The Government Relations Committee monitors pending Washington State legislation, citizen referenda, and judicial review of laws affecting law libraries. Briefs membership on information issues.
- Co-Chairs: Sherry Leysen & Anna Endter
The AALL December 2012 Washington E-Bulletin is now available.
The November Issue of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available on AALLNET.
Vol. 2012, Issue 10
The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 5949). This bill would extend the provisions of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to December 31, 2017, rather than letting the FAA sunset on December 31, 2012. The FAA permits the National Security Agency to intercept communications with non-citizens abroad without adequate judicial supervision. Visit AALL’s Washington Blawg for more information on H.R. 5949. For information
On May 10, the House of Representatives approved the Fiscal Year 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill (H.R. 5326) with amendments that defund the American Community Survey and Economic Census. For more information on this topic, please visit the AALL action center and see the new advocacy one-pager written by AALL Government Relations Committee members. Visit AALL’s Government Relations web site for a list of current Action Alerts, its “Bills We’re Tracking” chart, and how to subscribe to AALL’s Washington Blawg.
The Washington Legislature’s 2011 Regular Session began on January 10th and adjourned April 22nd. The first Special Session of 2011 began on April 26th and adjourned May 25th.
Enacted Budget Legislation: Cuts to the State Law Library budget
State Law Library appropriations are now (FY 2012) $1,472,000 and (FY 2013) $1,466,000. SECOND ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1087 was passed by the House on 5/24/11: yeas, 54; nays, 42; absent, 0; excused, 2 and by the Senate on 5/25/11: yeas, 34; nays, 13; absent, 0; excused, 2. The bill was signed by the governor on 6/15/11.
H.B. 1087 (now Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1087), “Making 2011-2013 operating appropriations,” was the original appropriations bill which would have provided these limited funding amounts to the Washington State Law Library for fiscal years 2012 and 2013: $1,631,000 and $1,629,000 respectively. The Senate’s Engrossed Striking Amendment to ESHB 1087 would have further reduced the State Law Library’s appropriation to a mere $500,000 for each of the next two fiscal years.
The Legislative Evaluation & Accountability Program Committee (LEAP) also provides bill information and analysis here.
Enacted legislation –Work of the Statute Law Committee
The Statute Law Committee employs the Code Reviser and oversees the functions and performance of the Code Reviser’s Office (see Chapter 1.08 RCW). This Committee made publication recommendations for the WAC and other state government documents this Session in House Bill 1479.
Several dedicated LLOPS members either joined the Statute Law Committee at its meetings (December 8, 2010 and/or January 19, 2011) or offered feedback on the bill. All of these members have been instrumental since the summer of 2010 for helping the committee propose legislation that will protect the publication of primary legal materials, such as the WAC, and ensure authentication of digital-only publications.
View the full text and history of HB 1479 Revising the publication requirements of the statute law committee here.
The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on January 24, 2011 and was considered at its public hearing on February 2, 2011. Some of our law librarian colleagues, while not offering testimony, attended the hearing and were acknowledged by the Committee Chair. The Code Reviser, Kyle Thiessen, explained the major intent of the bill– to give the Statute Law Committee more discretion in how and to whom it provides free print copies of state publications like the WAC. With the passage of this bill, the Committee would then be able to provide those free copies on a CD instead. Thiessen also said the RCW will continue to be published like normal, noting it is “the most important” material the Code Reviser’s Office publishes.
Thiessen also said that maintaining and keeping available, in perpetuity, digital databases of official state publications should also be a priority as many Washington citizens access this information online. According to Thiessen, one of these online resources, the Revised Code of Washington (the RCW), receives 6 million hits per month. The Judiciary Committee members asked a few clarification questions. No opposition to the bill was presented.
HB 1479 was passed by the House on 2/26/11 (yeas, 97; nays, 0; absent, 0; excused, 1).
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on HB 1479 on Tuesday, 3/8/11 at 10 a.m. The TVW video of the meeting is available here with testimony beginning at approximately 03:25. Testifying in support of the bill were one sponsor, Rep. Roger Goodman, and the Code Reviser, Kyle Thiessen. Three LLOPS members attended the hearing but did not testify.
The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill slightly in its 3/5/2011 executive session.
On 3/28/2011 the bill was passed as amended in the Senate (yeas, 44; nays, 3; absent, 0; excused, 2).
April 2011 update:
H.B. 1479 was passed by both houses and was approved by the Governor on 4/22/2011. The law takes effect 90 days after the Session’s adjournment.
See the Bill History Page for complete information.
Washington Legal Inventory
It is AALL policy that the public have no-fee, permanent public access to authentic online legal information on government Web sites. In addition, AALL believes that government information, including the text of all primary legal materials, must be in the public domain and available without restriction. AALL Government Relations Policy.
The Washington Legal Inventory is our contribution to the development of the national inventory of primary legal resources at every level of government.
Once we have data for all fifty states, D.C. and the Federal government, the results will be analyzed and used as needed by experts who will be working with LAW.gov, the Law Library of Congress and our AALL public policy committees.
For more specific information please contact Tina Ching (Seattle University Law School), firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kay Newman (Washington State Law Library), Kay.Newman@courts.wa.gov. Or see the Washington Legal Inventory site for more information. Many thanks to Tina & Kay for leading this effort and thanks to the other dedicated volunteers who have helped build the inventory!
Sunshine Week 2011 — The Road Forward on Open Government
The day after his inauguration, President Barack Obama committed his administration “to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.” A webcast on this topic was held on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 9 a.m. (Pacific Time). An archived version of the webcast is available here. For this event during Sunshine Week—a yearly event to raise awareness of the importance of open government—OpenTheGovernment.org and the Center for American Progress brought together transparency experts from inside and outside government to discuss how far the administration’s efforts have moved us, two years into the effort, to that goal.
Important AALL Government Relations links:
Government Relations Office home page: http://www.aallnet.org/main-menu/Advocacy/aallwash
Government Relations Office advocacy tools web page: http://www.aallnet.org/main-menu/Advocacy/aallwash/Advocacy-Toolkit
Link to sign up for the advocacy list serve: http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/aalladvocsubscribe.html