Washington Brief - June 2001

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Dateline: April 26, 2001

Winners and Losers in the Bush FY 2002 Budget
Here's a quick review of President Bush's budget proposal for FY 2002, released on April 9th, that demonstrates the level of support we can expect from the Administration for the government's information infrastructure and for libraries. Overall the Bush budget represents a 4% increase from FY 2001 with the big winner being the Department of Education. Many other agencies will have to operate within their FY 2001 budget levels.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), created in 1996 to administer funding under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the National Leadership Grants program, received a $39 million decrease from FY 2001 for library funding. Specifically, this cut eliminates funding earmarked by Senators for special projects in their states (i.e., pork).

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) received a $35 million increase, $20 million of which is specifically earmarked for the Electronic Records Archives. While that's the good news, funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) was decreased to 31% below their FY 2001 budget. The NHPRC is a grants program to preserve historical records of enduring value and to fund cooperative archival projects.

The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) was among several small commissions that were defunded in the Bush FY 2002 budget. It states that "Other agencies can effectively perform the necessary functions for which the Commission has been responsible." The Administration appears to want to shift the Commission's work to the IMLS to consolidate library issues within one agency. NCLIS officials seem confident that their funding will be restored.

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) receives no appropriations but operates as a self-supporting agency with a revolving fund. The Bush budget estimates a $1 million loss of revenue for FY 2001 and 2002 but there is no mention of closing NTIS or moving it to the Library of Congress. The number of FTEs remains stable.

The Office of FirstGov at the General Services Administration received $3 million to enhance FirstGov, an official U.S. Government portal to 30 million pages of government information, services and online transactions. A portion of the funding will go to increasing the number of links to state and local government agencies.

There have not yet been hearings on the FY 2002 budget requests of the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office, even though these hearings normally are held early in the year by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative. The Senate has just scheduled its hearings for early May.

Lieberman E-Government Bill
I will be attending the May 1st press conference during which Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) will introduce the E-Government Act of 2001 and will present him with a letter of general support on behalf of AALL. The bill creates a Federal CIO for the executive branch at the Office of Management and Budget. According to Lieberman's press announcement, this individual would be charged with providing the leadership, vision, communication, coordination, and innovation necessary to maximize government effectiveness in using information technology (IT). The press release enumerates responsibilities of the Federal CIO over a wide range of important functions, including:

     

  • implementing existing information provisions found in the Paperwork Reduction Act and other laws, reviewing agencies' information technology budget requests, and leading government efforts to address issues of concern such as online privacy and computer security;

     

  • leading several forums, including interagency, cross-branch, federal/state/local and private/academic/public sector groups, to focus on sharing best practices, setting standards, resolving IT concerns, and developing pilot projects;

     

  • working with agency CIOs and the National Institute of Standards to establish IT interoperability standards and standards for categorizing and electronically labeling electronic information to enhance search capabilities through FirstGov, a centralized online government portal;

     

  • funding Community Technology Centers, including public libraries, to make government online services and information resources available to lower-income citizens;

     

  • requiring federal courts and regulatory agencies to establish web sites and electronic dockets, and repealing the statutory language enabling the courts to charge fees for the PACER system;

     

  • establishing an Advisory Board to review existing government standards and practices with regard to inventorying, cataloging, and preserving web-based government information and, subsequent to a 30-month study, promulgating regulations designed to provide for greater public access to government information and the preservation of electronic government information;

     

  • developing guidelines for agencies to put their privacy notices into a standardized machine-readable format, allowing users to easily and automatically retrieve and interpret a web site's privacy practices;

     

  • and, working with the National Academy of Public Administration on a study to examine how disparities in Internet access influence the effectiveness of online government services and to recommend steps to ensure that online government initiatives do not widen existing gaps in access to government products and services.

Executive Board Approves Revised Government Relations Policy
During the March 31st Executive Board meeting, Board Liaison to the Government Relations Committee Margie Axtmann summarized the changes to the 1995 policy recommended by the GRC. The Board unanimously approved the revised policy. The changes reflect the impact of the electronic environment on government information and intellectual property issues. The Board commended GRC Chair Keith Ann Stiverson and members of the committee for their excellent work.

The newly revised policy is available on AALLNET and Washington Affairs Online (grpol.asp).

Paul Arrigo Selected for Depository Library Council
GPO Public Printer Michael F. DiMario recently announced his new appointments to the Depository Library Council (DLC). Congratulations to Paul A. Arrigo, Reference Coordinator and Government Documents/Electronic Services Librarian at the Washburn University School of Law Library. AALL's letter nominating Paul to the DLC specifically noted his distinguished commitment to the Federal Depository Library Program. Paul created and maintains DocLaw, a gateway to federal government Internet resources and the Index to Full-Text U.S. Internet Government Periodicals (http://lawlibdns.wuacc.edu/doclaw/). Paul has been a longstanding active member of the GD-SIS and served as chair in 1997-98. He joins another former GD-SIS chair, Charlene Cain, who is serving her first year on Council. Congratulations, Paul!

 


Mary Alice Baish
Associate Washington Affairs Representative
Edward B. WIlliams Law Library
111 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-1417
202/662-9200 * FAX:202/662-9202
email:baish@law.georgetown.edu