I think that PAHR–Preserving the American Historical Record, a bill to provide federal formula grants to every state for projects that preserve historical records and make them more accessible–is without doubt one of the most important efforts the American archival profession has undertaken perhaps in its entire history. If the bill is passed, it will bring funding and jobs to archives in every state for years to come.
That’s why I am thrilled to be able to share this news from PAHR’s champion, Kathleen Roe:
We have 53 sponsors now in the House, thanks to some more hard work by my New York colleagues, particularly on Long Island, who brought in three more sponsors, and efforts from California which has brought in 3 sponsors, and one more from Nevada, bringing us to 53.
And there’s more. Thanks to wonderful efforts from Sandra Clark and Mark Harvey from the Michigan History Center, and great letters from several Michigan colleagues (Frank Boles, Mike Smith, Fran Blouin and others), Senator Carl Levin has agreed to co-lead the bill with Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. Levin is on the Homeland Security committee, which will consider the bill first, and as a very respected member of the Senate, as is Hatch, we have really strong sponsors. So we will soon be ramping up our efforts in the Senate–stay tuned on that for the specifics.
Finally, David Carmicheal from the Georgia Archives and I will be meeting with the House and Senate sponsors staff in early February, and with staff from the relevant committees to discuss moving the bill.
This is another important benchmark in the progress–there is more to do, and we will need some very strong PAHR support and action in the coming months, but we have reached a very important point in the process. Thanks to you for all your help with PAHR, and for “getting” that this takes action, not talk. More soon–but that’s the basics for now. YES WE CAN!
It’s great news that PAHR is still alive and stronger than ever-thanks to the tremendous work of those Kathleen mentions, and of course Kathleen herself and all the others who have worked for so long to make this a reality. We’re not at the finish line yet, but this progress shows that archival and history communities can roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of getting legislation passed. This is a real example of “archives power” in action!