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OGR’s monthly recap: Feb-Mar

In an effort to keep you informed on what’s going on in Washington and the letters that we have sent, OGR will now have a monthly recap.  Being the first of these, today’s blog post will cover both February and March.

February 10, 2014

ALA joined with 23 like-minded organizations in a letter (pdf) to Director Holden, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to petition for OSTP to conduct a public comment process on big data and the future of privacy.

February 24, 2014

ALA united with 26 other organizations in a letter (pdf) to members of the House of Representatives urging them to vote for H.R. 1211, the FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2014.  H.R. 1211 is a bipartisan bill that would “amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to promote greater government transparency and accountability”. On February 25th, the bill passed the House and a day later was sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

March 5, 2014

ALA signed on to a letter (pdf) urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to move forward as quickly as possible to implement a Connect America Fund (CAF) mechanism for small, rural, rate-of-return-regulated carriers that will provide sufficient and predictable support for broadband-capable networks across all of rural America. In total, 37 organizations signed the letter including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools, and NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, among others.

March 10, 2014

OGR and OITP worked with the Internet Archive to file a “friend of the court” brief (pdf) in David Leon Riley v. State of California and United States v. Brima Wurie, two Supreme Court cases examining the constitutionality of cell phone searches after police arrests. In the amicus brief, both nonprofit organizations argue that warrantless cell phone searches violate privacy principles protected by the Fourth Amendment. In the brief, the Internet Archive and the American Library Association argued that reading choices are at the heart of the expectation of personal privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Allowing police officers to rummage through the smartphones of arrestees is akin to giving government officials permission to search a person’s entire library and reading history.

 March 12, 2014

ALA joined with 32 other organizations in a letter (pdf) to President Obama, urging him “to expedite the declassification of the report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) on the interrogation and detention practices of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)”.

March 13, 2014

The ALA, PLA, ALSC, AASL and the Medical Library Association, along with 1,060 other labor, health, and education organization sent a letter (pdf) to Congress asking that $163.6 billion be allocated to the House and Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees for FY 2015.

March 24, 2014

ALA joined 15 other organizations in a letter (pdf) to Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology expressing opposition to Section 303 of the FIRST Act.

Library Advocates Gear Up for National Library Legislative Day: Register Now

Hundreds of librarians, parents and library supporters will travel to Washington, D.C. on May 5th and 6th to meet with members of Congress and discuss key library issues during the American Library Association’s 40th annual National Library Legislative Day. The event will focus on supporting federal funding for national libraries. Those who cannot attend National Library Legislative Day in person will have the option to contact Congress as part of Virtual Library Legislative Day. To register for the advocacy day, go to

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Jessica McGilvray

Jessica McGilvray is a former member of the Washington Office government relations team.

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