Washington Brief - June 2002

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Dateline: April 4, 2002

Bush Nominates New Public Printer
On March 29, 2002 the White House announced that President Bush intends to nominate Bruce R. James, former CEO of Barclays Law Publishers, to be the new Public Printer. A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Printing Management and Sciences, James has spent his career in the printing industry. Following his retirement from Barclays in 1993, he founded and currently serves as president of Nevada New-Tech, Inc., and a technology-based company. James is the chairman of the Congressional Roundtable of the Printing Industries of America and is a member of the advisory board of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Boyd School of Law. In 1990, during James' tenure as CEO, Barclays took over publication of the official California Code of Regulations, a privatization effort by the Office of Administrative Law. Once his formal nomination is made to Congress, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will likely hold a hearing on his nomination.

The E-Government Act of 2002
The events of September 11th delayed action on S. 803, the E-Government Act of 2001, a bill introduced last May by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). Since that time, Sen. Lieberman has assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and on March 21st the committee favorably reported out a new version of his bill. Some of you may have attended last summer's AALL program on "New Agency Roles in Ensuring the Life Cycle of Electronic Government Information" and recall the presentation by Kevin Landy, Sen. Lieberman's counsel on the committee. Landy worked closely with staff of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) throughout the late summer and fall to reach agreement on various provisions of the legislation. The revised S. 803 creates a new Office of Electronic Government at OMB to be headed by an Administrator, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and provides for government wide strategies for relevant information-related statutes. The new Title II "Federal Management and Promotion of Electronic Government Services" includes the public access provisions that we worked closely with Landy on last year although they have been substantively watered down during negotiations with OMB. We are currently working with Landy on report language to accompany S. 803. Rep. Jim Turner (D-2-TX) introduced the bill in the House in July and it remains uncertain whether he will support the new Senate version.

New White House Directive on Classified Information
The long-awaited Administration directive regarding the removal of information from agency web sites about weapons of mass destruction that could fall into the hands of terrorists was sent to agencies on March 19th by Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff. The directive consists of two memos. The first from Card mandates that agencies immediately examine how they identify and protect records regarding weapons of mass destruction, "as well as other information that could be misused to harm the security of our Nation and the safety of our people." While it calls for the classification or the reclassification of information dealing with weapons of mass destruction, it also includes a new category of "sensitive but unclassified information" that remains vague and undefined. Agencies are to report back to the Office of Homeland Security within 90 days. The second memo, from the acting director of NARA's Information Security Oversight Office and the co-directors of DOJ's Office of Information and Privacy, provides the specific guidance to agencies on what to remove from the web according to the following categories: classified, previously unclassified or declassified, or the new undefined sensitive but unclassified information. While noting that "The need to protect such sensitive information from inappropriate disclosure should be carefully considered, on a case-by-case basis, together with the benefits that result form the open and efficient exchange of scientific, technical, and like information," there is much concern particularly among the scientific, public access and freedom of information communities that a proper balance between access and security and health concerns may not be struck.

Draft House Bill on Presidential Records Act
Rep. Stephen Horn (R-38-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter on March 7th requesting co-sponsors for legislation he intends to introduce, the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2002. The draft legislation would void President Bush's E.O. 13,233 that grants broad new powers to the president and to former presidents to prevent the disclosure of presidential records. It further sets up procedures to govern the assertion of executive privilege claims by a former or incumbent president that meets both the spirit and the letter of the Presidential Records Act of 1978. A victim of redistricting in California, Rep. Horn, who has been a long time champion of public access issues and electronic government initiatives, plans to retire from Congress in January 2003 at the end of this term.

Support Needed for IMLS FY 2003 Budget
President Bush's proposed budget for FY 2003 includes a request of $210.7 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), of which $181.7 million is for the Office of Library Services. The proposed budget includes $10 million for the training and recruitment of librarians that, if approved by Congress, will allow the IMLS to launch a crucial new initiative to fund scholarships and fellowships in Masters and PhD programs for the training of the next generation of librarians; to recruit into the profession individuals with diverse language and technical skills; and to develop new distance education training programs to reach those in underserved rural areas. We need your help to ensure congressional support for the full IMLS budget request. More information on contacting your representatives and helpful talking points are available

ARL Memo Regarding the Withdrawal of FDLP Titles
Since Superintendent of Documents Francis Buckley issued a request to depository libraries in October 2001 to withdraw and destroy the depository copy of a U. S. Geological Survey CD-ROM on source water supplies, there have been many press stories that mischaracterize the policy behind the request. Recognizing that the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) may receive other requests for the destruction of depository materials in the post-9/11 environment, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) asked Thomas Susman of Ropes and Gray to draft a memo that clearly articulates the responsibility of depository libraries regarding requests on the Removal or Destruction of Federal Depository Library Documents. While future withdrawal requests from SuDocs may not impact the law library depository community directly, the memo is a very useful document that may be of interest to you.

 



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