Office of Government Relations (OGR) Key Issues — May 2007

APPROPRIATIONS

LSTA
Fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at the President’s request of $226.18 million.

Improving Literacy Through School Libraries
Fund the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program at $100 million. The President’s FY 2008 budget freezes funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program at the FY 2005 level of $19.486 million.

Government Printing Office

Fully fund GPO FY08 at $45,613 million for SuDoc & FDLP and $109,451 million for electronic infrastructure & permanent accessibility thru GPO Access.

LIBRARY PROGRAMS & REAUTHORIZATIONS

No Child Left Behind Reauthorization
Ensure a highly qualified school library media specialist in every school by supporting inclusion of librarians in the highly qualified definition of No Child Left Behind.

Higher Education
Ask Senators to co-sponsor S. 1121 and Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1877, the “LIBRARIAN Act of 2007,” which provides for Perkins student loan forgiveness for librarians that are employed in low-income schools and public libraries.

COPYRIGHT

Co-sponsor H.R. 1201, the FAIR USE Act of 2007, to amend Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to allow bypassing a technological lock that controls access to and use of a copyrighted work in six narrow circumstances. These exceptions would facilitate education and preservation activities, without causing any harm to copyright owners.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INTERNET ISSUES

E-Rate and the Anti-Deficiency Act
Ask Senators to co-sponsor S. 609 and Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 278. These bills would permanently exempt all universal service funds, including the E-rate telecommunications discounts, from the Anti-Deficiency Act accounting rules that caused the E-rate to be frozen for several months. The recent one-year exemptions should now be made permanent.

Network Neutrality
Support real “network neutrality.” Ask Senators to support S. 215, the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act.”

Broadband Deployment

Ask Senators to co-sponsor and demonstrate support for S. 1032, a Clinton bill, and other broadband build out bills.

BLOCKING & FILTERING

Deleting Online Predators Act
Ask Senators to oppose provisions in S. 49, the “Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act,” that would require E-rate recipients to block interactive web applications. Ask House members to oppose H.R. 1120, the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2007. Support proposals that provide Internet education for parents, students, teachers and librarians on the best techniques for safe Internet use.

OPEN GOVERNMENT AND ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION

Open Government Legislation
Support open government legislation: the House passed and the Senate has in Committee several bills that would enhance and remove restrictions to important open government laws including the Freedom of Information Act, the Presidential Records Act and whistleblower protections. These key laws support the public’s “Right to Know,” the cornerstone of government accountability and informed public participation.

Open CRS
Congress must make the critical, taxpayer-funded reports produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) available to the public over the Internet. The current policy allows for lobbyists and those who can pay to obtain the reports, but leaves most ordinary Americans unable to take advantage of an important source of government information.

Federal Libraries
The library community is concerned about threats to and adequate funding for federal libraries, especially considering the recent closing of several libraries within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We thank Congress for interceding and conducting investigations into the EPA library closures; however, we continue to be concerned as other federal libraries close and remove access to important resources used for the public good.

PRIVACY AND SURVEILLANCE

REAL ID
Support legislation to reform the REAL ID Act to avoid serious privacy and security risks. This Act creates elements of a national ID (through driver’s licenses) and concerns the library community because patrons use these types of ID for library cards. This would also increase opportunity to access library use records and violate patron privacy.

PATRIOT ACT/ National Security Letters
Support ongoing investigations into the FBI abuses of National Security Letters (NSLs), which are part of the USA PATRIOT Act. These abuses reflect the more critical need to reform parts of the USA PATRIOT Act to incorporate judicial review and remove gag orders for NSLs.

About Jacob Roberts

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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