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A Call to Action – Oppose H.R. 4195

By Benita on July 24, 2014//Leave a comment

On July 14, the House of Representatives passed the Federal Register Modernization Act, H.R. 4195. This bill removes the statutory requirement to print the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and the indexes for these materials.

 

The Federal Register and the CFR are among the most essential documents of the United States Executive Branch. The Federal Register is the daily legal newspaper of the federal government. The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies.

 

You should oppose H.R. 4195 because:

 

1. Members of the public must be able to access the Federal Register and CFR in print. A recent survey by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) reveals that people continue to rely on print.

 

2. Eliminating the indexes to the Federal Register and CFR would remove essential finding aids. The indexes are necessary to quickly locate relevant information and provide meaningful access.

 

3. H.R. 4195 would result in less transparency. The Pew Research Center estimates that 15% of American adults do not use the internet. Even those who do use the internet, they struggle with performing an effective search. Therefore, the print version is still essential to access the government’s rules and regulations.

 

To help us oppose H.R. 4195, please use this form to share stories and anecdotes about how you use the Federal Register, CFR and their indexes in print. Your stories will be sent to the staff of AALL’s Government Relations Office, who will share them with the appropriate Senate staff. With your stories, we can defeat this bill.

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. They don't care about what we think

    Tuesday evening, July 29th

    That’s right: the Gov’t doesn’t care at all what we think about their “proposals” and acts. What transparency? NSA-style? Besides, consider the poor economy, and the trillions in Debt; just think of all the paper and ink and maybe postage and delivery costs they will save, by shutting it all up, keeping it for themselves, and leaving us without a clue, adversely, later. Everything is “going digital” anyway, they’ll say.

    As for access to the CFRs, when you look at it, the printed version usually is in some “federal depository,” like a local law library or law school’s library (SD Co LL & USD LL comes to mind, right?). Most people live far from that “source,” and have difficulty in keeping up with all those plans for our future. Who among the general populace can find it? Well, I could, having learned to do it at the SD Co LL. Who among them or anyone has time to read it all, consider it, and make “comments” upon it? Only those “interested,” and who knows what that means? And if any one could find it for whatever reason, it would be someone well acquainted with the Law Library. My great lament is I squandered the flower of my middle age in the law library, and still had not enough time to “digest” all that CFR stuff.

    Another unfortunate aspect of this non-publishing effort is not merely a subtle contrivance “keep the public in the dark,” being the tyrant’s best tool and weapon, but also the overwhelming increase and constant revision of “rules & regs” of every executive administrative office of the U.S. Gov’t, and they have all kinds of them, by the scores; and the same is for State agencies, too. Thousands of pages of proposals published every day, day after day, in small print. Nobody I know has that much time nor the proper kind of “interest,” not even me.

    Yet because they “publish” it, it is presumed by them that we have considered it, and decided to make little or no comment, thus providing approval. Then by our unwitting acquiescence we are determined by them to be held to that regulatory agency’s particular standard of conduct, and willing to endure the potential punitives; our later objections of lack of knowledge, obscureness, or inaccessibility, will be summarily tossed out. And do we get angry, or what.

    Even if we did “comment,” the Exec will do what all bureaucratic agencies do: They have hearings, take testimony, and then – – do as they stinking well please, regardless of the logic, facts, and objections presented by the “commenters.” Somewhere, the decision had been made “pursuant to law” we never heard of and would repeal if told about it.

    So why fret about this Federal Government, and soon all State Government, withdrawal into the darkness of bureaucratic obscurity, when it does us no good to complain? They don’t care what we think: they long ago shifted all “responsive government” into their corner, turned out the lights, and now they shut the door. We are not even in the room.

    But there’s hope: if they don’t inform us of all their bureaucratic machinations, how are we to know what to do or not do? Would a “defense” of “inability to comply” do any good? Because of this un-published and thus inaccessible administrative jive? Maybe so.

    HINT: DO NOT use anyone’s online or printed “form” to object to this or anything like it. Instead, you should look at the “issues” and form an opinion of your own, then send them your own email or letter in objection. The professional lobbyist pros are wise in getting elected and appointed official’s attention. They say it is in the individual contacts, by letter or whatever, not mass email forms, that obtain the greatest influence. Forms simply suggest ignorance and emotional knee-jerking. Know the topic well enough to make articulate commentary, and speak for yourself. (Maybe the form can be revised by the reader, and sent separately. Who knows).

  2. Adelaide bordeaux

    i use CFR all the time for my child support case. i need to have access to it.

  3. Michael R. Lennie, Esq.

    Please retain the Federal Register and CFR in print form. To discontinue these crucial publications in print will dramatically reduce the number of current readers, which will in turn make our government less transparent and our citizens less informed. Is this the direction in which we want to head? Several states post the ending of federal oversight for a number of states re compliance with the Voting Rights Act, we have fewer voters registered to vote. This Act will be complimentary assuring that many of those still enfranchised will be uninformed.

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