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Category Archives: Congress

AALL Calls on Congress to Improve Access to Electronic Records of Federal Court System

“The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is advocating for the passage of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. This legislation would, for the first time, allow free access to electronic federal court records through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system and improve the efficiency and transparency of the courts. AALL coordinated a letter signed by 15 other organizations—including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Data Coalition, and the Project on Government Oversight—urging passage of the bill. “Access to the law, and information about the law, is the cornerstone of any democracy. The American Association of Law Libraries has long advocated for no-fee access to federal court records through PACER,and the Electronic Court Records Reform Act would finally make that vision a reality,” said Femi Cadmus,president of AALL. “Eliminating PACER fees will improve transparency of the courts and allow law libraries to preserve and provide access to court records.

We urge Congress to enact this legislation.”The Electronic Court Records Reform Act would: Consolidate the case management/electronic case files system and require all documents in the system be searchable, machine-readable and available to the public and to parties before the court free of charge; Protect private information, requiring the courts to redact any information prohibited from public disclosure…”

Weather Service prepares to launch prediction model many forecasters don’t trust

The Washington Post: “In a month, the National Weather Service plans to launch its “next generation” weather prediction model with the aim of “better, more timely forecasts.” But many meteorologists familiar with the model fear it is unreliable. The introduction of a model that forecasters lack confidence in matters, considering the enormous impact that weather… Continue Reading

Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for February 2019

In Custodia Legis – “In January, Robert announced the first version of the new Committee Schedule that we have been working on.  It is a great way to see quickly which meetings and hearings the House and Senate committees have scheduled for the week…” Continue Reading

Senate passed biggest public lands package in a decade – it is not all positive

The Washington Post – “The Senate on Tuesday passed the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country and establishing four new national monuments honoring heroes including Civil War soldiers and a civil rights icon. The 662-page measure [S.47, Natural… Continue Reading

A New Americanism Why a Nation Needs a National Story

Foreign Affairs – Jill Lepore: “…The United States is different from other nations—every nation is different from every other—and its nationalism is different, too. To review: a nation is a people with common origins, and a state is a political community governed by laws. A nation-state is a political community governed by laws that unites… Continue Reading

For 230 years in the US presidential leadership has been male

The New York Times – ‘A Woman, Just Not That Woman’: How Sexism Plays Out on the Trail – “Women are conscious that small elements of how they present themselves are subject to scrutiny. Representative Madeleine Dean — one of four Democratic women elected to the House last year from Pennsylvania, whose congressional delegation was… Continue Reading

What’s in the Natural Resources Management Act

Outside Magazine – The crucial public lands legislation just might pass the Senate. Here’s what you can do to help—and why you should care. “The Senate will vote on the bi-partisan Natural Resources Management Act next week. It looks like it actually stands a chance of passing, in which case it will go to the House of… Continue Reading

Bribery, Kickbacks, and Self-Dealing: An Overview of Honest Services Fraud and Issues for Congress

CRS report via FAS – Bribery, Kickbacks, and Self-Dealing: An Overview of Honest Services Fraud and Issues for Congress, January 30. 2019. “As the trials of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos illustrate, corruption among high-profile public officials continues to be a concern in the United States. Likewise, recent examples abound of powerful executives in the… Continue Reading

New Electronic Edition of Federal Administrative Procedure Sourcebook

“ACUS is pleased to announce the launch of the continuously-updated electronic edition of the Federal Administrative Procedure Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a joint initiative with the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association, which published the most recent editions of the Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is an annotated compilation of the… Continue Reading

Park Service will not use entrance fees to pay for shutdown operations

The Hill: “The National Park Service (NPS) will retroactively pull from congressionally appropriated funds to pay for the park maintenance and other operations the Trump administration authorized during the partial government shutdown, according to an internal NPS memo obtained by The Hill Wednesday. Dan Smith, NPS’s deputy director and its top official, told staff in… Continue Reading

CRS – Artificial Intelligence and National Security

Vias FAS: “The CIA has around 140 projects involving or related to artificial intelligence, CRS noted (citing a 2017 story in DefenseOne). See Artificial Intelligence and National Security, updated January 30, 2019.” Continue Reading

Executive Branch Ethics and Financial Conflicts of Interest: Disqualification

Via FAS: Executive Branch Ethics and Financial Conflicts of Interest: Disqualification, CRS Legal Sidebar, January 31, 2019 Continue Reading