[Libs-Or] OLA Legislative Day -- Equitable Access to Legal Information Template

Emily Ford fordemily at gmail.com
Thu Apr 4 15:11:19 PDT 2013

Hi Oregon Library Community,
Again today I'd like to remind you of OLA Legislative Day on Monday, April
8th. For more information regarding the schedule, please visit the OLA
Legislative Network Wiki's page on OLA Legislative Day.

For those of you unable to visit Salem on Monday, we hoped you may consider
participating by phoning or emailing your Senators and Representatives. The
third of four issues we would like to discuss on Legislative Day is
equitable access to legal information. OLA has an issue brief accessible
online at:

Below is a template that you can use to email your representatives about
this important topic. Please consider using this template to email your
state legislators on Monday.


April 8, 2013

Dear  _______________,

I am writing today to ask you to support equitable access to legal
information for all Oregonians.

Since 1907, county law libraries in Oregon have been funded by a percentage
of court filing fees. In 2011 the Legislature passed HB 2710, part of which
changed the way counties received funding for mediation/conciliation
services and operating law libraries. According to a December 2012 report
by the Business Fiscal Services Division, Office of the State Court
Administrator, the legislative intent was to provide a General Fund
appropriation that was equivalent to the historical funding these programs
received in prior years, to the extent possible given budget restraints.

In the fall of 2012, the OLA convened a task force to examine how to
achieve its policy goal of equitable access to legal information. On this
task force there was general support for centralized funding and
administration of basic electronic legal information resources, with a cost
estimate between $350,000 and $400,000 annually. This cost depends on the
depth of resources licensed and the breadth of access.

I support the continued exploration of a statewide county law library
partnership in lieu of operating law libraries on a county level. This is a
more complex undertaking as counties would have to agree to pursue this
option and funds would need to be appropriated. An adequate program would
fund the State Law Library to provide service to these counties through
dedicated funds for staff to develop tools, train local providers and offer
virtual reference.

I urge you to equitable access to legal information for all Oregonians by:


   Supporting appropriations in HB 5016 for the State Library to license
   and manage electronic legal information resources to be made accessible to
   as many as possible.

As a librarian and as your constituent, I have seen the difficulty the
public has in accessing legal information. This solution would allow me to
better help library patrons, and provide more equitable access to legal
information for all Oregonians.

Thank you for your time.

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