November 26, 2020

Report from Congressional Hearing on ‘Let Me Google That for You’ Bill

UPDATE: A video recording of the hearing is available from the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

This article below reports on a hearing held yesterday about “Let Me Google That for You Act” (S. 2206). The bill was introduced on April 3, 2014.
Note: We also suggest reviewing this FreeGovInfo analysis/commentary from shortly after the bill was introduced.

From the National Journal:

A little-known branch of the Commerce Department faces elimination, thanks to advances in technology and a snarkily named bill from Sens. Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill.

The National Technical Information Service compiles federal reports, serving as a clearinghouse for the government’s scientific, technical, and business documents. The NTIS then sells copies of the documents to other agencies and the public upon request. It’s done so since 1950.

But Coburn and McCaskill say it’s hard to justify 150 employees and $66 million in taxpayer dollars when almost all of those documents are now available online for free.

[Clip]

“Our goal is to eliminate you as an agency,” the famously grumpy Coburn told NTIS Director Bruce Borzino at a Wednesday hearing. Pulling no punches, Coburn suggested that any NTIS documents not already available to the public be put “in a small closet in the Department of Commerce.”

Borzino countered that his agency still serves an important purpose. “As the amount of data generated by the federal government grows, so does the challenge of ensuring its continued access and permanent availability,” he testified. “This is a function unique to NTIS.”

Read the Complete Article

See Also: HEARING: A More Efficient and Effective Government: The National Technical Information Service
Several primary documents including prepared testimony are included on the hearing info page.

See Also: ‘Our goal is to eliminate you as an agency’ (via FCW)

See Also: Track the Bill via GovTrack.Us.

Note: Along with Senator Coburn and Senator McCaskill four other Senators are listed as co-sponsors:

  • Fischer, Deb [R-NE]
    (joined May 12, 2014)
  • Flake, Jeff [R-AZ]
    (joined May 12, 2014)
  • Walsh, John [D-MT]
    (joined Jun 23, 2014)
  • Johnson, Ron [R-WI]
    (joined Jul 08, 2014)

GovTrack.us gives the bill this prognosis:

6% chance of getting past committee.
1% chance of being enacted.
Only 11% of bills made it past committee and only about 3% were enacted in 2011–2013

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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