TLA TEXLINE NO. 250
Posted: June 4, 2009 • LEGISLATIVE ISSUES NETWORK


In this issue:
81st Legislative Summary


It’s been a long, hard session. The library community made some valuable gains this year, although not all our funding initiatives were adopted (specifically increased funding for library resource sharing). The library community was “in the fight” to the very last for funding and, as always, we will continue our work session after session to improve the quality of life, education, and opportunity for Texans through library services and programs.

Budget Status

Despite a $9.1 billion shortfall, the Legislature approved the following recommendations: Loan Star Libraries – an increase of $3.5 million over the biennium; Systems - an increase of $1.5 million over the biennium; and Digital Talking Books – an increase of $275,000 over the biennium. The request for increased funds for Library Resource Sharing (which encompassed requested funding increases for TexShare and the K-12 databases) was not funded. Please note, however, that the current (09) funding for both these programs remains in place.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has just released a statement noting that the agency is investigating the possibility of using additional federal funds (as the agency is receiving more than expected funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services) for offsetting some of the escalating costs for the database programs. See TSLAC’s statement at: http://www.texshare.edu/generalinfo/about/faq2009-06-02.html.

Final Status of Key Bills

  • HB 962 (Guillen/Sp. Zaffirini): Clarifies existing statute regarding the purchase and acquisition of library materials at community colleges. Sent to the Governor for signing.

  • HB 3756 (Howard/ Sp. Ellis): Updates, clarifies, and amends statutes related to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The bill, filed at the request of TLA and TSLAC, updates language related to the library systems, the TexShare program, Talking Book Program, records management provisions, archival records and the state’s right of recovery, and the Texas Reads license plate program. Sent to the Governor for signing.

  • HB 3 (Eissler/Sp. Shapiro): Deals with school accountability and promotion. The final version of the bill stripped away a House floor amendment that would have authorized TEA to study the prospect of adding school library programs as a criterion for campus distinction designations. Sent to the Governor.

With Thanks

TLA is very grateful to all of the library supporters, legislators, legislative staff, and individuals who worked to support and promote library issues this session. While the list is too large to include in its entirety, we express our deep thanks to the following: Representatives Jim Pitts, Dan Branch, Ryan Guillen, Donna Howard, Dennis Bonnen, Patrick Rose, John Otto, Fred Brown, Mark Strama, Harold Dutton, Brandon Creighton, and Scott Hochberg. On the Senate side, we offer our sincere thanks to Senators Kip Averitt, Chuy Hinojosa, Judith Zaffirini, Rodney Ellis, and Chris Harris. We very much appreciate all the work of all the members of the House and Senate funding committees.

Of course, we offer are sincere appreciation to all TLA members who took the time to write, email, and work for library programs. We extend a special thanks to everyone who traveled to Austin for Legislative Day, led delegations, worked on legislative initiatives, and provided testimony throughout the session, including Susan Mann, Julie Todaro, Joe Dahlstrom, Tracey Mendoza, Martha Tandy, Rhoda Goldberg, and Legislative Committee Chair Carol Brey-Casiano.