Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act signed into law in Illinois

August 27 UPDATE: Governor Quinn signed UELMA into law yesterday, as Public Act 98-1097. This makes Illinois the 11th state to enact UELMA.

May 30 UPDATE: The Senate unanimously voted to approve the House floor amendment, so SB 1941 has now passed both houses and will be sent to the Governor.

On Friday, May 16, the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives. The bill (SB 1941), which was unanimously passed by the Senate in March, provides a technology-neutral approach to ensuring that online Illinois state legal material deemed official will be preserved and will be permanently available to the public in unaltered form. Currently, many Illinois legal materials, including the state code, are neither official, nor authenticated. Indeed, the version of the Illinois Compiled Statutes published on the Illinois General Assembly website bears the disclaimer: “The provisions have NOT been edited for publication, and are NOT in any sense the ‘official’ text of the Illinois Compiled Statutes as enacted into law. The accuracy of any specific provision originating from this site cannot be assured, and you are urged to consult the official documents or contact legal counsel of your choice. This site should not be cited as an official or authoritative source.” (emphasis in original). If passed, UELMA will require that Illinois primary legal materials are deemed official and that mechanisms are put in place to ensure that they have not been tampered with or altered accidentally.

A technical amendment to the bill was made in the House, so it will be returned to the Senate for concurrence with the House amendment. The hope is that the bill will be approved by the Senate before they adjourn within the next two weeks. Once the bill is signed by the Governor, Illinois will become the tenth state to pass UELMA, joining California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon. The bill’s progress can be tracked via the Illinois General Assembly website, and more information about UELMA is available on the American Association of Law Libraries Government Relations website and on the Uniform Law Commission website.

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