April 18, 1995
Rep. Ron E. Lewis
Chair, House Committee on County Affairs
Room 4N.4, Capitol Building
Austin, Texas 78701
Dear Representative Lewis:
I am writing to you on behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries, a nonprofit organization with over 5,000 members. Our membership responds to the legal and governmental information needs of legislators, judges, and other public officials at all levels of government, corporations and small businesses, law professors and students, attorneys, and members of the general public. The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) would like to express support for HB 2573, a bill introduced by Rep. Glenn Lewis which would assess a nominal fee on civil cases filed in small claims courts.
As you are well aware, funding is a critical concern for law libraries as we witness library budgets shrink and costs steadily rise. Nonetheless, it is particularly imperative that legal information be easily and equitably available to the public so that all citizens have recourse to the judicial system. County law libraries have played a vital role in providing this public access to legal information throughout the state of Texas while concurrently supporting the information needs of the judiciary and the legal community.
The base for fees to support Texas county law libraries, however, has steadily eroded over the past decade. While legislation passed in 1987, raising the fee from $10 to $20 for each civil case, was intended to bring additional revenues into law library funds, the opposite occurred and revenues dramatically declined. HB 2573 is intended to correct this erosion and to strengthen support for access to legal information. Passage of this legislation is therefore necessary if county law libraries are to provide continued excellent services to the courts, attorneys and citizens of the state of Texas.
Two members of the American Association of Law Libraries, Jill Finley Henderson, Taylor County Law Librarian and Jimothy Dyson, Travis County Law Librarian, will in fact be presenting testimony on HB 2573 tomorrow before your committee. We strongly support their testimony and urge you to pass this legislation without delay. If enacted, HB 2573 will guarantee continued strong public access to legal information in the state of Texas.
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance. Thank you very much for your consideration in this matter.
Robert L. Oakley
American Association of Law Libraries
Washington Affairs Representative 202-662-9161
- Members, House Committee on County Affairs
Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Chair, House Committee on Judicial Affairs