Support Net Neutrality Protections

November 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On November 28th, the Medical Library Association issued a call for members to contact their representatives to speak in favor of current net neutrality rules. Please see below for the text of the email as well as links to resources you can use.

Why Net Neutrality Matters:

MLA and AAHSL support the net neutrality protections approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 and affirmed by the federal appeals court in 2016. Net neutrality is critical to libraries, library patrons and the public.

Health sciences libraries require an open internet to provide:

  • Unencumbered access to the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) almost 300 databases that support health care, education, and research; and
  • Internet access to images that support telemedicine.

The public requires Internet access without restrictions and barriers to access consumer health information.

Libraries depend on the principles of net neutrality which allow them to create and make available on their websites content that supports educational opportunities online worldwide and to provide access to datasets to promote research and collaboration.

What You Can Do (before December 13th):

As the ALA Washington Office reports, right now, the FCC is not accepting public comments (that may come later), but strong disapproval from members of Congress (especially from those who serve on committees with oversight for the FCC) could force a pause in the December 14 vote to derail net neutrality. Make your voice heard now by emailing your member of Congress (www.House.gov) and (www.Senate.gov) to support net neutrality protections.

Links are provided to the following House and Senate Committees and Subcommittees with jurisdiction over the FCC.

For talking points see:

MLA/AAHS: Comments to the Federal Communications Commission re: Restoring Internet Freedom,” Docket 17-108 (July 14, 2017) and feel free to personalize your letter by addressing the impact of this potential rollback on your libraries and users.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

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Travel Scholarships for National Library Legislative Day Available

November 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is an annual event where librarians, library staff, and library supporters go to Washington, D.C. to lobby their representatives and senators to support libraries and library-friendly legislation. It is a two-day event, with the first day dedicated to an orientation and the second one reserved for visits with members of Congress.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) recently announced that it was providing travel scholarships to people interested in attending NLLD in an effort to boost attendance. The award will reimburse travel expenses up to $750.00 per person. There is a total of $7,500 available.

If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, you will need to submit an application by December 19, 2017. In addition, you must be a member of ACRL and a first-time attendee at NLLD. For more information, please see this post from ACRL Insider.

Good luck!

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

MLA Submits Comments on Next Generation Data Science Challenges

November 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In late September, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) issued a Request for Information (RFI) about future directions and priorities for the next generation of biomedical data science research and development. Respondents were asked for focus on the following three areas:

  1. Promising directions for new data science research in the context of health and biomedicine. Input might address topics such as Data Driven Discovery and Data Driven Health Improvement.
  2. Promising directions for new initiatives relating to open science and research reproducibility. Input might address topics such as Advanced Data Management and Intelligent and Learning Systems for Health.
  3. Promising directions for workforce development and new partnerships. Input might address topics such as Workforce Development and Diversity and New Stakeholder Partnerships.

On October 31st, the Medical Library Association (MLA) submitted comments in response to this RFI. For example, one recommendation was to develop a “Data Sciences Specialization in partnership with NLM to meet the continuing education needs of its membership as well as to augment the current set of competencies.” Please see the links below for more information about this RFI and for the full text of MLA’s comments.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

MLA and AALL Statement on Federal Depository Library Program

October 4, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MLA and the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) have submitted a set of six recommendations, designed to update and improve access to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The purpose of the FDLP is to provide public access to materials published by the federal government. It does this primarily through a series of full and partial depository libraries located throughout the United States.

Most of these recommendations address issues related to the digital age. For example, recommendation one expands “the scope of the FDLP to include publications in all formats, including digital.” This announcement from MLA contains a link to the text from MLA/AALL along with the details for each recommendation. You can learn more about the FDLP here.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

Major Update on Federal Funding

September 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The following is an update from the Adhoc Group for Medical Research. It provides highlights of FY 2018 funding for agencies such as the NIH and HHS.

President Signs CR Through Dec. 8

This morning, the House approved, 316-90, H.R. 601, a package with $15.25 billion disaster relief that also suspends the debt ceiling and continues funding for federal agencies (with a 0.6791 percent across the board cut) through Dec. 8. Among other provisions, the package also includes a provision (Sec. 138)  prohibiting HHS from reducing NIH support for facilities and administrative (F&A) expenses (similar to language included in the House and Senate Labor-HHS bills for FY 2018). The president signed the bill earlier this evening, thus granting appropriators an additional three months to complete work on the FY 2018 spending bills beyond the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. The Senate had approved the measure a day earlier, 80-17. Bill text, a section by section summary, and press statement about the package are available on the Senate Appropriations Committee website.

 

House Begins Consideration of “Octo-bus”

Meanwhile, the House continued to move forward with consideration of its committee-passed spending bills for the full fiscal year. After approving a four bill “security package” (H.R. 3219) earlier in the year, the chamber on Sept. 6 began consideration of the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act” (H.R. 3354), which bundles the eight remaining spending bills, including the FY 2018 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill (H.R. 3358, H.Rept. 115-234) approved by the House Appropriations Committee in July. The House Rules Committee ruled more than 200 amendments in order, including 59 amendments to the Labor-HHS-Education portion of the package (Division F). The White House Sept. 5 issued a statement of administration policy in support of the legislation, but expresses concern with language in Division F prohibiting the administration from reducing NIH support for facilities and administrative expenses. The House is expected to continue consideration of H.R. 3354 when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

 

Senate Committee Approves FY 18 Bill With $2 Billion Increase for NIH

The Senate Appropriations Committee has released text of its FY 2018 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill (S. 1771, S. Rept. 115-150), which the committee approved, 29-2, on Sept. 7. As you know, the bill provides $36.084 billion for NIH in FY 2018, including the full $496 million provided for the agency through the Innovation Account established in the 21st Century Cures Act, a $2 billion increase for NIH overall (on preliminary review, without the Cures funding, the bill provides $35.588 billion, a $1.856 billion or 5.5 percent increase above the comparable FY 2017 funding level). The bill rejects a number of the president’s FY 2018 proposals: among other provisions, the bill continues funding for the Fogarty International Center, maintains AHRQ as an independent agency rather than consolidating it within NIH, blocks the administration from reducing NIH support for facilities and administrative expenses, and maintains the HHS salary cap at Executive Level II.

 

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

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