Legislative Updates, September 2015

from Kelly Johnson, ACRL/NY Legislative Liaison

FASTR: Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015
(If passed FASTR would require federal agencies to develop a policy ensuring products of funded research would be freely available to the public online no later than 12 months after publication)

July 29: FASTR approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

What’s Next: Will now go to the full senate – stay tuned for calls to action in contacting senators.

Good Guys:
Ron Johnson (R-WI), committee chair
John Cornyn (R-TX), leading this fight

CISA: Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act
(If passed as currently written would allow widescale collection of personal data without a warrant. After much public opposition, the original bill was amended, but still allows significant breaches of privacy. Many senators will likely continue to lobby for further amendment that would reduce privacy threats, but ALA does not believe the revised bill will warrant support.

Early August: The Senate did not address CISA in session.

What’s Next: The Senate may take up discussion of CISA after returning from the Labor Day hiatus (so…now). Senators should be asked to vote “NO” on the CISA bill if it returns to the floor.

Bad Guys:
Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), principal authors and strong advocates of the bill.
ECPA: Electronic Communications Privacy Act
Originally passed in 1986, and not amended since, it dictates when the government needs a search warrant to obtain employee’s electronic communications from institutions and companies once the documents are more than 6 months old (see the ACLU’s infographic attached).

What’s Next: September 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on ECPA. No vote is immediately scheduled.

Good Guys: about ¼ of all Senators and approximately ¾ of all Members of the House support pending legislation.

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