The Maryland Legislative Session ended at midnight last night and Maryland librarians can be happy with the outcome. There were two bills in the 2017 Legislative Session of special interest to libraries. Both bills passed both houses unanimously and are on the way to becoming law.
Under the current or soon to be previous law, libraries were a part of the Maryland Department of Education with K through 12. Now there will be a separate, independent agency on the same level as the Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education. Maryland will now have a State Library Agency headed by the State Librarian with a State Library Board made up of citizens appointed by the Governor. This way there will be an agency devoted solely to the issues of libraries that will ensure that funding intended for libraries is used for libraries.
The LLAM (Law Library Association of Maryland) information sheet states: The Maryland Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act (UELMA) provides online legal material with the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by publication in a law book. It is the People’s insurance policy that official electronic legal materials are 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. This means that if a publisher of Maryland legal material such as the code, regulations or case law would cease to be published in print, the publication would become official and would have to be authenticated, preserved and accessible. As long as the print exists, the provisions will not be activated. However, if and when the time comes, Maryland is ready to make sure that this important information is still available.