Advocate

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Overview: Advocacy and Government Affairs

The Texas Library Association, an educational 501(c)(3) non-profit, actively supports library interests by advocating for policies and funding that support libraries, librarians, and educational initiatives.


85th Legislative Session Wrap Up

The 85th Texas Legislative Session ended Monday, May 29 with Senate and House leaders pointing fingers and casting blame on who bears responsibility for the fact that a special session has to be called.

While the Legislature did pass a $217 billion budget and over 1,100 other bills, they did not pass a “sunset safety bill” which allows state agencies that are scheduled to sunset (close) in 2017 to remain open. The Texas Medical Board, which regulates and licenses physicians, is one of five agencies that will close in September if this measure is not addressed in a special session. Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference June 6 and announced the special session would begin July 18.

In more positive, library related news,the Texas State Library and Archives Commission budget fared well. While the TSLAC state general revenue appropriation was reduced by 4.9%, the overall agency budget increased 1.5% to approximately $66 million.

This increase was due in part to the $1 million appropriated for theTSLAC broadband initiative. TexShare and TexQuest will be funded at basically the same level in the next biennium as they are currently.

The Legislature also passed SB 196 which requires school districts with more than 10,000 students to notify parents if they do not have a full time librarian, school counselor or nurse on campus during instructional hours. Sen. Sylvia Garcia was the Senate sponsor and Rep. Garnet Coleman sponsored the bill in the House, and we appreciate their support of school libraries. Unfortunately, Gov. Abbot vetoed this bill.

SB 810, which seeks to encourage increased use of Open EducationalResources at the college and university level also passed and was signed by the governor.

Read Texline for a complete wrap-up of the 85th Legislative Session.


Get Involved!

Take the Wheel: Hands On Advocacy Materials

Topics


Who participates in TLA Advocacy? 

TLA has thousands of members from school, public, academic, and special libraries, as well as countless lay supporters, parents, educators, and business partners who promote library issues. Additionally, all types of libraries enjoy enormous local support from parent groups, the local community, student organizations, and countless other stakeholders who join in statewide efforts to strengthen libraries.

Texas libraries count millions of supporters! With libraries – school, academic, public, or special – located in almost every political jurisdiction in the state, the grassroots support for libraries is broad and deep.

How can I support TLA Advocacy?  

We offer multiple ways for you to support libraries!

  1. Become a member of TLA (lay supporters may join at a discounted membership rate) and participate in our legislative activities through any number of ways that are convenient for you.
  2. Subscribe to Texline, our free policy e-newletter, to keep up with state policy news and be informed about CALLS TO ACTION, or times when we need lots of people calling or writing legislative offices about important library policy or funding issues.
  3. Follow TLA on Facebook and Twitter for updates, 
  4. Get to know your elected officials and make the case that libraries need support from our leaders.

How can I learn more about becoming a strong advocate for libraries?

TLA offers many training opportunities. Our annual conference, our summer meeting (Annual Assembly), all have workshops that can train you on the latest issues and on methods for communicating with elected officials.

We also offer online training through our continuing education program and have resources available online.

How does TLA decide what issues to pursue?

TLA legislative policy is set by the Association’s governing council, which considers policy matters brought before it by the Association’s Legislative Committee. Members of TLA divisions and units submit issues they would like considered to the TLA Legislative Committee, which then makes recommendation to the TLA Council. For more information on this process, contact Wendy Woodland (wendyw@txla.org). 

Does TLA offer a scorecard of elected officials and does it endorse candidates?

As a charitable, educational nonprofit 501(c)(3), TLA is prohibited by law from endorsing candidates. TLA’s advocacy is issue-based, and we focus on policy and funding initiatives that assist in delivering the best possible library and educational services for the people of Texas.

Who can I contact to learn more?

You may contact Wendy Woodland, communications director at TLA, at wendyw@txla.org or 512/328-1518.

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Created on Mar 3, 2010 | Last updated July 27, 2017