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Legislative Committee Update

Posted By Carrie Turner, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Legislative Committee Update

Greetings!  The Legislative Committee met on November 14 and received reports from Greenlee Partners and Deputy Secretary of Education Glenn Miller.  One concern at the state level is the deficit which is expected to exceed $1B.  There is little agreement about revenue enhancements which puts budget cuts on the table.  It is important for the library community to engage with elected officials, at all levels, emphasizing our important roles in promoting Pre-K literacy and in supporting job seekers to find employment.  Invite a legislator to a library program or for a photo opportunity.  Collect library stories to share.  Local relationships are vital.

Good luck with your efforts.  The Legislative Committee of Pennsylvania Library Association wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.  Our next meeting will be scheduled early in 2017 so that we may continue to work towards sustainable funding for all libraries.

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Legislative Committee – National Update

Posted By Christi Buker, Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Legislative Committee – National Update

September 22, 2016

Submitted by: Karla J. Trout, MSLS, Adams County Library System

APPROPRIATIONS

·         The FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill in both chambers includes funding for several programs of significant importance to the library community: LSTA, IAL, and Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While the House Committee bill provides increased support for two of our priorities, it also eliminates funding for another.

o    First, the good news…

§  Both the House and Senate funding bills include increased funding for LSTA and its Grants to States program, rejecting the President’s proposal to cut funding. LSTA Grants to States would receive $155.9 million in the House bill: a slight increase over FY 2016 ($155.7 million), though $240,000 less than what the Senate requested in May ($156.1 million). The President had requested only $154.8 million. Overall LSTA funding would be boosted in the House bill to $183.0 million. That compares with $183.3 in the Senate, $182.4 in the President’s request, and $182.9 ultimately approved by Congress in FY 2016).

§  New this year is a block grant created with bipartisan support under Title IV of ESSA The “Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants” (SSAEG will provide supplemental funding to help states and school districts underwrite a “well-rounded” educational experience for students, including STEM and arts programs. Best of all, libraries are expressly authorized to receive SSAEG funds. Although SSAEG was originally authorized in the ESSA at $1.65 billion, the President requested only $500 million while the Senate approved less at $300 million. The House approved a higher level of $1 billion but still below authorized levels for FY2017.

o    Next, the bad news is that House appropriators have proposed to eliminate all funding for school libraries through the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. According to the House Committee’s Report, “The Committee has chosen to focus resources on core formula-based education programs instead of narrowly-focused competitive grants such as this one.” IAL received $27 million in FY2016, which was also the funding level requested by the President and supported in the Senate bill. One half of IAL funding is reserved for school libraries with the remaining open to any national non-profit by application.

·         Congress returned from its recess on September 6, leaving them only a few weeks to adopt funding measures to keep the government open beyond the October 1 start of the Fiscal Year. Congress probably will be forced to enact a “Continuing Resolution,” (CR), to fund the Government. Under CR rules the previous year’s level of funding is maintained for most programs. Vigorous discussions on the Hill already have begun as to what the length of the CR can and should be. If a CR that extends into the new calendar year is adopted, the new President will be forced to negotiate government-wide spending levels with Congress soon after being sworn in, possibly even before key Cabinet and other budget-related positions are filled.

 

LEGISLATION

·         Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – FOIA Improvement Act was signed into law on July 3, 2016 and: (more info at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/337)

o    Codifies the “presumption of openness” for government documents for future administrations;

o    Harnesses technology to improve the FOIA process;

o    Limits, to a period of 25 years, the period of time that agencies may keep records of their internal deliberations confidential; and

o    Increases the effectiveness of the FOIA by strengthening the Office of Government Information Services (created in the last FOIA reform bill, the OPEN Government Act of 2007)

 

THANK YOU

·         Librarians and library supporters are encouraged to write to the US Senators who voted YEA to the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as our new Librarian of Congress to say thank you. Both Senators Casey and Toomey voted YEA to Dr. Hayden’s nomination.

 

ALA LIBRARY LEGISLATIVE DAY 2017

·         It’s not too early to mark your calendars for May 1-2, 2017, to plan to join us in Washington, DC, to continue our advocacy efforts with our US Senators and Congress Representatives.

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Legislative Update - October 5, 2016

Posted By Carrie Turner, Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Pennsylvania Library Association Legislative Committee is sponsoring Advocacy 101 at the annual conference at the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos.  The program will be presented on Sunday, October 16 from 5 to 6 pm by Bill Bova, Senior Associate at Greenlee Partners in Harrisburg.  Bill will be covering topics of interest to both Library Trustees and Directors such as how to communicate with elected officials at every level.  The session will be interactive so bring you questions and concerns.

At the Pennsylvania Library Association Legislative Committee meeting held on September 22, libraries were urged to maintain close ties with their elected officials.  One effective way to do this is to invite them to library events and photo ops.  Share your success stories with them and provide content for their newsletters and eblasts.

State government is already working on next year’s budget.  With a large deficit looming, libraries need to start advocating now.  Pennsylvania Library Association continues to represent library interests in Harrisburg but we need you to do your part in engaging your local officials.

Karla Trout’s report on federal advocacy is available on the Pennsylvania Library Association website.

Thanks for your advocacy efforts,


Carrie Turner
Cathi Alloway
Legislative Committee Co-Chairs

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2016-17 state budget

Posted By Christi Buker, Monday, July 25, 2016

The 2016-17 Pennsylvania budget has been characterized as a quick-fix budget and a one-year stop gap plan.  Depending on what projection is accurate, the Commonwealth could be facing a multi-billion dollar hole next fiscal year.  Much has been written about the additional taxes used to balance this year’s budget but it is worth noting there were many funds/line items that money was taken from, rendering some close to insolvency.

Thankfully, Library funds will not be held up for months due to partisan battling, and that we fortunately did not see cuts that many other programs are facing.  The State Library did receive a 10% increase which had been characterized as “much needed” and will allow them to fill some critical positions and move forward in serving the broader library community.

Now is the time the administration and legislature will begin looking at next year’s budget, the analysts are already looking at fiscal hole projections.  If it becomes apparent there are new revenues needed, there will be opportunity.

 We must continue to explain to our legislators that Libraries are a pillar of our Commonwealth that provide invaluable services such as education, internet access, career building, and environmental awareness. We must use our megaphone wisely and consistently to invite our legislators to any events. We must educate and remind our legislators what libraries have grown to become and how vital they are to our Commonwealth and our future.

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Legislative Update- June 30, 2016

Posted By Carrie Turner, Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pennsylvania Library Association has been monitoring the budget situation through our friends at Greenlee Partners.  As it stands now, the next state budget continues to be a moving target.  The Legislative versions keep library funding level with a small increase for the State Library.  This is disappointing, but not totally surprising given that producing significant new revenues in an election year is highly unlikely.  Keep reminding your elected officials of the important role libraries play in your community.  Include stories of lives that have been changed and the value returned for the investment of tax dollars.

We will continue to keep you informed as the situation unfolds.

Your membership is crucial to your professional association keeping library funding from being cut.  While no one is happy with flat funding, doing nothing is not an option.

Thanks for your support and best wishes for a Happy Fourth of July.

 

Pennsylvania Library Association Legislative Committee
Cathi Alloway and Carrie Turner, Co-Chairs

 

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