Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-235

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADOPTION OF THE UNIFORM ELECTRONIC LEGAL MATERIAL ACT.

Vote Date:

3/13/2013

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/13/2013

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Connecticut needs a consistent method by which electronic government documents could be designated as official. The Act pertains to the electronic publishing of material and includes definitions of “electronic” and the type of materials to be included such as the Constitution of Connecticut, the General Statutes of Connecticut, regulations of state agencies, decisions of the Supreme Court, Appellate Court and the Superior Court. It specifies that the official publisher provide a method for a user to determine that the electronic record is unaltered from the official record. This act will modify, limit and supersede the Electronic Signatures in Global and Nation Commerce Act, 15 USC 7001 et seq.

There was no opposition from the Library Association or anyone else for this bill in 2012. Last year the bill was combined with the only other uniform act, “AAC the Uniform Vessels Act” which unfortunately had some opposition.

Connecticut is the only state that does not have some form of central repository for its states regulations.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Secretary of States Office: Mr. Bernard Liu: He testified in support for the Secretary of States Office of this bill with the exception of the date of its implementation. The bill makes the effective date 7/1/13. The testimony does not specify another date but does express difficulties in meeting this date. He points out that PA 12-92 “AA Transitioning the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies to an Online Format” is a noble effort and they are working with a task force to create an online database which will give access to this information but that is a monumental task with many inter-agency requirements that will take time to sort through. The Secretary of States Office has been working with the Governor's office on HB 6362 “AAC the Transparency and Accessibility of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies” and this bill will allow for gradual roll out of this database and they attached a final report from this task force. They believe the committee should consider this report and change SB 235 to accommodate the time frame. Part of the detailed recommendations listed on page 15 of their report, “Regulations Modernization Task Force is that implementation should be phased in over time and that the status quo is unacceptable. While the document didn't specify a specific date it does recommend 18 months from its February 1, 2012date (8/1/13).

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Connecticut State Library: Kendall Wiggin: Testified in support of the bill and indicated that California and Colorado implemented the bill and 4 other states are considering its adoption. He points out that SB 418 “AA Adopting the Uniform Electronic Leg Material Act and the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act” was passed by the Senate on the last day of the session but was not taken up by the House. The act addresses the need to effectively provide and manage electronic government information in a manner that guaranties trustworthiness and continued access and SB 235 would provide a consistent method by which electronic government documents could be designated as official.

Uniform Law Commission: They submitted testimony in favor of this legislation. They point out that the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) requires that official electronic legal material be authenticated by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered, preserved either in electronic or print form and accessible for use by the public on a permanent basis. They believe that by enacting UELMA, the presumption is that authenticated electronic legal material is accurate and applies in every other state that had enacted UELMA. It points out the importance of managing electronic legal information in a manner that guarantees trustworthiness of and access to important state legal material.

American Assoc. of Law Libraries: Darcy Kirk: Past President of the Assoc., testified in favor of the bill. ULEMA addresses the urgent problem, first identified in AALL's 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources, that an increasing number of states are eliminating their print legal resources in favor of online-only, without assuring trustworthiness and reliability. UELMA provides an outcomes-based approach to ensuring that Connecticut's online legal material is guaranteed the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by print publication.

Connecticut Bar Assoc.: Jonathan Stock: The Chairman of the CBA's Law Librarians Section testified strongly in favor of this bill and did not request any alterations in the language. He believes that it will help ensure that Connecticut's on line official legal material will be preserved and made permanently available to the public in unaltered form. He points out that an increasing number of states are eliminating their print legal resources in favor of online-only without assuring trustworthiness and reliability. SB 235 covers a range of legal materials such as the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, the General Statutes of Connecticut, regulations of state agencies and the decisions of the Supreme Court, Appellate Court and Superior Court that assures accuracy and trustworthiness.

Yale Law Library: Blair Kauffman: The director of the Yale Law library testified in support of this bill and specifically mentions PA 12-92 which transitions CT state agency regs. to an online format, effective 7/1/13. He reports that last year the bill had unanimous support in the Senate and passed with a 36/0 vote and was not taken up in the House because of another uniform act that UELMA was attached to. The bill is supported by the Connecticut Bar Assoc., the Southern New England Law Librarians Assoc., the Uniform Law Commission and the American Bar Assoc. Other stakeholders like the U.S. Government Printing Office, the National Archives, and Records Administration, the Society of American Archivists, the National Center for State Courts and the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions were observers to the ULC drafting committee.

Southern New England Law Librarians Assoc.: Nancy Marcove: The past president of the Southern New England Law Librarians Assoc., testified in favor of this legislation and asked for its passage. They did not request altering the effective date of this legislation. She points out that UELMA has been enacted by California and Colorado and that it is pending in 5 other states including Connecticut and that passage make good sense because it assures a consistent and reliable approach for addressing an important issue of concern to citizens in all 50 states.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

There was no testimony in opposition to the bill and only the Secretary of States Office expressed concerns about the implementation date of July 1, 2013.

Reported by: Richard Ferrari

Date: 3/18/13