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Email Privacy Act passes unanimously in House; moves to Senate Judiciary Committee

The Email Privacy Act (HR 699) passed unanimously in the House, 419-0—an unheard of vote. The American Library Association Washington Office’s District Dispatch reports that “The successful joint effort produced a bill that will amend ECPA [Electronic Communications Privacy Act] so that, for the first time, any authority seeking the actual content of an individual’s emails, texts, tweets, online photos, files stored in the cloud and other electronic communications will first have to get a real search warrant from a real judge.”

All of Maryland’s Representatives voted for the bill except Congressman Van Hollen, who did not vote. Please take the time to contact your Representative and thank them for their support, especially Congressmen Cummings, Edwards and Harris who co-sponsored the bill.

The work is entirely done. The bill has now moved over to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hope is that the Senate will either pass HR 699 or its own similar bill, S 356.

For more information, see the article in the District Dispatch.

 

National Library Legislative Day 2016 – Updated

It’s that time of year again! National Library Legislative Day!
  • When: Monday, May 2 and Tuesday May 3, 2016
  • Where: Liaison Hotel, Capitol Hill, Washington DC
National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is an annual, two-day advocacy event organized by the American Library Association. The event brings Library advocates, Library supporters, Librarians, Trustees, and Friends from across the United States together in Washington DC to meet with members of Congress and their aides to advocate and encourage support for libraries.
Briefing Day – Monday, May 2nd is a briefing day. You may register for this session through April 22nd on the NLLD webpage. Walk-in registrations will also be accepted at the door.
Virtual Briefing Day – New! – Briefing Day will be streaming live starting at 9am on Monday.
Issue Briefs – The 2016 issue briefs are now available. This year, all of the briefs are in this one document.
Reception – The reception will be from 5-7pm in Room 902, Hart Senate Office Building. Members of Congress and their staff have been invited by the American Library Association (ALA) and library supporters are welcome.
Legislator Visits – Tuesday, May 3rd is when most of the visits to Congress occur. If you are interested in joining a delegation for a visit, please contact Natalie Edington at nedington@bcpl.net by Monday, April 25th.
Virtual NLLD – Can’t make it to Washington DC? You can still participate virtually through Friday, May 6th. Visit the American Library Association’s advocacy page for more information on Virtual NLLD, including how to email, call or tweet your elected officials. There will be an opportunity to participate in Virtual NLLD via phone, email and tweets. Register at this site to receive talking points and other resources. Encourage others to register, too!
For more information, please visit http://www.ala.org/nlld and check back on this Legislative Panel blog.

Success on IAL & LSTA support, but funding still at risk

IAL and LSTA “Dear Appropriator” letters: Update

Many thanks to everyone who responded to the Advocacy Alert! and contacted members of Congress to request signatures on “Dear Appropriator” letters in support of funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The American Library Association (ALA) reported that we gathered as many signatures in Congress as we did last year. ALA has posted a “Champions” chart to show who signed onto which letters. We had some success with our Maryland members of Congress:

  • IAL: Senator Cardin and Representatives Cummings, Delaney and Sarbanes
  • LSTA: Senator Cardin and Representative Van Hollen
  • Note: As Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski often does not sign onto letters, but still appreciates being contacted.

If you have not yet already done so, please contact these members of Congress to thank them for their support of IAL and LSTA! Engage is an easy tool to use to make this contact.

IMLS, IAL and LSTA funding still at risk

Despite this success, for the second year in a row the House Budget Committee released a resolution that suggests that all federal library funding, including money for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), be eliminated in order to achieve the House majority’s goals for cutting the budget. Although the resolution is a non-binding document, it is a concern because it conveys the majority’s philosophy. This also means that IAL and LSTA funding is still at risk.

For more information, please see the District Dispatch blog post.

Please stay tuned for more calls to action in support of IMLS, IAL and LSTA funding.

 

House and Senate pass FOIA Reform; move to reconcile differences

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has made the news. Earlier this year, the House passed HR 653, FOIA Act, by voice vote. More recently, the Senate passed S 337, the FOIA Improvement Act, by unanimous consent. Please feel free to contact your representatives to thank them for their support!

Now the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between the two bills. The Congressional Research service outlined the differences in this summary and side-by-side comparison. It is hoped that reconciliation will be finalized before the end of the legislative session.

For more information, see the District Dispatch blog post.

 

Advocacy Alert! Support FY17 LSTA & IAL funds with Dear Appropriator letters

Your help is needed to protect federal funding for libraries, including the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Please contact your Senators and Representative and ask them to sign the Dear Appropriator letters. More talking points and how to contact your elected officials appear at the links below.
Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts!

President submits FY17 budget request to Congress

In early February, President Obama sent Congress his $4.23 trillion FY17 budget request. Among other cuts, the budget request includes over $500,000 less in funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). However, Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) was submitted with level funding at $27 million. This was the first time that the President included any funding for IAL.

For more information about funding levels for other library programs, see the District Dispatch post.

Advocacy Alert! Virtual MD Library Legislative Days 2016

 

Add your voice in support of libraries during the annual Virtual Maryland Library Legislative Days! This online advocacy event is being held to coincide with the live Maryland Library Legislative Day in Annapolis. Between February 3rd and February 5th, members of the Maryland library community—library staff, trustees, Friends groups, customers, volunteers—are encouraged to advocate for libraries! Please take a few moments to send a personal message to your state representatives. If you are already going to Annapolis, use the Advocacy Alert to send a thank you to the legislators you visited. To get started, go to the Engage Advocacy Alert.

Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts!



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