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Library Issues & Taking Action
When the Texas Legislature convenes in Austin in January 2017, they will be facing a projected budget shortfall of $1 billion due to the decline in the oil and gas industry which has significantly impacted state revenues.
TLA will be working closley with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to ensure that the budget for critical programs including TexQuest and TexShare is not cut, and that additional requests to expand TexQuest, TexShare and broadband access via the E-Rate program are funded.
We will also be monitoring any other legislation that is filed which might impact libraries of all types around the state. It's going to be a challenging session, and the library community will need to share its story with elected officials to demonstrate the value we bring to Texas communities. Check this website for updates, and look for other TLA communications and calls to action throughout the session. Together our library voice is strong and will be heard!
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (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
Item #1: $1.6 million to secure state data through computer and physical security
Item #2: $8.4 million to expand affordable e-resources in STEM areas for education and workforce readiness through TexQuest and TexShare
Item #3: $500,000 for market adjustments necessary to recruit and retain personnell to deploy the state's mandated services
Item #4: $241,800 to hire two information analysts to help secure the public's access to state and local government records
Item #5: $1 million to increase broadband access in Texas communities by encouraging library participation in E-Rate discounts
TLA supports the TSLAC budget request and all of the exceptional items. Our priority and focus will be on Item #2 to expand TexQuest and TexShare and on Item #5 to increase broadband access.
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 – September: 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 – October: 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.
- October: 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: General Election
- November 14: Prefiling of legislation for the 85th Legislature begins.
- December: 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 10, 2017: First Day of the 85th Legislature
- January 14 – beginning of February: House and Senate leaders appoint committees for the 85th 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 – May: Keep up the pressure by recruiting others to help deliver the message to your legislative officials.
- March 10: (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 – 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.
- May 29, 2017: End of the Regular 84th Legislature.
- June 18: 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 Wendy Woodland (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For additional information, contact Wendy Woodland, TLA Director of Communications, 512/328-1518.
Created on Mar 15, 2010 | Last updated December 06, 2016