Nomination Progresses

 On June 9, 2016, the U.S. Senate Rules Committee voted to recommend that the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress be approved by the full Senate.

We are hopeful that the Senate will take up the nomination without delay.

Please urge your Senators to vote to confirm Dr. Hayden, through AALL’s Legislative Action Center.

Legislative Advocacy Training at AALL

 For those of you who will be at AALL, there is still time to register for the Legislative Advocacy Training on Saturday July 16, 2016. It will feature a speaker from Congressman Mike Quigley’s office and an opportunity to meet AALL members who will share their experiences in the legislative process. Here is a link to the draft agenda.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald & Emelie Benoit Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Massachusetts Trial Court Proposed Rule

The Trial Court Committee on Public Access to Court Records invites comments  on Proposed Trial Court Rule XIV Uniform Rules on Access to Court Records.

These proposed changes are a result of testimony given at the Court’s public hearing held in June 2015 at which LLNE President Melinda Kent and ABLL President Bob DiFabrizo testified and AALL sent a letter in support. The hearing was covered in our July 2015 blog posting, which includes a link to AALL’s letter of support.

Each proposed uniform rule  is accompanied by the Committee’s explanatory notes for additional guidance.  The LLNE Executive Committee is presently reviewing the proposed rules before taking a position.

Comments should be sent by email to rules.comments@jud.state.ma.us or regular mail, directed to Hon. Peter M. Lauriat, Chair, Public Access to Court Records Committee, Superior Court Administrative Office, 13th Floor, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108, by March 4, 2016.

 

Massachusetts UELMA Legislation

Massachusetts UELMA bill H.43 remains alive in the House Ways and Means Committee as the 2016 legislative session gets under way.  Last year it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and was forwarded to House Ways and Means for a fiscal review. The UELMA in MA subgroup of LLNE will be hard at work to insure that the bill passes in 2016.  We thank them for their tireless efforts.

Law Librarian of Congress

The Library of Congress sent out a press release  last week announcing that Roberta Schaffer has been appointed as the new Law Librarian of Congress. Shaffer had been serving in the position in an acting capacity since Oct. 5, 2015, and had served previously as the Law Librarian of Congress from August 2009 through November 2011.  For further reading, here is the 2016 New Year’s Greeting from the Law Librarian of Congress and the FY2015 Law Library Annual Report.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

Massachusetts UELMA Update

By Emilie Benoit and Anne McDonald, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

As noted in our July, 2015 blog, the Massachusetts UELMA bill  H. 43 was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee following its May 27th hearing, and is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Michelle Pearse addressed members in attendance at LLNE Fall meeting at Roger Williams University School of Law, on the behalf of subcommittee Chair Barbara Morgan, about the UELMA in MA Subcommittee’s recent activities. She asked those LLNE members who are Massachusetts residents to contact their representatives, especially those who sit on the House Ways and Means committee.

LLNE President Diane D’Angelo sent a letter dated September 30, 2015 to Representative Brian Dempsey, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, urging him to favorably report the bill out of his committee.  The letter stresses the importance of adopting UELMA.  The full text of the letter, as well as the UELMA in Massachusetts information webpage, can be found here.

Most other New England state legislatures have adjourned for the year and will reconvene in January 2016.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald, Co-Chair, LLNE GRC, and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chair, LLNE GRC

PUBLIC ACCESS TO COURT RECORDS

The Massachusetts Trial Court’s Public Access to Court Records Committee held a public hearing on June 15, 2015 to hear comments regarding public access to court records.  Newly implemented changes in the Trial Court’s online access policies have resulted in many users losing eligibility for online accounts which are now restricted to attorneys with Board of Overseers registration.

Bob DeFabrizio, President of the Association of Boston Law  Librarians , (ABLL) expressed the concerns of firm law librarians, and LLNE’s President Mindy Kent stated that providing greater access to court records would allow law librarians to provide more aid to their users, including self-represented litigants, and make it easier for court personnel to do their jobs more effectively. Mindy’s testimony was cited in a Boston Globe article on the hearing.  You may read Mindy’s  written comments submitted to the committee here.

AALL  President Holly Riccio  also submitted written comments, urging the Trial Court to provide law librarians and other users with the same level of no-fee access to court docket information that was previously available. The letter also states that many states and the United States Supreme Court are moving towards greater public access.  We thank  President Riccio and AALL’s Government Relations Office Director Emily Feltren for their support.  See the  AALL website for Holly’s comments.

MASSACHUSETTS UELMA BILL

Massachusetts UELMA bill  H. 43  was reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee following a May 27th hearing  and is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.  The UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee of LLNE’s GRC has been spearheading this effort and will meet soon to strategize on the next steps.  The Subcommittee’s Chair Barbara Morgan  testified on behalf of LLNE . Here are some excerpts from her prepared testimony.

“As a law librarian, I am concerned about access to both current and historic Massachusetts legal material. If you visit a Massachusetts law library, you’ll find the General Laws of Massachusetts available in print. It’s easy for me to provide access by placing these books on a shelf and it’s easy for me to preserve access to past laws by keeping the older volumes. It’s also easy for someone using these volumes to tell that they’re looking at an authentic text by inspecting the title page. I don’t currently have the same ability with electronic versions of legal materials.

UELMA will ensure that if an online version is deemed official, it will guarantee the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by print legal publications. UELMA provides for a technology neutral, outcomes based approach that will give Massachusetts flexibility in making sure that official legal material, solely available online, will be authenticated, preserved and made permanently available to the public.” 

We thank all members of the UELMA in Massachusetts Subcommittee for their persistence and dedication.  We also thank LLNE members who reside in Massachusetts and who have supported this effort by contacting their state legislators.

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of developments which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

Government Relations Committee Update

By Anne McDonald, Co-Chair, LLNE Government Relations Committee, and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chair, LLNE Government Relations Committee

The Vermont legislature passed H 490, the state budget bill on May 16, 2015 without restoring cuts to the Vermont Department of Libraries’ budget.  Vermont State Law Librarian Paul Donovan thanked LLNE for its support, saying “LLNE’s done all it can, and we’re very, very grateful.”   We have no definite word yet as to what will happen next, far as the state law library is concerned, but we will keep LLNE members posted.  LLNE’s letter to Vermont legislators is posted on the Vermont Library Association’s website.

A recent article in Library Journal discussed the impact of the proposed budget cuts on Vermont and Connecticut libraries, stating that the common problem in both states is that policymakers have a different view of the modern day role of libraries and that it is important for library supporters to speak out.

The AALL Government Relations Office sponsored a very informative Online Advocacy Training session on May 13th entitled: Progress Report: UELMA Advocacy in 2015 and Beyond.   The webinar highlighted the most common challenges advocates face in trying to move UELMA in their respective state legislatures and lays out a roadmap towards overcoming these challenges. A link to the recorded program is here.

The Massachusetts UELMA bill H 43 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. A hearing is scheduled for May 27th at 1 pm in room A-2.

Here is an update from the group’s Chair, Barbara Morgan.

“The UELMA subgroup is continuing to reach out to our legislators re: H43.

We anticipate requesting LLNE members in specific districts to help us move this bill forward in the near future.

Stay tuned to hear about ways you can ensure that legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form.”

The LLNE Government Relations Committee is providing this information to you to further its committee charge to keep you apprised of legislation which may be of interest to you as an informed law librarian.

UELMA Online Advocacy Training to be Held May 13

The LLNE Government Relations committee encourages us all to participate in the UELMA online training described below.

UELMA Online Advocacy  Training to be Held May 13 

Registration is open for AALL’s next online advocacy training, “Progress  Report: UELMA Advocacy in 2015 and Beyond,”on Wednesday, May 13 at noon EDT. Since it was approved by the Uniform Law Commission in July 2011, the  Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act  ( UELMA ) has been introduced in 20 legislatures and become law in 12 states. In this 30-minute training,  we’ll assess progress made on UELMA , including common advocacy challenges and strategies for success from the AALL members and chapters who have played an instrumental role in advancing the Act. Register  today to learn more about shepherding UELMA through the legislative process and to identify opportunities to help enact UELMA in your state. This training is complimentary for AALL and chapter members.

New UELMA Bill Filed in MA House

HB43 – An Act relative to the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act has been filed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

A one page summary of the bill and why we need to pass this legislation is linked to the LLNE webpage and lots of background information, documentation and tips for advocacy can be found on the AALL UELMA Resources page.

Thanks in advance for your support and assistance!

Barbara Morgan, Michelle Pearse, Barbara Schneider, Marnie Warner, Anne McDonald, Joan Shear
LLNE Massachusetts Government Relations Committee
Sub-committee working on the passage of UELMA in Massachusetts