Washington eBulletin - January 2017

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Vol. 2017 Issue 01

A Look Ahead


Advocacy in the New Year

As the 115th Congress begins, AALL is busy introducing the new Senators and Representatives to the Association and welcoming the returning members back to Washington, DC. We are sharing AALL's public policy priorities with members of Congress and their staffs, educating them about the Association and the profession, and planning for advocacy opportunities in the coming year.

We are also eagerly awaiting complete announcements of Senate and House Committee assignments and chairmanships so that we can target the members on the committees of most importance to AALL. The Senate Republicans released their committee assignments on January 3, 2017; committee chairs will be selected by a vote of the members of each committee and then ratified by the Senate Republican Conference. The House Speaker's Office announced its committee chair recommendations in December and the Republican Steering Committee met on January 4, 2017 to make key assignments. We'll know final committee rosters and leadership in the coming days.

The Senate committees of most interest to AALL are Appropriations (funding for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress (LC)), Judiciary (copyright, FOIA, Attorney General nomination), Rules (GPO and LC), Energy and Commerce (net neutrality), and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (National Archives and Office of the Federal Register). The House committees of particular interest to AALL are Appropriations, House Administration (GPO and LC), Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform (FOIA), and Commerce. We also track the work of the intelligence committees because of their work on surveillance and privacy issues. 

One of the most important things you can do right now to prepare to advocate for law libraries in the new Congress is to get to know your elected officials and let us know of any personal connections you have with them. Read on for more information about how you can be a part of AALL's Advocacy Team.

Act Now

Join the AALL Advocacy Team

Now is the time to get to know your member of Congress, including their background, key issues, and legislative priorities. Visit AALL's Legislative Action Center to read their bios and link to their websites. Then follow them on social media and sign up for their newsletters to stay informed about their policy priorities and learn about opportunities for making your voice heard via in-district meetings, town halls, online surveys, or phone calls. 

Already know your member of Congress? Perhaps you went to law school with one of your members, or know them or their family through community activities. If so, please let us know! AALL's Advocacy Team Survey asks about any relationships you have with your members of Congress, your policy areas of interest, and on what issues you'd like to get more involved. We keep this information confidential and work with you to help use your connections to the best advantage. These "grasstops" connections are key to influencing members of Congress in support of our issues. Thanks in advance for helping AALL create a strong advocacy network! 

AALL in the States

Announcing AALL Chapter Collaboration: California Government Relations Committees' Joint Effort

The Government Relation Committees (GRCs) of the Northern California Association of Law Libraries (NOCALL), Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL), and San Diego Area Law Libraries (SANDALL), the three California chapters of AALL, have agreed to formalize the coordination of advocacy efforts for monitoring and mounting letter campaigns regarding pending legislation, state or federal, that affects access and dissemination of public information. Judy Janes of NOCALL, Vance Sharp of SANDALL and David McFadden of SCALL - the chairs of the three Government Relation Committees - have agreed to join forces when issues arise that necessitate, or make stronger, a joint advocacy effort. 

NOCALL and SCALL, later joined by SANDALL after its formation as a chapter, have worked cooperatively in advocacy since at least the 1990's. Passage of a bill insuring the retention of legislative and rulemaking files in 1996 and later enactment of UELMA in 2012 are two examples.

Planning for the AALL California Chapter Government Committees' Collaboration statement began in spring 2016 with emails and regular phone conferences among the three chapter GRC chairs and California members of the AALL GRC committee. The chapter GRCs agreed to a flexible workflow for coordinating joint legislative advocacy efforts. Each chapter GRC brought the agreed workflow to his or her respective executive board for approval. A Google site for storing GRC committee resources and documents was established. The coordinated effort is meant to increase the depth and breadth of governmental advocacy when specific legislation affects the entire state. For efforts that relate to a specific location alone, individual chapter GRC efforts are still preferred. Sharing various legislative efforts at any governmental level ought to provide increased support for AALL's Government Relations program and efforts.

We are announcing the California chapter collaboration in order to promote a model of regional partnership efforts for broadening our legislative reach. Anyone interested in accessing or viewing the CA GRC google site should contact Anna Russell. Feel free to reach out to any of the California GRC chairs as well for further details about setting up your own regional partnership.

Roundup and Review  
  • View the recording of the recent AALL online training, "Advocates and Influencers: How Law Librarians Can Impact the New Congress and New Administration", on AALLNET
  • The video recordings, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations from the National Conference on Copyright of State Legal Materials are now on AALLNET