Good news! Last week The Maryland Uniform Legal Materials Act (HB 162) was introduced in the General Assembly and is sporting a growing list of sponsors throughout the state. Many thanks to Del. Cathy Vitale of Anne Arundel County who introduced the bill.
We need your help to increase the number of sponsors of the bill so we are asking LLAM members to contact their legislators to request their sponsorship of the bill. If you do not know who represents you (there have been a lot of changes) see Locate Your Legislators.
Below is a sample message that will fit perfectly in the Contact Legislators form available for each legislator. FYI, this form has a 1,500 character limit and the sample message below is around 1400 characters.
Also, please mark your calendar for Maryland Library Legislative Day on February 18. The schedule begins with a terrific breakfast at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court law library. Details will be forthcoming.
Time is of the essence so please contact your legislators right away and urge them to support UELMA.
SAMPLE MESSAGE TO DELEGATES
I write in support of House Bill 162, the Maryland Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA). I strongly urge to you to sponsor this important legislation.
UELMA ensures that online state legal materials that are deemed official — for example, the Code of Maryland, Maryland Rules, reported appellate court decisions, Attorney General Opinions, and the Code of Maryland Regulations — will be preserved in unaltered form and made permanently available to the public.
In Maryland, there have been efforts to discard traditional print access with no method to ensure access, preservation, or authentication to these materials. For example, The Division of State Documents recently proposed offering online-only access to the Maryland Register. Last year the General Assembly exempted the state judiciary from publishing rules committee materials in the Maryland Register if they are promptly posted on the Judiciary web site. Some states no longer publish important legal materials in print — a decision that Maryland may eventually make as well.
UELMA is the people’s insurance policy that our state’s laws are available, preserved, and authenticated online.
To date, twelve states have passed UELMA. By adopting UELMA, Maryland will establish itself as a national leader and demonstrate its commitment to providing its citizens with access to legal materials regardless of format.