Washington, D.C. - American Library Association (ALA) Past President Sari Feldman presented U.S. Senator Jon Tester (Montana) with the 2017 James Madison Award today during a ceremony streamed live from the Newseum’s Knight TV Studio in Washington, D.C. The award honors organizations or individuals who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know how it functions.
"In an age of information overload and inaccuracy, librarians around the country are keenly aware of the critical role they play in supporting information access and literacy," said Feldman. "Senator Tester has not only protected but strengthened access to information by introducing legislation that brings it online to the public."
Montana State Librarian Jennie Stapp said, "Librarians in Montana and around the country believe that public access to information is an essential element of our democracy, and Senator Tester’s track record demonstrates that he shares this core value. We at the Montana State Library are deeply honored that he is receiving this well-deserved recognition from the American Library Association."
Since coming to office in 2008 Senator Tester has led congressional efforts to bring transparency to government and improve the public’s access to information. The Public Online Information Act, introduced in November of 2016, is in the process of being reintroduced in the 115th Congress. The bill requires executive branch agencies to publish all publicly available information on the Internet in a timely fashion and creates an advisory committee to help develop government-wide Internet publication policies. In two months that the 115th Congress has been in session, Senator Tester has already introduced three campaign finance reform bills to increase government accountability.
"Montanans know how important it is that we have a transparent and open government," Tester said. "I am honored to receive this award and will keep fighting for more sunshine so we can ensure taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly, and hold elected leaders accountable to make sure they are working for the people of Montana and all Americans."
Senator Tester joins a distinguished group of 28 past Madison Award winners, who include former Vice President Al Gore, Senators Russ Feingold and John Cornyn, philanthropist George Soros and journalist Nina Totenberg.
Learn more about the James Madison Award.
ALA Washington Office