Washington Hotline

Jazzy Wright

House budget dismisses role of IMLS

In a new budget released from Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the House Budget Committee chairman denounced the critical role that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) plays in supporting civic engagement, literacy, and lifelong learning in more than 123,000 libraries nationwide. Ryan recommends that the federal government not have a role in libraries and that Congress shift the federal agency’s responsibilities to the private sector in his 2015 fiscal year budget resolution. More than $180 million has been appropriated to IMLS through September 2014 to help libraries make information and services available to the citizens they serve. ALA’s President Barbara Stripling released a statement in response to Ryan’s unfortunate budget proposal (see www.ala.org/news/node/10177).

ALA joins Internet Archive in filing Supreme Court amicus brief

In March, ALA and the Internet Archive joined forces to file a “friend of the court” brief in David Leon Riley v. State of California and United States v. Brima Wurie, two Apellate cases joined at the Supreme Court to examine the constitutionality of cell phone searches without a warrant after police arrests. In the amicus brief, both nonprofit organizations argue that warrantless cell phone searches violate privacy principles protected by the Fourth Amendment.

ALA honors leaders with Freedom of Information awards

During the 16th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C., ALA awarded the James Madison Award to President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, the body of intelligence and legal experts tasked with assessing U.S. surveillance practices. The James Madison Award honors, celebrates, and recognizes groups and individuals who have championed for public access to government information. Additionally, ALA awarded the grassroots advocacy Eileen Cooke Award to the Open Government Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. ALA Immediate Past President Maureen Sullivan presented the awards at the Freedom of Information Day event.

Congress introduces harmful open access act

In March, Representatives Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) introduced the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology [FIRST] Act, H.R. 4186, a bill that challenges public access to tax-payer funded research. ALA joined 15 other organizations in a letter to 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.

E-rate advocacy continues

In March, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dived into rural broadband needs and challenges during an all-day workshop that took place in Washington, D.C. The workshop brought together educators, decision makers, policy and technology experts, and telecommunications leaders to help the FCC generate policies that will impact high-speed Internet deployment in rural, high-cost areas. Maine State Librarian Linda Lord discussed the role of libraries in rural communities on a panel highlighting the critical need for high-speed broadband in rural areas for individual consumers, businesses, and community anchor organizations.

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