Reminder – Amazon Prime Day – July 16th

Amazon’s Prime Day is almost here.  Deals start July 16, 3pm ET and run through July 17.  Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping events of the year on Amazon.  If you plan to do your shopping, we want to remind you that you can support the Alameda County Law Library by using smile.amazon.com.  Amazon will donate to Alameda County Law Library.

Your shopping makes a difference. Amazon donates to Alameda County Law Library when you shop Prime Day deals at smile.amazon.com.

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Persistent Advocacy Yields Great Results for California Public Law Libraries

From Mark Estes, Director, Alameda County Law Library

Persistent Advocacy Yields Great Results for California Public Law Libraries

After several years of intensive advocacy on behalf of Californians desperately in need of legal support and resources, Alameda County Law Library and the Council of California County Law Librarians (CCCLL) are thrilled to report that the California Legislature included a supplemental funding allocation of $16.5 million for California County Law Libraries in the 2018/19 state budget. The Governor signed off on the budget, including the supplemental allocation for County Law Libraries, on June 27.

The need in California is tremendous, if not overwhelming.  The additional $16.5 million in funds will ensure that Californians retain access to legal information — and therefore access to justice.  County Law Libraries that were on the brink of closure will now be able to remain open and all California County Law Libraries will continue to serve the general public, particularly those who cannot afford counsel but find themselves facing legal challenges.  These new funds will allow the libraries to serve vulnerable populations and rural communities, address disaster preparedness and response and provide service for non-English speakers, especially in areas of immigration, workforce-reentry and housing.  In these and many other areas, Californians desperately need help.

Every day, people feel frustrated, helpless, ignored and unable to assert their rights because of their lack of financial resources and legal representation.  Every day, California County Law Libraries serve single parents trying to provide for their children, widows struggling to maintain their homes, disadvantaged but determined individuals trying to start their own businesses, distressed parents fighting for custody of their children, modest means individuals trying desperately to care for elderly parents and grandparents, those barred from gainful employment because they don’t know how to get criminal records cleared, tenants living in deplorable conditions, victims of notario fraud, DACA children terrified that their families are going to be torn apart and victims of domestic violence and workplace harassment seeking restraining orders.

CCCLL submitted the request for ongoing, stabilized funding of County Law Libraries to preserve access to information and access to justice for these individuals.  Funding from the State was critically needed because the civil filing fee revenue that County Law Libraries depend on had dropped by nearly 40% (or $16.5 million) since 2009.  Until this allocation, County Law Libraries had not received any general fund or special fund appropriations from the State.  Over 90% of County Law Library funding came from a small portion of civil filing fees (ranging from $2 to $50 per case, depending on the county and type of case) which fluctuated unpredictably.  In the past 9 years, a decrease in the number of case filings combined with an increase in the number of fee waivers granted, changes to jurisdictional limits and new exemptions adopted into law, caused law library revenue to drop precipitously.  California County Law Libraries asked each year for supplemental funding in the state’s budget to salvage this critical component of access to justice in California but, until now, did not receive any allocation whatsoever.

This year, the Legislature, recognizing that without County Law Libraries, most people have no access to legal information and therefore no access to justice, took decisive action to protect this critical public resource and the Governor ratified the action by signing the budget.

CCCLL is profoundly grateful to the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees, the Latino Caucus, the 30+ individual legislators who wrote on behalf of County Law Libraries and access to justice, each of the California chapters of AALL (SCALL,  NOCALL and SANDALL) who wrote to voice support, and the many other individuals and elected officials who helped make this happen.

As the access to justice gap continues to widen, the need for County Law Library resources and services will only increase.  An estimated 70-80% of library users are not legal professionals, but rather individuals trying to understand their rights, navigate the complex judicial system, start a new business or transfer property.  The assistance they receive at their county law library is more than can be found in a book or legal database; it is personal assistance, legal research classes for non-lawyers, hands-on workshops, free consultations with lawyers and a safe, friendly, helpful place to ask questions and find help.  They may enter the library feeling alienated, stressed or even hostile towards their government, but the support they find at their County Law Library helps them feel that they too can obtain justice.  CCCLL will continue to advocate for ongoing funding so that Californians can continue to receive legal assistance and support.

 

 

Hot Topic Briefing: Family Separation And Family Detention At The Border

Tomorrow  – MCLE at ACLL

TOMORROW Wednesday, June 27 at 10:00 am, the Alameda County Law Library will be hosting a webcast of PLI’s program – Family Separation and Family Detention at the Border in Conference Room #8 at 125 12th Street, Oakland.  MCLE Participatory credit of 1 hour is available for this program.

Family Separation and Family Detention at the Border

Faculty:
Katie Annand, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Bree Bernwanger, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area
Laura P. Lunn, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

To allow us to have the correct number of handouts available, please register at ACLL’s Eventbrite page –  https://tinyurl.com/y82yj5gw

Summary of topic –

In the past several weeks, the administration has escalated its efforts to detain, deport, and deter asylum seekers, particularly those from Central America. The administration has used a “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting misdemeanor border crossings to justify the separation of thousands of immigrant and refugee children from their parents, though it also separates many families outside of the prosecution context. As resistance to the en masse separation of newly arrived immigrant families mounted, President Trump issued an Executive Order to expand detention capacity for immigrant families. The Order directs administration officials to swiftly construct new family detention facilities as well as use existing Department of Defense facilities to detain immigrant families, and it seeks reversal of a longstanding court settlement that sets standards for the detention conditions of immigrant children. The Order does not direct administration officials to stop separating immigrant families. In addition, through a rarely used procedural mechanism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a precedential case that had offered a clear path to asylum for many survivors of domestic and familial violence

 

For more information on registering directly with PLI  HERE

California Already Has Its State Dinosaur

California already has its state dinosaur.  Help California county public law libraries avoid becoming the next generation of government dinosaurs.

Stephanie Abromowicz / Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

As of January 1, 2018, California designated an official state dinosaur – the Augustynolophus morrisi.  (Government Code Section 425.7(a))  And unless the state re-thinks how it is going to fund county public law libraries, it may have a lot more “official” dinosaurs all across the state.  2018 is turning out to be an important year for action in Sacramento for a real dinosaur and other don’t-want-to-be extinct historic government institutions.

Short story.

The California State Senate Budget Subcommittee has just moved forward with the county law libraries’ 2018 request for an appropriation.  A giant step down the budget process road.

The California State Senate Budget Subcommittee has just moved forward with the county law libraries’ 2018 request for an appropriation to try to help balance the revenue shortfalls from the past years.  The current need for library funding is dire, as civil filing fee revenue – the legislatively and historically established method for supporting county law library – has dropped 40% since 2009.   Publishing costs have risen over the same time frame.  Libraries are being squeezed.

We can use your voice.  Now.

Please consider letting Governor Brown and other elected officials know how much you support adequate funding for Alameda County Law Library and other state public law libraries.

Here is a sample letter.  Dear Governor Brown

Here is information on how to deliver your letters of support:

Due to the time sensitive nature of this request, we recommend fax.  Please send your letters to the Governor and any of the other people or entities at the fax numbers below.  If over the next few days, you drop your letters of support off at the Reference Desk, we will fax them for you.

Governor Brown – 916-558-3160

Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee – 916-668-7004

Holly Mitchell, Chair  – 916-651-4930    Jim Nielsen, Vice Chair – 916-651-4904

Assembly Budget Committee 916-319-2199

Philip Ting, Chair 916-319-2119     Jay Obernolte, Vice Chair 916-319-2133

 Assembly Budget Subcommittee 5

Shirley Weber, Chair 916-319-2179    Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer 916-319-2159    Tom Lackey 916-319-2136    Melissa Melendez 916-319-2167    Mark Stone 916-319-2129

If you do not have access to a fax, you may send emails to the following addresses.  Note, however, that the recipients will not receive attachments, so place your text within the email itself.  Also, from what we know, there is a long delay in such emails actually being read, which is why we are recommending fax instead.

 Gov. Brown

governor@governor.ca.gov

(or send a message here: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/)

 Senate member emails use the following format:

Senator.[Lastname]@senate.ca.gov 

(ex. Senator.Portantino@senate.ca.gov)

 Assembly member emails use the following format:

Assemblymember.[Lastname]@assembly.ca.gov 

(ex. Assemblymember.Cunningham@assembly.ca.gov

Long story.

Funding for county law libraries has been tentative for many years now.  We in California can no longer consider filing fees a workable funding method to sustain this important service.  Branches have already closed and others may close soon without further support.  California county law libraries are public libraries.  These public libraries provide legal information assistance to under-served, under-represented, and vulnerable populations.  County law libraries are in danger of becoming extinct, especially in rural communities, without sufficient appropriation in the state’s budget.  The demand for legal information services by self-represented individuals has never been greater, and county law libraries remain one of the few, if only, places where these individuals can get free help navigating the legal system.  The need for permanent state funding of county law libraries could not be more critical.

In Alameda County, over 50% of litigants appearing in Family Court and 25% involved in Civil Litigation represent themselves.  Many of these individuals rely entirely on the Law Library to research the law, draft legal forms, and prepare for court. County law libraries offer the general public free access to high-quality legal research materials, expert law librarians, and a variety of law-related clinics and workshops. The need for county law libraries has never been greater.

The Alameda County Law Library can no longer rely exclusively on court filing fees to adequately meet expenses, and must seek alternative sources of funding to sustain essential collections and services.

The Alameda County Law Library empowers Bay Area residents by providing them with the tools needed to successfully participate in the legal system. PLEASE ACT NOW to ensure the Law Library receives adequate funding to sustain operations by including a $16.5 million appropriation for California county law libraries in the State Budget, and establishing a Task Force to develop a sustainable funding model for California’s county law libraries.

How the budget process works.

The budget process for California defies a simple concise definition.  It is a process rather than a product. It is not the development of the Governor’s Budget, the Legislature’s enactment of a budget nor the executive branch’s administration of the budget.  Rather, it is the combination of all of these phases with all the ramifications and influences of political interactions, relationships with federal and local governments, public input, natural events, legal issues, the economy, initiatives and legislation, etc.

Here is an official, simplified description:

Late May – June 15  (Hence, the “NOW” above.)

The budget committee of each house considers the subcommittees’ reports and sends a revised budget bill to the floor for evaluation by the full body.  Each house discusses and then votes on its version of the budget bill.  The differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of the budget bill are worked out in a conference committee made up of three members from each house.  Upon completion of its review, the conference committee submits a single version of the budget bill to both houses.  The Senate and Assembly each vote on this final version before it is sent to the Governor.

The houses also vote on trailer bills if statutory changes are necessary to implement provisions of the budget bill.

 

Thank you for your support from the California county public law libraries who are trying to extricate themselves from the California tar pits of under-funding.

 

Mother’s Day 2018 – AmazonSmile

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 13.  We know how wonderful our supporters are, so we are sure they will be shopping for nice gifts for the moms in their lives.

If you do your shopping on Amazon at smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate to Alameda County Law Library.

A nice gift for Mom, good feelings for yourself, and an effortless contribution to ACLL — great pick-me-ups for all.

Thank you.