College & Research Libraries News


Carol C. Henderson (202) 547-4440; (ALA0025)

Deputy Director, ALA Washington Office

HEA H-D. This month’s deadline was extended so that I could tell you how last-minute deficit reduction action affected funding for the Higher Education Act II-D college library technology grants, but Congress has not finished work, and it’s going to be a cliff-hanger until Christmas. That news will have to wait till next time.

WHCLIS. However, the extended deadline enables me to include news of the Senate passage on December 15 by voice vote of the legislation (S.J.Res. 26) for a second White House Conference on Library and Information Services to be held between 1989-91. The Senate has some provisions not in the House-passed H.J.Res. 90, so differences must be worked out.

NAL. Pending bills which will carry over into the second session in 1988 include HR 1435, which would consolidate and expand the statutory authority for the National Agricultural Library. HR 1435, introduced in March 1987 by House Agriculture Committee Chairman E de la Garza (D-TX) and ranking minority member Edward Madigan (R-IL), would clarify that NAL’s mission is "to serve as the Nation’s primary agricultural information resource."

The bill would bring together legislative authority in various acts, strengthen NAL’s position in the Department of Agriculture, consolidate the definition of functions of the library, define the relationship of NAL to the agricultural and information communities, and provide for recovery of costs in generating products and services and for NAL use of funds from fees and sales. Finally, the bill would bring NAL closer to realization of all the goals recommended by a Blue Ribbon Panel in 1982. That panel resulted in the report, "Assessment of the National Agricultural Library—Final Report to the Secretary," prepared by the Interagency Panel on the NAL, published by USDA, Science and Education, August 1982.

Interstate sales tax.Several bills pending in Congress would allow any state to require out-of-state vendors to collect applicable sales tax if vendors above a minimum size solicited and made sales in that state. Any libraries not exempt from sales tax would be affected to the extent that they made purchases from out-of-state publishers, distributors, or equipment suppliers. Although the proposed change would represent additional revenue for state and local governments, paperwork could increase since exempt libraries would probably have to certify they were exempt for the vendor’s records.

HR 1242,introduced by Rep. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), was approved by the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee on November 5 and is pending before the full House Ways and Means Committee. As revised in subcommittee, HR 1242 is apparently now similar to HR 3521, introduced by Rep. Jack Brooks (D-TX) on October 21. The Taxation and Debt Management Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing November 6 on S. 639, introduced by Sen. Quentin Burdick (D-ND), and S. 1099, introduced by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). The Treasury Department expressed doubts about the constitutionality of the legislation. Governors, tax administrators, and other state officials testified in favor, along with certain retail dealers. Direct marketers were opposed.

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