Ohio Task Force on Law Library Associations

Ohio Task Force on Law Library Associations by David Whelan David Whelan The Ohio General Assembly created a Task Force on Law Library Associations as part of the sausage grinding known as the biennial budget bill. I have been appointed by the Ohio Judicial Conference to the task force as one of the 2 law librarian representatives on the 13 person group. The Conference has named 2 judges as well, and the Ohio State Bar Association and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio are each naming three representatives. We are charged with looking at the funding and organization of county law libraries, to make recommendations by fall 2006.
The 2005-2006 Ohio state biennial budget bill cuts local government funding to public libraries.  But it also alters statutes regarding the funding of law libraries.  Unlike public libraries, Ohio county law libraries don’t receive tax money directly.  Instead, county law libraries are funded by traffic fine receipts in their county and the county’s financial support for up to 3 staff and physical space.  The revised statutes will remove this financial support beginning in 2007.  The Task Force will hopefully offer some solutions to the real financial difficulties this will cause many of Ohio’s county law libraries, who have seen steady declines in traffic fine revenue over recent years.

You can see the full text of enrolled version of House Bill 66 at the General Assembly’s Web site, in two parts because of its length.  The statutory changes are in the first part  and the task force is created in the second part.  The language creating the Task Force is uncodified, but is as follows:

SECTION 503.06. (A) There is hereby created the Task Force on Law Library Associations, consisting of thirteen members. The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member of the House of Representatives to the Task Force. The President and Minority Leader of the Senate shall each appoint one member of the Senate to the Task Force. The Ohio Judicial Conference shall appoint three members to the Task Force, two of whom shall be judges who are members of the Conference and one of whom shall be a law librarian associated with a law library association. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio shall appoint three members to the Task Force. The Ohio State Bar Association shall appoint three members to the Task Force, two of whom shall be attorneys licensed to practice law in this state and one of whom shall be a law librarian associated with a law library association. Appointments to the Task Force shall be made by September 1, 2005. Vacancies on the Task Force shall be filled in the manner provided for original appointments.

(B)(1) The Task Force shall do each of the following:

(a) Gather information on and study the current state of the law library associations in this state covered by sections 3375.48 to 3375.56 of the Revised Code, with particular emphasis on the structure, funding, and administration of their law libraries, and on the effect of technology on, and access to, their law libraries;

(b) Make recommendations on the structure, funding, and administration of these law libraries presently and over the next five calendar years;

(c) Make recommendations as to how to ensure that these law libraries remain open and may be made available to members of the public.

(2) The Task Force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the President and Minority Leader of the Senate, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by October 31, 2006. Upon submission of its report, the Task Force shall cease to exist.

(C) Sections 101.82 to 101.87 of the Revised Code do not apply to the Task Force.

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