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Library Issues & Taking Action
Find out who represents you and how to contact theirs offices.
This link takes you to the ALA site for national library issues.
The 84th Legislature is just around the corner. The state’s budget deliberations have already begun. The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) is a committee of top legislators which oversees the drafting of the initial state budget for the upcoming state biennial budget (2016-2017). LBB staff will begin hearings on state agencies’ Legislative Appropriations Requests (LARs, or proposed budgets) in the coming weeks. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), which submitted its LAR in early August, is scheduled to go before the group on September 2.
Click HERE for TLA's one-sheet handout on budget priorities for the 84th Legislature.
The TSLAC budget is submitted with two main parts: the request for the base budget (i.e., the funds needed to continue services and operations at current levels) and the request for exceptional items (i.e., additional funding for existing or new operations). The exceptional items list provides the means to secure additional support for programming. The final list of exceptional items for TSLAC includes the following:
State Library’s Exceptional Items List - Priority Ranking and State Funding (General Revenue) Requested
Items in bold are statewide library programs.
- Priority: 1 of 6: Archival preservation of state agency electronic records, Total of $900,000/biennium
- Priority 2 of 6: Shared Digital Content (TexShare, TexQuest), Total of $6.4 million/biennium
- Priority 3 of 6: Salary Adjustment for Agency Staff (brings key positions up to mid-point of salary range), $900,000/biennium
- Priority 4 of 6: State and local records management FTEs: $400,000/biennium
- Priority 5 of 6: Internal agency accounting system: $500,000/biennium
- Priority 6 of 6: Funding for Library Workforce Development Training and Support: $550,00/biennium
The library community is committed to advocating for library programs as well as the overall needs of the agency. TLA has planned numerous opportunities for the library community to engage in organized advocacy activities.
Most importantly, though, all library supporters are urged to begin contacting their elected officials and candidates for office NOW. It is critical that decision makers hear from library supporters BEFORE THE SESSION and ON A REGULAR BASIS.
Planned Activities and Timeline
- August 20 – September 3, 2014: Introduce yourself to your state representative and senator by: 1) setting up an appointment at the district office; 2) setting up a time to meet their staff; and/or 3) writing a letter telling them about your library’s services, how many people/students rely on your services, and giving some concrete examples and statistics on the value your library brings to the community/institution you serve.
- September 1 – October 15: Collaborate with your colleagues at TLA District Meetings to plan legislative visits and activities. Brief your friends groups, PTAs, student chapters, and supporters about the statewide agenda for library funding. Recruit friends to participate in your advocacy activities.
- September 2: The State Library and Archives Commission appears before the Legislative Budget Board, 2:00 PM, Room: E2.030.
- October 1 – October 31: Use Library Snapshot Day (you can select any day in October) as a PR and advocacy forum. Invite your elected officials to the library. You can have them attend an activity, receive an award, offer story hour, pose for a “READ” poster, kick off an event, review the use of the state’s databases, etc. The goal is to get decision-makers in your library so they can see the activity and importance of your library.
- November 4: General Election
- November 10: Prefiling of legislation for the 84th Legislature begins.
- November 10 – December 1: Send a note thanking your elected officials for their service to Texas. Remind them of who you serve and include information about how they can support libraries (BY SUPPORTING THE LIBRARY BUDGET REQUESTS from TSLAC).
- January 13, 2015: First Day of the 84th Legislature
- January 14 – beginning of February: House and Senate leaders appoint committees for the 84th Legislature. Note: while we may have an idea of who may serve on committees, the appointments are not official until this process is completed!
- February: State budget hearings on Appropriations Bill (HB 1/ SB 1) begin.
- February 12: Library Virtual Action Day. Plan activities that you and your library supporters can undertake to promote statewide funding for library programming. From social media campaigns to group letter-writing projects, target February 12 as a day to blitz your elected officials’ offices with letters, emails, calls, tweets, etc. with news and requests from constituents for support of library funding.
- February – May: Keep up the pressure by recruiting others to help deliver the message to your legislative officials.
- March 13: (60th day) Deadline for filing bills and joint resolutions other than local bills.
- Mid March – Early April: House and Senate Budget Committees usually finalize their recommended budget amounts for agencies. The next phase of budget deliberations will have both full chambers (House and Senate) consider and vote on their respective versions of the budget.
- April 14: A special preconference will be held in conjunction with the TLA Conference. Librarians and library supporters can sign on for issue and advocacy training in the morning, and legislative office visits will be on the agenda for the afternoon.
- April – May: Continue contacting legislative offices, particularly as lawmakers zero in on the final budget, and the deadline nears for the passage of all bills.
- May: The House and Senate leaders appoint key lawmakers from each chamber to a special conference committee to negotiate any differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget. Both chambers must then approve the conference committee recommendations.
- June 1, 2015: End of the Regular 84th Legislature.
- June 21: Last day the Governor can sign or veto bills.
TLA will post which lawmakers serve on key committees. Watch for this information and please contact your elected official if they serve on any of those key committees.
If you need assistance or information on TLA’s Legislative Platform or advocating for library issues, please contact:
- TLA Legislative Committee Co-Chairs Jennifer LaBoon (Jennifer.Laboon@fwisd.org) and Rebecca Sullivan (email@example.com)
- TLA Director of Communications Gloria Meraz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For additional information, contact Gloria Meraz, TLA Director of Communications, 512/328-1518.
Created on Mar 15, 2010 | Last updated August 27, 2014