GRC Report - April 2000

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Members of the Government Relations Committee continue to closely monitor legislative activities affecting our roles as law librarians and legal information specialists.

Much of the recent activity is related to the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). At present, UCITA is being considered in a number of states, including California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and perhaps others by the time you read this. This controversial legislation has generated a number of opponents besides AALL and other library organizations. They include the Attorneys General of AZ, AR, CA, CT, FL, ID, IN, IA, KS, MD, MN, MS, MO, NV, NJ, NM, ND, OK, PA, TN, VT, WA, WV, and WI, as well as the Administrator of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. There are a variety of reasons for opposing the legislation, not the least of which is the concern that consumers will be adversely affected and fair use as we have known it will disappear. We really need the assistance of librarians in every state if we are to have a chance to defeat UCITA. Please contact your legislative representatives and help educate them about the harmful effects of UCITA as it now reads. If your attorney general has not signed on against UCITA (see above list), then please contact the AG's office in your state and try to convince them to sign on with the others listed above. If you would like additional information regarding UCITA please check the Washington Affairs Office web site or the 4cite page (www.4cite.org).

Another issue that the committee is closely following concerns the competing database bills in the U.S. House. H.R. 1858, supported by AALL is still alive. Members of the committee and other concerned AALL members have contacted members and solicited testimony concerning how each bill will affect law libraries. AALL is part of a large coalition of information users supporting 1858. However, many powerful forces are aligned against this coalition. If you are able to lend your support, please take a few moments to contact your congressional representative to do so. Additional information may be found at the Washington Affairs web site.

Members of the G.R.C. would like to encourage any AALL members who have not already done so to join the AALL Advocacy listserv to keep up with these and other issues affecting the law library community. Subscription information is available on the Washington Affairs web site.

Submitted by Larry Meyer, University of LaVerne Law Library