Political Advocacy (fwd)

Scott Miller scottm at BISHOP.BISHOP.HAWAII.ORG
Thu Mar 17 14:32:24 CST 1994

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 1994 15:01:42 -0500
From: "Michael J. Roark" <mroark at CAP.GWU.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list MUSEUM-L
 <MUSEUM-L%UNMVMA.BITNET at ARIZVM1.ccit.arizona.edu>
Subject: Political Advocacy

AAM has launched a major effort to ensure that the needs of museums are
addressed as Congress writes the ground rules for the "data superhighway"
of the near future.  We are asking for the help of Museum-L subscribers
because you are the vanguard of museum computer networking.

Vice President Gore has proposed changing the telecommunication laws to
allow more competition in these emerging markets.  In exchange, he has
asked that every school, library, hospital and clinic be directly
connected to the highway by the year 2000 -- he did not include museums.  He
has challenged Congress to pass telecommunications legislation by the end
of the year, and House and Senate committees are addressing these issues
right now.  We need your help during the next couple of weeks.

AAM is fighting for three goals, and we hope you will work for them as well.
(We also welcome your suggestions of additional needs we should
investigate.)  First, we believe that museums should hook up to the
highway on the same schedule as libraries and schools.  The current
legislative proposals offer some grants, but do not require the connecting
of museums, as they do libraries, schools and hospitals.

Second, once museums are connected, industry should help them stay
involved through a rate structure that recognizes their nonprofit mission
and unique educational role.  The current legislation offers nonprofit
rates only to those institutions for which connections are mandated --
not museums.

Third, and most difficult, AAM is pushing for support that will enable
museums to be more than just consumers of information on the highways.
Industry officials have promised that the data highway will have a nearly
infinite broadcast capacity.  If that is true, there will be ample
opportunity for museums to become producers of informational programming.
We believe there should be some mechanism for channeling resources to
educational nonprofits to enrich available programming.  That could come
in the form of subsidies or a reservation of a percent of the broadcast
capacity for public uses.  Current legislation suggests an "appropriate
capacity" be reserved, but does not describe what that means.  As of yet,
no programming fund has been established.

The House and Senate committees are making some of these decisions over
the next handful of weeks..  A letter from you to your members of Congress
-- both House and Senate -- could make a large difference in the direction of
this legislation.  When you do contact your representatives, we would
appreciated copies of the letters.

AAM is writing letters and planning Hill visits, but without grassroots
support, our strength is severely diminished.

Thanks.  And please, respond with any comments you might have -- either to
me or the whole list.

P.S.  Remember the NTIA technology grant applications are due by May 12,
1994.  Contact Dr. Charles Rush, Acting Director of the Office of
Telecommunications and Information Applications at phone 202-482-2048,
e-mail tiiap at ntia.doc.gov.

Michael Roark
American Association of Museums, Government and Public Affairs
Phone 202 289-9125 in Washington, DC

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