Fun_People Archive
21 Jun
Public Access (Re: Folklife Center endangered)

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 95 10:06:48 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Public Access (Re: Folklife Center endangered)

From: Julie Mangin <>

The bill in question is H.R. 1854, which is the Legislative Branch

What's even more scary is what it might do to public information.  Read on...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
                                                             ISSN 1069-7799
                      ALA Washington Office Newsline
                     An electronic publication of the
              American Library Association Washington Office

                           Volume 4, Number 55
                               June 9, 1995

   In this issue: (218 lines)



On June 8, the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee agreed
to a major policy change in the way the American public obtains government
information produced at taxpayer expense.  This policy change was voted on
without Congressional hearings to determine how the new system would work
and whether public access to government information would be ensured as it
has been for more than a century.

[stuff deleted]

In a major policy shift, publishing agencies would be required to reimburse
GPO for the cost of producing and distributing their paper and microfiche
documents to depositories.  Yet, few agencies comply now with the law to
provide depository copies when they produce publications outside GPO,
making it highly unlikely they will meet greater requirements.  The
Subcommittee intends to encourage electronic dissemination of government
information.  At the same time, they voted to eliminate the print
distribution of the daily Congressional Record to constituents, such as
public libraries, schools and hospitals.  Depository libraries would
receive the bound Congressional Record and the Serial Set only in an
electronic format.  The Library of Congress is to initiate a study to
determine if its National Digital Library project could be applied to the
federal documents program.

What Could Happen?

-  Public access to government information would be severely restricted, as
less information is available through the Depository Library Program.

-  The current nonpartisan, apolitical, organized system of publications
distribution could be changed to one where agencies could avoid
disseminating information because it could be embarrassing, controversial
or politically expedient.

-  The funding for the Depository Library Program's transition to
electronic formats would be jeopardized.

-  The amount of fugitive information would skyrocket, as agencies would
have reduced incentives to bring their work to GPO.  Elimination of the
Joint Committee on Printing, approved by the Subcommittee, would remove
effective enforcement.

-  No fee public access would depend on the ability of agencies--already
under severe financial constraints--to pay for paper depository copies.
The payment requirement is an unfunded mandate to agencies.

-  The ability for many public, community college and state libraries to
serve users would be diminished unless they have easy electronic access to
information; the ability to download, print, and store government
publications; and big budgets to buy materials.

-  Libraries would have an unfunded mandate to provide electronic access to
government information.  Library costs to acquire and catalog fugitive
information would increase.

-  GPO would no longer have the funds to convert paper documents to
microfiche (more than 60 percent of all copies distributed now go to
libraries in microfiche).

-  When agencies were required to reimburse GPO for publications
distributed through the International Exchange Program, the administrative
costs of running the program ate up most of the available funds.

-  Taxpayers would realize no savings; in reality, the "savings" would show
up as increased costs to other publishing agencies, resulting in no overall
savings for the taxpayers.

In 1994, GPO acquired, cataloged, and distributed nearly 21 million copies
of publications to depository libraries--for about $1 a copy.  GPO
distributed nearly 65,000 titles, only 306 of them in electronic format.
Before making major changes in information policy through the
appropriations process, Congress should conduct a study to determine the
feasibility, costs, and benefits of on-demand delivery of publications to
depository libraries.  A study examining alternatives is necessary before
deciding on a course of action that will determine the methods used for
document distribution for years to come.  It is in the best interests of
the government, library users and libraries to ensure public access to
government information essential in a democracy.

Time is short to change this House Subcommittee action.  The full
Appropriations Committee meets on June 15 to consider the FY96 Legislative
Branch Appropriations bill (no number yet) [H.R. 1854].  House
Appropriations chair, Rep. Bill Livingston (R-LA) plans to bring the bill
to House floor on June 20.

Multitudes of individuals and organizations need to contact Congress to
protect no fee, equitable public access to government information.  Please
repost this message widely.

ACTION NEEDED: It is critical that librarians in all types of libraries,
users, trustees, friends of libraries contact Members of Congress to ask
them to continue to fund the Depository Library Program so that public
access to information in our democracy can be assured.

1)  Constituents of members of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee should
contact them immediately to tell them how disappointed they are in the 50
percent reduction in appropriations for the Depository Library Program,
explaining the vital services provided to their constituents with these
funds.  Ask them to support an amendment that would restore $16 million to
the Superintendent of Documents Salaries and Expenses Appropriation for
FY96. (Reps. Packard, Young (FL), Taylor, Miller, Wicker, Fazio, Thornton,

2)  Constituents of members of the House Appropriations Committee should
immediately contact them and ask them to support an amendment like the one
described above.

3)  Constituents of other Representatives should ask their legislators to
request their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to restore the $16
million described above.

4)  Constituents of the Senate Legislative Branch Subcommittee [Senators
Mack (R-FL), Chair; Bennett (R-UT), Jeffords (R-VT), Murray (D-WA),
Mikulski (D-MD)], should ask them to approve the $30.3 million GPO
requested for the Superintendent of Documents Salaries and Expenses
Appropriation for FY96.

[Now that the bill is on the House floor, it is more appropriate to call
your own representative, rather than a committee member.  I am enclosing
the list of the committee members, in case your representative is a
committee member.  --JM]

House Appropriations Committee

ST Representative (Party)        Phone     Fax       E-Mail
== ==========================    ========  ========  ============
                                   Area Code 202
LA Livingston, Robert (R)        225-3015  225-0739
AL Bevill, Thomas (D)            225-4876  225-1604
AL Callahan, Sonny (R)           225-4931  225-0562
AR Dickey, Jay  (R)              225-3772  225-1314  jdickey
AR Thornton, Raymond (D)         225-2506  225-9273
AZ Kolbe, James T. (R)           225-2542  225-0378
CA Dixon, Julian C. (D)          225-7084  225-4091
CA Fazio, Vic (D)                225-5716  225-0354
CA Lewis, Jerry (R)              225-5861  225-6498
CA Packard, Ronald (R)           225-3906  225-0134  rpackard
CA Pelosi, Nancy (D)             225-4965  225-8259  sfnancy
CA Riggs, Frank (R)              225-3311  225-7710
CA Torres, Esteban E. (D)        225-5256  225-9711
CO Skaggs, David E. (D)          225-2161  225-9127  skaggs
FL Miller, Dan (R)               225-5015  226-0828
FL Young, C. W. (R)              225-5961  225-9764
GA Kingston, Jack (R)            225-5831  226-2269
IA Lightfoot, James R. (R)       225-3806  225-6973
IL Durbin, Richard J. (D)        225-5271  225-0170
IL Porter, John E. (R)           225-4835  225-0157
IL Yates, Sidney R. (D)          225-2111  225-3493
IN Myers, John T. (R)            225-5805  225-1649
IN Visclosky, Peter J. (D)       225-2461  225-2493
KY Rogers, Harold (R)            225-4601  225-0940
MD Hoyer, Steny H. (D)           225-4131  225-4300
MI Knollenberg, Joe (R)          225-5802  226-2356
MN Sabo, Martin O. (D)           225-4755  225-4886
MS Wicker, Roger (R)             225-4306  225-3549
NC Hefner, W. G. "Bill" (D)      225-3715  225-4036
NC Taylor, Charles Hart (R)      225-6401  225-0519  chtaylor
NJ Frelinghuysen, Rodney (R)     225-5034  225-0658
NM Skeen, Joseph (R)             225-2365  225-9599
NV Vucanovich, Barbara (R)       225-6155  225-2319
NY Forbes, Michael               225-3826  225-3143  mforbes
NY Lowey, Nita M. (D)            225-6506  225-0546
NY Walsh, James T. (R)           225-3701  225-4042
OH Hobson, David L. (R)          225-4324  225-1984
OH Kaptur, Marcy (D)             225-4146  225-7711
OH Regula, Ralph (R)             225-3876  225-3059
OH Stokes, Louis (D)             225-7032  225-1339
OK Istook, Ernest Jim (R)        225-2132  226-1463  istook
OR Bunn, Jim (R)                 225-5711  225-2994
PA Foglietta, Thomas M. (D)      225-4731  225-0088
PA McDade, Joseph M. (R)         225-3731  225-9594
PA Murtha, John P. (D)           225-2065  225-5709
TX Bonilla, Henry (R)            225-4511  225-2237
TX Chapman, Jim (D)              225-3035  225-7265
TX Coleman, Ronald D. (D)        225-4831  225-4825
TX DeLay, Thomas (R)             225-5951  225-5241
TX Wilson, Charles (D)           225-2401  225-1764  cwilson
VA Wolf, Frank R. (R)            225-5136  225-0437
WA Dicks, Norman D. (D)          225-5916  226-1176
WA Nethercutt, George (R)        225-2006  225-3392
WI Neumann, Mark (R)             225-3031  225-3393
WI Obey, David R. (D)            225-3365  na
WV Mollohan, Alan B. (D)         225-4172  225-7564

  All e-mail addresses end with suffix at top of e-mail column.


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[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []