New Maryland laws take effect on October 1, 2017! We will be publishing a series of posts highlighting a few of the newly enacted laws. This series is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2017 Legislative Session. To read about more laws resulting from the 2017 session, see the 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2017 Session published by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland. For a full listing of new laws effective October 1, 2017, check out this publication from DLS.
UELMA (HB165\CH553 and SB137\CH554) is the Maryland Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act. Librarians have been supporting this legislation in Maryland for three years and are excited that the third time was the charm. Maryland is now one of 17 states, including Washington, D.C., that have adopted UELMA.
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 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.
UELMA is a product of The Uniform Law Commission (ULC, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws) that was established in 1892 and provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.
As more and more legal materials are becoming digital, it is important that we are ready so that Maryland’s legal materials are preserved, accessible whether current or from years ago, and authentic. (It is easy to tell if a volume of the code is authentic but not so apparent when you look at something online. If you look at the Government Printing Office’s United States Code online you will see a little authentication symbol telling you that the record has been checked and it is the correct document.) Right now Maryland’s legal materials are readily available in print, assuring authentication, preservation and accessibility. Should any of these materials convert to digital only, Maryland is prepared.
To find out more about UELMA please read these publications available from the American Association of Law Libraries: