Here is the latest update from the MLA’s (and yours!) library lobbyist firm:
While the Governor’s line-item veto of the legislature’s operating budget means the people’s business isn’t quite finished, it is for our practical purposes.
- The final Bonding bill, signed into law, appropriates $2 million for library construction and renovation projects.
- The final Legacy bill, signed into law, appropriates $2.5 million for library legacy programming for the next two years.
- The final E-12 bill, signed into law, doesn’t appropriate new funding for regional library programs.
If the courts decide against the legislature’s forthcoming lawsuit over the line-item veto, it’s the Governor’s desire to revisit several items in the Tax bill. Those items are related to commercial-industrial property taxes paid to the state, tobacco taxes and changes to the estate tax. He’s also indicated a desire to revisit the teacher licensure reform package passed in the E-12 bill.
The 2018 session begins at noon on Tuesday, February 20th.
Samuel P. Walseth
Capitol Hill Associates
525 Park Street, Suite 255
St. Paul, MN 55103″
Letter from Julie Todaro, ALA President:
I never cease to be amazed by your passion, your tenacity, and your dedication. You are tremendous! Because of your efforts, I am pleased to report that last night Senator Reed’s staff delivered to the Appropriations Committee the LSTA letter of support with the signatures of 45 Senators along with the IAL letter supported by 37 members! The LSTA total sets a new record and the IAL total equals our previous record set in 2013. Thank you for staying with us every step of the way in this critical fight for funding.
It’s clear from these results and direct feedback from many Senators’ offices that ALA’s advocacy (more than 20,000 emails were sent to the Senate through our Legislative Action Center) led to this unprecedented showing of Senate support for LSTA and IAL, and implicitly IMLS. It could not have happened without the tremendous support of COSLA’s leadership and membership, along with the help of the Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI) companies. This powerful combination of grassroots, grasstops and professional advocacy in both the House and the Senate—mounted and maintained intensively over the past two months—has placed LSTA and IAL in the strongest position possible at this point in the appropriations cycle. While we still have much more to do, these results are worth celebrating!
A few highlights to consider:
- This year’s LSTA total of 45 tops last year’s support level by 33% and IAL’s by just under 20%.
- Both the LSTA and IAL letters were bipartisan. You can find out which Senators supported the letters on our online tracker.
- Every Democrat on the critical “Labor H” appropriations subcommittee signed both letters (Ranking Member Patty Murry of WA, given her position, was not expected to sign.)
- 10 returning senators signed the LSTA letter who had not signed last year: Feinstein, Bennet, Carper, Nelson, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Udall, Casey, Kaine, and Warner.
- All 5 freshman Democrats signed the LSTA letter (Harris, Duckworth, Van Hollen, Hassan, and Cortez Masto), and all but Duckworth also signed the IAL letter.
- Every Democrat not in an “abstaining” leadership position signed the LSTA letter, other than Claire McCaskill of MO (she is supportive, but generally does not sign such letters).
- 6 returning senators signed the IAL letter who had not signed last year: Coons, Collins, Merkley, Warner, Cantwell, and Manchin.
- We did lose 2 signers from last year (Burr on LSTA and Wicker on IAL), but both stated that they continue to be supportive.
I want to thank the incredible staff of ALA’s Washington Office, particularly the Office of Government Relations, for their tireless dedication to this process. They, in partnership with their colleagues throughout ALA, helped us meet and exceed expectations as we faced the first few chapters in what’s sure to be an epic quest to protect this absolutely essential funding.
I’ll be in touch soon with everything you need to help us face the next challenge—the upcoming appropriations process. Enjoy your holiday weekend!
Posted by: Kevin Maher, from the ALA’s District Dispatch
“The Fight for Libraries! has moved to the United States Senate. Today, two “Dear Appropriator” letters began circulating in the Senate, one seeking $186.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Libraries (IAL) program for FY 2018. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are again championing funds for LSTA, while Sens. Reed, Grassley (R-IA) and Stabenow (D-MI) are leading the fight for IAL. For more information about each program and the appropriations process, visit our previous posts on this topic or watch our most recent webinar. Continue reading The fight for library funding is on in the U.S. Senate
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
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!