In Illinois, a version of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (“UELMA”) is currently working its way through the 98th General Assembly (as Senate Bill 1941), but UELMA isn’t the only pending Illinois legislation that could affect the production and dissemination of government-produced legal information in electronic formats.
In February, Illinois Senator Pat McGuire introduced Senate Bill 3288, which, if enacted, would make two key changes to the Illinois General Assembly Operations Act (25 ILCS 10/10, hereinafter “The Act”).
These changes could lead to electronic publication and distribution of Illinois session laws, and would do so in a way that would help further UELMA’s goals of providing for authentication, preservation, and permanent accessibility of electronic information.
As it currently reads, Section 10(f) of The Act provides that “the Secretary of State shall prepare a printer’s copy for the ‘Session Laws of Illinois’” that sets out all Acts and Joint Resolutions, plus all Executive Orders of the Governor from the concluded session.
The proposed amendment to Section 10(f) would allow this “printer’s copy” to be delivered “in such format as the Secretary of State and the Enrolling and Engrossing Departments [of the House and Senate] may agree.” If enacted, this revised language would open up the possibility that the printer’s copy could be produced and delivered in a non-print (i.e. electronic) format.
The language of Section 10(f) also requires a statement on the title page of each volume of the session laws indicating that they are “[p]rinted by the authority of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois”. Because this requirement would continue in the revised version of Section 10(f), the amended provision would therefore support one of UELMA’s stated goals: ensuring authenticity of officially-designated information produced in an electronic format.
Changes to §10(g)
The other proposed change to the language of The Act would affect Section 10(g). Currently, Section 10(g) provides for distribution of bound volumes of Illinois Session Laws to several entities, including various libraries across the state. The revised language would allow for the possibility of electronic distribution of the bound volumes of state Session Laws “upon agreement”.
By continuing to require that distribution of these electronic documents be made to multiple libraries, the revised version of Section 10(g) would help meet the preservation requirement of UELMA. In addition, having electronic copies available in multiple locations across the state would make the information more easily accessible to the public, and could help to ensure that it remains permanently accessible, thus accomplishing another of UELMA’s requirements.
Because Senate Bill 3288’s aims are consistent with the requirements and ends of UELMA, CALL’s Government Relations Committee will be keeping an eye on the bill as it proceeds through the General Assembly.