By Kevin McClure, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Law librarians across Illinois had much to celebrate on August 26 when Gov. Quinn signed the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act into law, making Illinois the eleventh state to enact the measure (Pennsylvania subsequently became the twelfth).
The long road to these victories began with a pair of landmark AALL reports, the State-by-State Report on Permanent Public Access to Electronic Government Information published in 2003, and the State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources in 2007. These reports identified the problems UELMA was written to address: lax attention to authentication, preservation, and permanent public access for the growing volume of official legal materials being posted online by state governments, leaving legal professionals and the public in doubt as to the trustworthiness of these online documents.
After AALL’s 2007 National Summit on Authentication of Digital Legal Information, Michele Timmons, Commissioner of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law (NCCUSL, now the Uniform Law Commission) led the effort to create a study group to assess the feasibility of a uniform law that would address AALL’s concerns. In the summer of 2009, NCCUSL created a drafting committee to work on the text, and two years later, UELMA was approved. It’s a credit to the preparation and hard work of many that Illinois was one of the earliest states to adopt the measure.
Special thanks go to Kip Kolkmeier, Springfield lobbyist for the Illinois Library Association, who was profiled in the Winter 2014 issue of the Bulletin. Kip kept his ear to the ground, took the temperature of some key legislators, and was instrumental in explaining the bill to them and reporting his observations back to CALL and recommending strategy. We’re also grateful to Keith Ann Stiverson, who served as AALL’s observer on the NCCUSL drafting committee, for her wonderful job reaching out to line up the support of other library stakeholders in the state, and working closely with Kip.
Congratulations to us!