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H.R. 1164: Electronic Court Records Reform Act of 2019

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 13, 2019 (Introduced).


I

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1164

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 13, 2019

(for himself, Mr. Quigley, Mr. David P. Roe of Tennessee, and Mr. Johnson of Georgia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To direct the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to consolidate the Case Management/Electronic Case Files system, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Electronic Court Records Reform Act of 2019.

2.

Consolidation of the Case Management/Electronic Case Files system

(a)

In general

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, in coordination with the Administrator of General Services, shall consolidate the Case Management/Electronic Case Files system, and shall develop one system for all filings with courts of the United States, which shall be administered by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

(b)

Use of technology

In developing the system under subsection (a), the Director shall use modern technology in order—

(1)

to improve security, data accessibility, affordability, and performance; and

(2)

to minimize the burden on pro se litigants.

(c)

Availability to States

(1)

In general

A State may choose to participate in the system developed under this section.

(2)

Fee

The Director shall charge a fee to a State that chooses to participate in the system, which is set at a level to recover the cost of providing the services associated with the administration and maintenance of the system to the State.

3.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records system requirements

(a)

In general

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, in coordination with the Administrator of General Services, shall update the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, which shall be subject to the following requirements:

(1)

A document filed with a court shall be made publicly accessible upon filing, except as ordered by a court or by rule of the Judicial Conference.

(2)

All documents on the system shall be available to the public and to parties before the court free of charge.

(3)

Any information that is prohibited from public disclosure by law or court order shall be redacted.

(4)

All documents shall be text-searchable and machine-readable.

(5)

To the extent practicable, external websites shall be able to link to documents on the system.

(6)

The system shall include digital audio and visual files of court recordings, when such files are available.

(7)

The system shall provide search functions for public use.

(b)

Minimizing the burden on pro se litigants

In developing the system to comply with the requirements under subsection (a), the Director shall, to the extent practicable, not impose a disproportionate impact on pro se litigants.

(c)

Use of technology

In developing the system under subsection (a), the Director shall use modern technology in order—

(1)

to improve security, data accessibility, affordability, and performance; and

(2)

to minimize the burden on pro se litigants.

(d)

Authority To exempt certain documents

The Director may identify categories of documents which are not made publicly accessible under subsection (a)(1), and categories of court proceedings, the recordings of which are not made available under subsection (a)(6).

4.

Definition of machine-readable

In this Act, the term machine-readable means a format in which information or data can be easily processed by a computer without human intervention while ensuring no semantic meaning is lost.