Presentation on theme: "New Legislation: How Do Recently Enacted Statutes Apply to Your Library? Marti A. Minor, J.D., M.L.I.S. September 2014."— Presentation transcript:
New Legislation: How Do Recently Enacted Statutes Apply to Your Library? Marti A. Minor, J.D., M.L.I.S. September 2014
Disclaimer These materials are provided as general information only. No legal advice is being given by the Georgia Public Library Service, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, or any other person. You should consult with your attorney on all legal matters.
A BASIC CIVICS LESSON Three Branches of Government
Legislature Georgia’s General Assembly in session January – March Bills are drafted in committee, amended, re-drafted, then submitted for vote. When new laws are enacted or existing laws are updated or amended, effective date is usually July 1.
Executive Law Enforcement ◦ Governor ◦ Attorney General
Judiciary Interpretation of the laws ◦ Judicial opinion explain how a particular law applies to a specific set of facts. ◦ Even when facts are not on “all fours,” the opinion often contains clues to how a law will be interpreted in other situations
How Does the Law Apply to You? Fortune Telling ◦ How will the executive branch enforce the law? ◦ What interpretation will the judicial branch give to the law? Mind Reading ◦ What was the legislature’s intent in passing the law?
Safe Carry Protection Act “A license holder shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building when the government building is open for business and where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel.”
What policy (if any) should a library adopt to address the gun law? Should there be a written policy addressing guns? ◦ Goals? Maintain gun-free zone in public library ◦ Benefits? Increased safety ◦ Risks? Legal action by Georgia Carry
Risk: Lawsuit GeorgiaCarry.org: a non-profit organization dedicated to advocating for gun rights with a lengthy history of litigation ◦ Has sued the State of Georgia, counties, municipalities, judges, MARTA ◦ Most recently sued the Army Corps of Engineers because of the weapons prohibition at Lake Allatoona
Costs if Library is GaCarry Target In the majority of cases brought by GeorgiaCarry.org, the governmental entity lost ◦ Required to change gun ban ◦ And footed the bill for GaCarry (atty fees, court costs, etc.) These cases are all PRE-Safe Carry Protection Act that became effective 7/14 ◦ The risk is greater now
What is happening in other states? Guns allowed in public libraries in 29 states Michigan ◦ Library sued Michigan Open Carry for violating library policy of gun-free zone. ◦ Library lost
Capital Area Dist. Library v. Michigan Open Carry, Inc. “Our job is not to determine who has the better moral argument regarding when and where it is appropriate to carry guns. Instead, we are obligated to interpret and apply the law, regardless of whether we personally like the outcome.”
Other States (cont’d) Kansas ◦ 2013 law allowing licensed gun owners to carry guns in public buildings without metal detectors or security guards—ended gun-free status for public libraries. Illinois ◦ Only state law to specify public libraries as “gun-free zones.”
PROHIBITING GEORGIA GOVERNMENT SUPPORT OF THE ACA Georgia Health Care Freedom Act
Language of the Statute: What does this mean???? No state governmental unit (includes public libraries) “shall expend or use money, human resources, or assets to advocate or intended to influence the citizens of this State in support of the voluntary expansion by the State of Georgia of eligibility for medical assistance in furtherance of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
Unanswered Questions May directors meet with navigators? May the library be used by navigators? What limitations does the law put on use of library computers in accessing Healthcare.gov?
More statutory language--exception “Nothing in this code section shall be construed to prevent [a governmental employee] from advocating or attempting to influence public policy:... (3) When providing bona fide educational instruction about the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in institutions of higher learning or otherwise.”
How will your library respond? Goals? ◦ Inform the public Benefits? ◦ Meet community needs by making information available—a fundamental purpose of public libraries Risks? ◦ Enforcement is by the Attorney General ◦ No penalty contained in the Act
Step by Step 1. What does the law say? 2. What is the library’s goal vis-à-vis the law at issue? 3. What are the benefits to pursuing the library’s goal? 4. What are the risks? 5. What is the right balance?
Additional Topics in Written Text E-cigarettes in libraries Institutional patrons Photographs/video of patrons (children) Open Meetings Laws application to Friends Groups Open Records—requests for electronic data