Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join PaLA!
PA Library Legislative Updates
Group HomeGroup Home Blog Home Group Blogs
Get the latest news and updates on Pennsylvania library legislative issues. Be sure to include the word "legislative" in your search.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: budget  federal funding  Keystone Grant 

Library Advocates Hit the Ground Running in 2015

Posted By Cathi Alloway & Jennifer Stocker, Friday, January 16, 2015

Library Advocates Hit the Ground Running in 2015

Happy New Year!  The PaLA Legislative Information Committee is here to support your library’s 2015 advocacy activities.  Pennsylvania has a new Democratic governor, different faces and leadership in the Republican majority in the legislature, and a projected budget gap, so this will be a particularly challenging year.  We will present a strong case to decision makers about the benefits of library services and the need for better funding, but we can’t do this work WITHOUT YOUR HELP as we speak with ONE VOICE. 

Advocacy is a year-round job, and it’s about building good relationships with leaders.  In January and February, we urge you to do the following:

Inform new trustees, Friends, donors and supporters about PaLA and our work to define an annual legislative message and strategy for state funding. Information is at www.palibraries.org under the “Take Action” tab, including “Library Advocacy 101” tips.   Make sure they have contact info for their federal, state and municipal elected officials and leaders.

Reach out to your local state legislators (find them at
http://www.palibraries.org/?page=State  OR

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/) and thank them for their support. 

You may also want to congratulate those who have been elected to new leadership roles in the House and Senate.  A list of the State Senate leaders is here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/senate/officers.cfm

A list of the State House leaders is here:  http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/house/officers.cfm

Valentine’s Day is not far off and it’s a good opportunity to send a thank you card to your state and municipal elected officials for their hard work.   Bookplate a children’s book in their honor for an extra touch of goodwill. 

Stay tuned for monthly blog posts as well as regular updates from the Committee, and thanks for your involvement!

 

Legislative Information Committee Co-Chairs for 2015:
Jennifer Stocker, Easton Public Library, is PaLA first vice-president/president-elect. 
Cathi Alloway, Schlow Centre Region Library, is a past president of PaLA.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Turning the Page to 2015: New Governor, New Legislative Leaders, & Gaping Budget Hole

Posted By Glenn R. Miller, Thursday, December 18, 2014

With Pennsylvania’s 2014 election—and the predictable post-election re-hashing—behind us, attention turns now to what lies ahead.

 

First things first.  Come January 20, Pennsylvania will have a new governor—Tom Wolf.  The Democratic candidate, a successful business owner from York County, leveraged his personal wealth to steamroll through the Democratic primary in May and never looked back surpassing incumbent Republican Tom Corbett in the general election by 10 points.  This was the first time since 1968—when Pennsylvania changed the state constitution allowing for two terms for governors—that an incumbent governor lost re-election.  Perhaps even more interestingly, it breaks a cycle of eight years in and eight years out for both parties that dates back to the 1940s.  So even before Pennsylvania changed the constitution allowing for a governor to be re-elected, the Democrats and Republicans swapped seats in the Governor’s office every eight years without fail…until this election.

 

Wolf’s election stood out in stark contrast in a year when Republicans ran well nationally.  And, other than the governor’s race, Republicans ran strongly across Pennsylvania as well, increasing their margins in the State Senate by 3 votes and adding 8 seats to their majority in the State House.  So when the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 5, there will be 30 Republican and 20 Democratic senators; 119 Republican and 84 Democratic representatives.

 

In addition, there will be new leadership in both chambers.  It is expected that the current House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai from Allegheny County, will be elected as Speaker of the House to succeed retiring Speaker Sam Smith.  State Representative Dave Reed from Indiana County will succeed Rep. Turzai as Majority Leader in the House.  Over in the Senate, Senator Jake Corman from Centre County will be the new Majority Leader after defeating Senator Dominic Pileggi in an intra-party contest.  Senator Corman’s current role as chair of the Appropriations Committee will be filled by Senator Pat Browne from Lehigh County.  All of these positions are crucial in the legislative process and PaLA will be working in these upcoming months to strengthen already existing relationships with leadership even as we all work to strengthen our relationships with each and every member of the State Senate and State House.

 

The new governor and new legislators will face yet another daunting fiscal hurdle when they sit down to do business in January.  A large and growing state budget deficit—projected at nearly $2 billion—casts a huge shadow over the upcoming budget process and no easy answers seem to be available.  This current budget which ends on June 30 was cobbled together with borrowing, one-time transfers, quick fixes, and rosy projections all of which has only made matters worse by kicking the proverbial can down the road.  While the economy continues to show progress and revenues are modestly better this year compared with last, some big and contentious issues loom—unfunded pension liabilities, the fate of the state liquor system, and a decision on imposing a tax on the extraction of natural gas, just to name a few.

 

As a library community, we’ll need to be more engaged and unified than ever before.  On the hopeful side, we know that Governor Wolf (as well as his wife Frances) has first-hand experience working with libraries in York County.  We believe that this first-hand knowledge of and appreciation for library services coupled with his reputation as a voracious reader should be a good foundation upon which to build.  At the same time, the potential for partisan disagreement looms large.  Whatever partisan sniping may unfold, we will need to be steadfast in articulating our case—that libraries are vital, non-partisan educational and community resources that need to be a part of any education and economic plan to move PA forward. 

 

PaLA will keep you informed as this transition process unfolds and provide more information on strategy and how best to be engaged as we move into the new year.

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Library Funding Survives Line-Item Vetoes in Final State Budget

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, July 10, 2014

 

Governor Tom Corbett today signed the 2014-15 state budget and related bills while vetoing $72 million in spending and urging the legislature to return to Harrisburg to tackle public pension reform. For library funding, the budget as passed survived. There will be no cuts, but also no increases in this budget which relies on a number of one-time fund transfers but no new taxes.

 

The lion’s share—about $65 million—was sliced out of funds allocated for the operations of the General Assembly. The remaining reductions affected seven state agencies beyond the legislature but no cuts involved Education Department programs.

 

There is relief that this process has come to a conclusion. Fireworks over state pensions and school funding for Philadelphia are expected this summer but the larger state budget now has been finalized.

 

We all had hoped and worked for a better outcome but, given the unexpected revenue shortage and the strong undercurrent of the public pension problem, no library cuts—including the retention of last year’s $250,000 increase for POWER Library—is a reasonable if unspectacular result.

 

We will begin this fall the process of laying the groundwork to pursue improvements in the next state budget. Thanks to each and every library advocate for speaking up and working hard during this last budget journey.

 

 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Ping-Pong & Pension Pressure Prolong Budget Finale

Posted By Glenn R. Miller, Thursday, July 3, 2014

As I indicated in my July 2 post, Governor Tom Corbett has withheld his signature on the recently passed state budget to use this leverage in an effort to secure some sort of public employee pension reform legislation. You can read the Governor’s statement (attached to this message as a PDF).  By July 10, the Governor can do any of the following:

· sign the budget bill as is;

· veto certain parts of it;

· veto the entire state budget bill; or,

· do nothing and the budget becomes law without his signature.

The Governor held a July 2 press conference to keep up the pressure for a pension reform bill. When asked if he might consider vetoing the state budget if a pension bill does not pass the House and Senate, he replied, "All options are on the table.” Few expect a full veto although anything is possible.

Meanwhile, important companion legislation for the budget has devolved into a bit of ping-pong. H.B. 278 is what’s known as a "Fiscal Code” bill and it includes language authorizing dozens of state agencies—including the State Library—to spend the money appropriated in the new state budget. This bill will also give authority to the State Librarian to consider requests from local libraries to waive certain standards that were enacted when funding levels were higher.

On July 1, the State Senate passed H.B. 278 and sent it to the House. The House on July 2 passed it as well but, surprisingly, changed some parts of it which, in turn, requires the State Senate to vote again. This means that, contrary to their plans, the Senate will need to return to Harrisburg on July 8 to consider it again. If they change it back, then the House will need to return to Harrisburg as well to re-consider their position. And so it goes.

In addition, the Governor has said that he will not make a final decision on the state budget until he sees the details of a General Assembly-passed Fiscal Code bill, too. If he holds to that, the earliest all of this could be resolved finally is next Wednesday, July 9.

To recap:

· A new state budget has been approved by the legislature, and it level-funds libraries;

· Governor Corbett is holding off signing the budget in order to put pressure on the legislature to pass some form of public employee pension reform;

· Legislation (H.B. 278) required to specify how money in the state budget should be spent is delayed by a dispute between the Senate and House;

· The Governor will not decide on signing the state budget until he receives an approved version of H.B. 278; and,

· Cooler heads are expected to prevail during the week of July 7 to finalize all of the budget details, but sometimes unexpected things happen in election years.

More to come soon. PaLA will keep you posted as developments occur. Best wishes for a Happy Fourth of July and a peaceful conclusion to the state budget soon.

Download File (PDF)

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Governor Withholds Budget Signature; Key Companion Legislation Expected to Pass

Posted By Glenn R. Miller, Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Governor Tom Corbett has withheld his signature on the recently passed state budget to use this leverage in an effort to secure some sort of pension reform legislation.  You can read the Governor’s statement (attached PDF).  He has 10 days to sign the budget bill as is, veto certain parts of it, or veto all of it.  Or he can do nothing and the budget becomes law without his signature.  Few expect a full veto although anything is possible.  PaLA will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, on July 1, the State Senate passed a Fiscal Code bill—H.B. 278—that included language authorizing dozens of state agencies—including the State Library—to spend the money appropriated in the new state budget.  Once the State House of Representatives passes the bill—as they are expected to do on July 2—we will have in place the authority to spend funds approved in the new state budget.  This bill will also give authority to the State Librarian to consider requests from local libraries to waive certain standards that were enacted when funding levels were higher.  The process for waiver applications will be announced shortly by the State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich.

PaLA will keep you informed if and when anything new develops on the nearly—but not yet officially—completed state budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15.

Download File (PDF)

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
Permalink
 
Page 10 of 14
 |<   <<   <  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14

Contact Us

220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717-766-7663 Phone
717-766-5440 Fax
800-622-3308 (PA Only)