TLA TEXLINE NO. 241
Posted: March 22, 2009 • LEGISLATIVE ISSUES NETWORK

In this issue: Updates

  1. Budget Update
  2. Budget Committee Members
  3. Federal Stimulus Funding
  4. Bill Update


Budget Update

The House Appropriations Committee
The House Appropriations Committee voted last Thursday to accept subcommittee funding recommendations, which designate that funding requests for databases, Loan Star Libraries, and Systems be included in Article XI of the state’s budget. Article XI is basically a “pending area” so that, if the state determines it can expend additional funds than what is estimated, items in Article XI are funded on a priority basis.

While library supporters had hoped that the Committee would at this time move library programs out of Article XI (and put them into Article I, which is where the State Library’s budget is captured in law), the appropriations process is ongoing, and there will be several other opportunities for the committee to act to appropriate funds for library programs.

It is critically important that lawmakers (both House and Senate) continue to hear about the need to fund library programs. Please contact your own legislators and ask them to support funding for library programs. We need them to: approve funding the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s exceptional item requests for: 1) Library Resource Sharing (includes requests for TexShare and the K-12 databases); 2) Loan Star Libraries, direct aid grants to local public libraries; and 3) the Regional Library Systems. The State Library budget is part of General Government (Article I). See Section II below for a contact list of Appropriations and Finance Committee members.

If your legislators do not serve on the committees, contact them and ask them to speak with their colleagues on the Appropriations and Finance Committees and ask for their support of these programs. To find contact information for your elected officials, go to: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us.

This is also the perfect opportunity to get your school administrator, mayor, commissioners, council members, or college president to send a letter in support of library programs important to your constituents. We must get our users and administrators to help us advocate.


Budget Committee Members

Members of the House Appropriations Committee

Finance Committee members

Federal Stimulus Bill

The House Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding heard testimony from State Librarian Peggy Rudd on Wednesday, March 18. Rudd discussed the role of libraries in promoting education and workforce development. She noted library needs in the area of broadband deployment, worker readiness programs, and construction projects. A written copy of testimony and handout materials is available at http://txstimulusfund.com/userfiles/file/Texas%20State%20Library%20&%20Archives%20Commission.pdf. The state’s stimulus website is www.txstimulusfund.com/.

Information, including a breakdown of potential federal and state dollars that may affect libraries, is available onlinel. Please check for updates. Also, note that the Texas Comptroller has an extended spreadsheet showing the latest information regarding all components of stimulus funding regarding Texas. See http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/finances/stimulus/EstimatedStimulusImpactonTexas.pdf.

Update on Bills

HB 962 (Guillen): Clarifies existing statute regarding the purchase and acquisition of library materials at community colleges. Voted favorably out of the Higher Education Committee, 3/18/09.