The following was composed by Robert Hubsher, Executive Director of Ramapo-Catskill Library System, and was distributed via NYLINE on: April 14, 2014:

Just 22 days left until National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) on Tuesday, May 6 in Washington DC. There is still time to register and join us as part of the New York delegation.

There will is a Briefing for all delegates scheduled for Monday, May 5 and for first time NLLD advocates there is an advocacy training session on Sunday, May 4 (3:00pm to 5:00pm).

Here is a link to the NLLD web page:
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld

Here is the link to the NLLD registration web page:
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld/register

I am scheduling appointments with our Senators for the delegation. I am also scheduling appointments with the following Representatives, who cover the Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) service area, if any of these people cover any portion of your service area let me know and I will include your group in our meetings: Nita M. Lowey (District 17); Sean Patrick Maloney (District 18) and Christopher P. Gibson (District 19).

Each region will be responsible for scheduling appointments with their Representatives. You should make an effort to coordinate these appointments with other library systems, if the legislators’ constituencies overlap your service areas. This will assure that only one meeting is scheduled with these legislators. In order to help you coordinate your appointments I am scheduling the meetings with our Senators for the morning so that all the meetings with our Representatives can be scheduled for the afternoon.
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The ALA Washington Office is finalizing the legislative agenda for NLLD and the documentation will be posted on the NLLD web page as soon as it is ready. Here are links to the ALA 2013 Legislative Scorecards for the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively:

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/sites/ala.org.advocacy/files/content/advleg/federallegislation/legscard/ala_house_scorecard2013.pdf

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/sites/ala.org.advocacy/files/content/advleg/federallegislation/legscard/ala_senate_scorecard2013.pdf

Here is a list of the issues that the Washington Office is working on:

Appropriations:

LSTA: The ALA asks the U.S. President and the U.S. Congress for funding of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) to be level funded at $180.9 million for FY 2015.

LSTA is the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget. The bulk of this program is a population-based grant funded to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Each state determines how they will allocate their LSTA funds, often relying upon this money to provide job searching databases, resume workshops, summer reading projects, and so much more. In addition, LSTA also supports:

· Native American and Native Hawaiian Library Services to support improved access to library services for Native Americans, Alaska Native Villages, and Native Hawaiians;
· National Leadership Grants to support activities of national significance that enhances the quality of library services nationwide and provide coordination between libraries and museums; and,
· Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians which is used to help develop and promote the next generation of librarians

IAL: The ALA asks the U.S. President and the U.S. Congress for level funding of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program at $25 million for FY 2015.

From 2002 to 2010, the Improving Literacy through School Libraries program had been the primary source for federal funding of school libraries in the U.S. Department of Education. However, in recent years the President and U.S. Congress have consolidated or zero-funded this program. A special thanks to Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) who recognized that school libraries need a direct funding source in the federal budget – and in FY 2012, through report language in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, had the money redirected within the U.S. Department of Education for the IAL program.

By law, at least half of IAL’s yearly appropriated money must be allocated as a competitive grant for underserved school libraries. The remaining money is allocated to competitive grants for national nonprofit organizations that work to improve childhood literacy.

Open Access
At the beginning of March the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act (FIRST) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and co-sponsored by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Chris Collins (R-NY). On March 24, 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. Section 303 of FIRST creates unnecessary challenges to federal agencies as they endeavor to follow the White House Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research and delays the advancements made in the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act to expand the National Institutes of Health’s access program to include the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

Privacy
At NLLD, we’ll be asking for co-sponsorship of the USA Freedom ACT (H.R. 3361/S.1599). We’ll also be asking that the bill be moved for a vote in this Congress.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) have introduced the USA FREEDOM Act. This bicameral piece of legislation is intended to end bulk collection of telephone metadata, prevent bulk collection of Internet metadata, and permit companies to report publicly on the number of FISA orders and National Security Letters they have received and complied with, and the number of users (or accounts) whose information was sought under those orders and letters.

The bill would also require the government itself to make additional disclosures about the intelligence surveillance it conducts. It would also establish a process for declassifying significant opinions issued by the FISA court and create an Office of the Special Advocate charged with arguing for privacy at the FISA Court.

Net Neutrality (we don’t have an ask yet, but here’s an update)
Since the D.C. Circuit Court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rule of network neutrality in Verizon v FCC in January 2014 there has been several bills introduced in Congress on net neutrality.
1. S. 1981, The Open Internet Preservation Act, introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) with 6 co-sponsors (Blumenthal, Franken, Merkley, Udall, Warren, and Wyden). This legislation restores the rules adopted by the FCC in the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices that were vacated in the Verizon v FCC ruling.
2. H.R. 3982, The Open Internet Preservation Act, introduced by Representative Henry Waxmen (D-CA). This legislation has 31 cosponsors and is a companion bill on S. 1981.
3. H.R. 4070, The Internet Freedom Act, introduced by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and has 37 cosponsors. Prohibits regulations adopted by the FCC in the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices from having any force or effect. It also prohibits the FCC from reissuing such regulations in substantially the same form, or from issuing new regulations that are substantially the same, unless such regulations are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the enactment of this Act. Finally, H.R. 4070 exempts from such prohibitions any regulations that the FCC determines are necessary to: (1) prevent damage to U.S. national security, (2) ensure public safety, or (3) assist or facilitate actions taken by a federal or state law enforcement agency.

Currently no action has been taken on any of these three pieces of legislation.

We need your help to assure that we a NY delegation that is representative of our State, please consider joining us as we make the case for our libraries!

I will be sending out more information about NLLD as soon as it becomes available.

See you in Washington D.C.!