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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recent Legislation Introduced to make CRS Reports Available Online

From the Government Documents department...


Democratic congressional representative Frank M. Kratovil, Jr. recently introduced legislation (H.R. 3762) to expand the availability of Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports via the Internet. The goal of this bill, which complements S. Res. 118 introduced earlier this year by Senator Joseph Lieberman, is to "increase transparency and help citizens become more informed and engaged advocates." (Read Representaive Kratovil's press release here.)

CRS reports are produced by the Library of Congress as a legislative research tool for members of the House and Senate. These reports are public domain documents, yet they are not made available directly to the public. Constituents can request the reports from their Senators and Congressional Representatives; the reports can also be purchased from private vendors. However, aside from a few online archives assembled by various universities and public interest organizations, there is no central, comprehensive repository of CRS reports on the Internet. That's why the recent legislative efforts to expand their availability are so critical.

To encourage further sponsorship in Congress for the initiatives proposed by Representative Kratovil and Senator Lieberman, the American Assocaition of Law Libraries is calling upon concerned citizens to voice their support. The AALL Government Relations Office has issued an Action Alert that makes it easy for you to write to your senators and House representatives. The Alert includes sample emails and links to the Webmail forms of your members of Congress so that you can easily start writing an email right away. Please take action. Your help will keep the momentum going on this important issue.

For more information about CRS reports and to find links to CRS sources online, read the Guide to CRS Reports on the Web, available from LLRX.com