Legislative Update

This update is from Elaine Keefe, MLA/MEMO Library Legislative Lobbyist

Data Privacy:  Under current law, records linking public library users to library materials they have searched for or borrowed that are owned by the library are private. HF 695, our bill extending the same protection to electronic data owned by a private vendor and licensed by a public library (e.g., e-books) was introduced last Monday by Rep. Steve Simon (DFL – Hopkins), chair of the House Data Practices Subcommittee.  The companion bill, SF 745, will be introduced on Monday, February 25 by Senator Kari Dzeidzic (DFL – Minneapolis).  Senator Ron Latz (DFL – St. Louis Park), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a co-author.

Homework Help:  Our bill to fund a statewide contract to make a free online homework help service available statewide will be introduced as SF 781 on Monday, February 25.  The chief author is Senator John Hoffman (DFL – Champlin). Co-authors are Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL – Spring Lake Park), Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer), Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL – Owatonna) and Sen. Carla Nelson (R – Rochester).  The House version will be introduced soon.  Rep. Kathy Brynaert (DFL – Mankato) has signed on as the chief author.  If any of these legislators represent you, please write to thank them.

Minitex and MnLINK:  We have secured chief authors in both bodies for our bill to increase funding for Minitex and MnLINK.  Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL – Golden Valley) will carry our bill in the House and Senator Kent Eken (DFL – Twin Valley) will carry our bill in the Senate.  I am currently recruiting co-authors, with the goal of getting the bills introduced no later than Monday, March 4.

Legacy:  Last Wednesday Mark Ranum made a presentation before the House Legacy Committee about what regional public libraries have done with Legacy funding received to date and about our request for funding for the upcoming biennium (FY 14-15).  It was very well received by the committee, resulting in extended remarks by committee members about the benefits of Legacy programs provided by public libraries and of libraries in general.  Reps. Mary Murphy (DFL – Hermantown), Leon Lillie (DFL – N. St. Paul) and John Ward (DFL – Brainerd) were especially effusive.

State Economic Forecast:  The next forecast will be released on Thursday February 28.  It is widely expected that the forecast will show improvement from the forecast released in December that projected a $1.1 million deficit at the conclusion of the FY 14-15 biennium.  It may also show an increase in the forecasted surplus for the current biennium, which would result in a further repayment of the education funding shift.  Governor Dayton will release his revised budget recommendations about two weeks after the forecast is released.

Elaine Keefe
Capitol Hill Associates
525 Park Street, Suite 310
St. Paul, MN 55103
office 651-293-0229
fax 651-293-1709
cell 612-590-1244