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.