Six states have recently introduced legislation to address the reliability of online primary legal materials deemed official. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Tennessee are all considering enacting the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA).
UELMA requires that official electronic legal material be:
- Authenticated, by providing the user with a method to determine that the material has not been altered;
- Preserved, either in electronic or print form; and
- Accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.
UELMA specifically covers four categories of state primary legal materials:
- session laws
- codified laws
- agency regulations which have the effect of law
The Act provides the states with the discretion to include other publications.
The Uniform Law Commission drafted UELMA in a process ending with the Commission’s approval in November 2011. The American Bar Association House of Delegates gave its approval via resolution in February of 2012, and several states introduced UELMA legislation shortly thereafter.
See also the UELMA FAQ posted by the American Association of Law Libraries.