Tag Archives: Legislation

Top 10 things to know (and do) about saving library funding

Fight For Libraries! Tell Congress to save library funding.

From the ALA District Dispatch:

The talk of Washington and the library community (when people aren’t talking about the President’s tweets, anyway) is the recent recommendation by the President to completely eliminate funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including their library funding implementing the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program within the Department of Education. Here are the top ten things that you need to know about saving IMLS and more than $210 million in annual federal library funding that will be going on all year.

10. Exactly how much money are we talking about?

LSTA received $183.4 million in FY 2016 while IAL received $27 million. These funding levels are essentially the same for FY 2017 as the year before because Congress failed to enact almost any of the twelve individual appropriations bills that fund specific parts of the federal government and is keeping the governments doors open under a series of temporary authorizations called Continuing Resolutions, or “CRs” in Beltway-speak. Under the terms of a CR, programs are funded at the previous year’s levels (though this year the CR includes a de minimus across the board cut of less than 0.5%). If Congress returns from its upcoming April recess on April 24 and figures out how to pass 11 of the 12 unfinished FY 2017 appropriations bills in less than a week, funding levels for FY 2018 could change. However, that narrow window for Congressional action makes another CR running through the end of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2017) vastly more likely. Continue reading Top 10 things to know (and do) about saving library funding

Some early success in the fight to fund IMLS!

https://www.imls.gov/

We are passing along this letter from ALA President Julie Todaro. It looks like there is some growing support in the federal legislature for continuing to fund IMLS!

Remember that Minnesota directly receives nearly $3 million a year from IMLS. They fund the LSTA grants, they support training of all sorts across the profession, and they fund projects too large for one library do to alone. Check out our podcast on Digitization projects to hear about a few amazing things IMLS has helped to fund – including the Minnesota Digital Library, that many of us use every day!

Have you sent an email, or called, or stopped in to visit a federal or state legislator to tell them about the great things libraries do? Yes! Great!! Do it again!! Libraries need all of us to stand up NOW, and tell everyone how wonderful we are! (And we are – so go brag about the things you do every day!) Continue reading Some early success in the fight to fund IMLS!

National Library Groups Oppose Bill to Make Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee

Copyright- all rights reserved

From ACRL Insider,

On March 23, 1017, the leaders of the House Judiciary Committee introduced legislation entitled the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017.” The bill would make the position of the Register of Copyrights subject to Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. Under current law (17 USC 701), the Librarian of Congress selects the Register.

The Library Copyright Alliance, a group of national library organizations collectively representing more than 120,000 libraries in the United States and serving an estimated 200 million patrons annually, released the following statement in response: Continue reading National Library Groups Oppose Bill to Make Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee

Library legislative update: 6/10/16

State CapitolThe following legislative updates were written by Elaine Keefe, library lobbyist for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and Information Technology Educators of MN (ITEM). CMLE helps pay this lobbyist to serve the best interests of academic, K-12, public, and special libraries in Central MN (Latest information is at the top)

Received Friday, June 10, 2016 at 7:17 p.m.

Tax Bill Veto:  On Monday of this week, Governor Dayton pocket-vetoed the omnibus tax bill by taking no action on the bill before the 14 day deadline.  His veto was due to concerns about an error in a section of the bill relating to charitable gambling taxes that would have cost the state $101 million in lost revenue over the next three years.  The main item of interest to libraries in the tax bill is an increase in aid to cities and counties.

Special Session Outlook:  On Tuesday, Governor Dayton met with three of the four legislative caucus leaders (Senator Bakk, Speaker Daudt and Rep. Thissen; Senator Hann chose not to attend) to discuss a possible special session to pass a bonding bill, a corrected tax bill and some additional budget items that the governor would like to see enacted.  The meeting was brief and nothing was resolved.  Reportedly they plan to meet again sometime in the middle of next week.

Since then Governor Dayton has been traveling across the state to drum up public support for his priorities for a special session.  High on the governor’s list is a transportation funding package that includes transit in the metro area, which is very controversial with House Republicans.

Bonding Bill:  As I have previously reported, House and Senate negotiators agreed on a $1.1 billion bonding bill on the last day of session.  The bill passed the House, but time ran out before it could pass the Senate.  Later it was discovered that there were a number of projects that appeared on the spreadsheet, but were not actually included in the bill (this was not the case for any library projects).

Governor Dayton and legislative leaders are eager to pass a bonding bill during a special session, but reaching agreement will not be easy.  Speaker Daudt has said that the House will revert to its original position of a $600 million bonding bill (even though they never actually brought a bill of that size to the House floor), while Governor Dayton has demanded the inclusion of $183 million for projects that were left out of the bill agreed to by the conference committee.

Bonding Conference Committee Hearing:  On Tuesday, June 14 the bonding bill conference committee will meet from 1-4pmin room 10 of the State Office Building.  The purpose of the hearing is to review the conference committee agreement and take public testimony.  I expect the discussion to focus on the more controversial projects and those that were included on the spreadsheet but left out of the bill.  We will keep you posted.

Elaine Keefe

Capitol Hill Associates
525 Park Street, Suite 255
St. Paul, MN 55103
(cell) 612-590-1244
elaine@capitolhillassoc.com

 

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/oddkzbj, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

End of session legislative updates

State CapitolThe following legislative updates were written by Elaine Keefe, library lobbyist for the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) and Information Technology Educators of MN (ITEM). CMLE helps pay for lobbyist services in order to serve the best interests of academic, K-12, public, and special libraries in Central MN. (Latest information is at the top of this post)

Received Monday, May 23, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.

The 2016 legislative session has ended with very mixed results.  Last night the Legislature passed the omnibus tax bill and the omnibus supplemental budget bill.  However, as noted in my previous message, the Legislature failed to pass the bonding bill before the midnight deadline for passing bills.

Governor Dayton held a press conference a few minutes ago and indicated he has not yet decided whether to call a special session.  He said that he and legislative leaders need time to get some rest and assess the situation.

Bonding Bill:  The bonding conference committee reached agreement on a $1.135 billion bill on Sunday evening, just a few hours before the midnight deadline for passing bills.  The bill included $2 million for Library Construction Grants and $820,000 for the library at the Minnesota state Career and Technical College in Wadena. It did not include funding for the new East Central Regional Library headquarters/Cambridge Library, the Bagley Library or the Eastside Freedom Library.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 91-39.  It was amended in the Senate to raise the limit on how much the Metropolitan Council could contribute to a rail project (clearly aimed at the Southwest Light Rail Transit line) before passing by a vote of 53-12.  Because the bill had been amended on the Senate floor, it had to go back to the House for a final vote, but before that happened the House adjourned.  It was messy and chaotic and House and Senate leaders are blaming each other for the failure of the bonding bill to make it across the finish line.

Supplemental Budget Bill:  The budget bill spends a total of $182 million.  It includes $35 million for Border to Border Broadband Grants and  $500,000 for grants of up to $50,000 to K-12 schools for broadband Wi-Fi Hotspots.  It does not include an increase in total operating capital and does not provide any funding for after school programs.

Omnibus Tax Bill:  The tax bill increases aid to cities by $20 million per year and increases aid to counties by $10 million per year.

Legacy Bill:  The Legacy bill dealt mainly with appropriations for the Outdoor Heritage Fund, for which appropriations are made annually rather than for the biennium.  However, we were keeping an eye on one piece of language designed to reinforce the idea that Legacy funds are meant to supplement, not supplant, previous funding.  The original language in the House bill was rather awkward, as a couple of you pointed out to me.  The final version included in the bill is much more clear.  It states:

“Any state agency or organization requesting a direct appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund must inform the house of representatives and senate committees having jurisdiction over the arts and cultural heritage fund, at the time the request for funding is made, whether the request is supplanting or is a substitution for any previous funding that was not from a legacy fund and was used for the same purpose.”

Received Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 5:29 p.m.

End of Session Negotiations:  There is still no agreement between legislative leaders and Governor Dayton on targets for the supplemental budget, taxes and transportation.  It remains to be seen whether they will reach an agreement in time to get the bills passed before the end of the session.  Session must end by midnight on Monday, but the Legislature cannot pass bills on the day of adjournment.  This means that bills must be passed by midnight on Sunday night.

Bonding Bill:  Today the House bonding bill failed on the House floor.  A 3/5 supermajority is required to pass a bonding bill, which means 81 votes are required to pass the House.  The bill only received 69 votes.  All but two DFLers voted against the bill, while all but 5 Republicans voted for the bill.  DFLers complained that the bill was too small and that projects in DFL districts had been passed over in favor of projects in Republican districts.

However, a conference committee has been appointed for HF 748, a bill from last year that will be used as a vehicle for a bonding bill.  This is a highly unusual twist in the legislative process.

The Senate conferees are Senator LeRoy Stumpf (DFL – Plummer), Senator Katie Sieben (DFL – Cottage Grove), Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL – Minneapolis), Senator David Tomassoni (DFL – Chisholm) and Senator Carla Nelson (R – Rochester).

The House conferees are Rep. Paul Torkelson (R – Hanska), Rep. Tony Albright (R – Prior Lake), Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R – Ghent), Rep. Bob Vogel (R- Elko New Market) and Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL – St. Paul).

According to a press release issued by the Senate DFL Caucus this afternoon, the conference committee will consider portions of the House, Senate and Governor’s bonding proposals.  No meetings have been scheduled for the conference committee as of this writing.

Elaine Keefe
Capitol Hill Associates
525 Park Street, Suite 255
St. Paul, MN 55103
(cell) 612-590-1244
elaine@capitolhillassoc.com

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/oddkzbj, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0