**This legislative update was originally written by Elaine Keefe, lobbyist for MLA/MEMO, slight modifications by Patricia Post** (Received on Thursday, May 16, 2013 11:08 AM)
The House conferees for the Legacy bill were appointed on Thursday , May 16th.
Legacy Funding Background: The House Legacy bill passed on the floor on Friday (10th). The Senate Legacy bill was unveiled in the Senate Legacy Subcommittee on Thursday (9th). It includes $300,000 per year for the Minnesota Digital Library (the amount requested) and $1 million per year for regional public libraries. This is a huge reduction from the $3 million per year currently allocated to regional public libraries. Senator Dick Cohen, chair of both the Senate Finance Committee and the Legacy Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, has historically opposed Legacy funding for libraries. His position has been that only those who advocated for the constitutional amendment should share in the funds generated. Other recipients can be viewed as interlopers, including libraries. Senator Cohen’s goal has been that 50% of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund is to be allocated to the State Arts Board. Currently about 43% is allocated to the State Arts Board. The Senate bill includes a provision requiring that in the future 50% of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund shall be allocated to the State Arts Board. The initial version of the Senate Legacy bill distributed the funds to regional public libraries under the RLBSS formula, as has been done the past two biennia. I subsequently spoke with Senator Cohen and he agreed to amend the bill to change the formula in accordance with the MLA/MEMO platform and to require that the funds be distributed in 10 equal payments. That amendment was adopted on Friday (10th) and the bill was passed out of the subcommittee.
Please contact the Conferees and urge them to support the House position on Legacy funding for regional public libraries.
The House maintains the current funding level of $3 million per year, whereas the Senate reduces it to $1 million per year.
Rep. Phyllis Kahn
Rep. Leon Lillie
Rep. Mike Freiberg
Rep. David Bly
Rep. Anna Wills
Capitol Hill Associates
525 Park Street, Suite 310
St. Paul, MN 55103