Washington Hotline

Jazzy Wright

Sequestration goes into effect

In March, sequestration—automatic cuts to all federal discretionary programs—went into effect after Congress could not reach an agreement on a deficit reduction plan. As a result, sequestration will impact all libraries served by state library agencies. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has been cut by $12 million, which includes $7.86 million in cuts to the Library Services and Technology Act (the federal sequester will mean a 5 percent cut in the $232 million allocated to IMLS).

Overall, state programs will be cut, and each state will decide how the reduced budgets will affect the services delivered to the public, which may include the reduction of summer reading programs, database subscriptions, workforce development programs (such as employment skills and job searching), and services to people with disabilities. Future grant program budgets will also be slashed, though grants already awarded will not be affected by sequestration.

Representative Zoe Lofgren presents ALA James Madison Award

On March 15, 2013, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) presented the 2013 James Madison Award during the 15th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. Lofgren posthumously awarded Aaron Swartz, open access champion and activist, the award for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and government information.

The award, named in honor of President James Madison, honors individuals who have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know national information. Lofgren, who received the award in 2012, spoke on the importance of access to information. The day featured a keynote discussion with First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams (subject of the new book Nuanced Absolutism) and a conversation on the forthcoming video documentary Whistleblowers.

This event was held in partnership with the First Amendment Center, OpenTheGovernment.org, the Project on Government Oversight, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The conference is also part of the annual Sunshine Week initiative sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Say hello to FASTR: New open access bill introduced

The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced to both the House and Senate in February. The language of the bill is almost identical to that of Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), the legislation introduced in the last Congress that would require public access to taxpayer-funded research.

If passed, FASTR would require federal departments and agencies to ensure that researchers submit electronic copies of their final manuscripts accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Additionally, the bill would require that each taxpayer-funded manuscript be made available to the public online and without cost, no later than six months after the article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and cosponsor Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the bill S. 350 to the Senate, and Representatives Michael Doyle (D-PA) and cosponsors Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Kevin Yoder (R-KS) introduced bill HR 708. to the House.

ALA thanked Doyle for his support by signing on to a letter expressing gratitude for his “leadership in introducing the Fair Access to Science and Technology Act, and for [his] longstanding commitment to the success of crucial public access policies.

Copyright © American Library Association 2013

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