Montana and South Dakota have joined the growing list of states with laws regarding the use of permanent paper for important documents or material of lasting value. Montana House Joint Resolution No. 22 was passed by the 52nd Legislature. It resolves that the State Library and Montana Legislative Council work together to produce guidelines for the use of acid-free paper for state documents, and to make recommendations on the use of acid-free paper by all agencies of state government. [By not referring to a formal standard, which can be updated as papermaking practices change, the law may be weakening its effect. -Ed.] The South Dakota law is very short:
SENATE BILL NO. 209
An Act to require the use of acid-free, alkaline-based or permanent type paper in certain state publications.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
[Section 1.] Any state agency publishing a document meant to be a permanent public record shall have the document printed on acid-free, alkaline-based or permanent type paper that conforms to the American national standards for permanent paper for printed library materials (ANSI Z 3948). Use of such permanent type paper shall be appropriately noted in the publication.
Section 2. The state archivist shall, pursuant to chapter 1-26, promulgate rules to identify the permanent public records subject to section 1 of this Act and to specify how the notice provided for in this Act shall be displayed.
Other states for which lags are on file at the Abbey Publications office are: AZ, CO, CT, IN, MA, NC, NE and VA. Florida is also said to have passed a permanent paper law. The Commission m Preservation and Access, which has begun to keep track of this issue, lists nine other states which have passed or are considering legislation an the use of permanent paper: DE, KY, MN, MO, NY, RI, SC, UT and VT.
It is important for these laws to be passed. Not only will they extend the life of government records and publications significantly, and set a good example and precedent for the private sector, but they are needed to authorize the purchase of longer-lasting paper in the 43 states that now require the purchase of recycled paper for the same uses. Recycled paper can also be permanent, but it also is likely to contain groundwood and to have other characteristics that accelerate deterioration. Long life and recycled content should therefore be specified together.