Utah Legislature Enacts UELMA
By Melissa J. Bernstein.
As more primary legal material is published online, and in many cases solely online, it is vital that states take steps to ensure the accuracy and continued availability of those sources. In an attempt to address issues relating to the online publication of primary legal sources, the Uniform Law Commission approved the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) in July 2011. The UELMA establishes an outcomes-based, technology-neutral framework for providing online legal material with the same level of trustworthiness traditionally provided by publication in a law book. [UELMA] requires that official electronic legal material be: (1) authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered; (2) preserved, either in electronic or print form; and (3) accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.1
During the 2018 General Session of the Utah Legislature, the Utah Legislature adopted the UELMA.2 Sponsored by Senator Lyle Hillyard and by Representative Lowry Snow, the UELMA applies to all "legal material" in electronic format that are designated as official. "Legal material" is defined to include the Utah Constitution, the Laws of Utah, the Utah Code, the Utah Administrative Code, and the Utah State Bulletin. For material covered by UELMA, items must be: (1) authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered; (2) preserved, either in electronic or print form; and (3) accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis. The UELMA applies to legal material first published electronically on or after January 1, 2019.
Currently, only two publications in Utah will be immediately impacted by the UELMA: the Utah Administrative Code and the Utah State Bulletin. The online versions of these publications have been designated as the official versions. The UELMA requires that these publications be (1) authenticated, (2) preserved, and (3) permanently accessible. Both the Administrative Code and the State Bulletin are already authenticated in the form of MD5 hash...