Texline 263: State Policy Update

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TEXLINE is an irregular e-newsletter that is sent whenever state library-related policy or legislative action is occurring. To subscribe to Texline, send an email to gloriam@txla.org and specify that you would like to be added to the Texline list. You can follow TLA legislative news during the session on Twitter.

In this issue: Posted: September 7, 2010

  1. Overview of Library Issues for the 82nd Session
  2. Legislative Budget Board Hearings 
  3. Advocacy Opportunities

I. Overview of Library Issues for the 82nd Session

TSLAC AND TEA BUDGETS – The Texas State Library & Archives Commission (TSLAC) provides services to libraries, researchers, and state government. Budget cuts to Loan Star Libraries, Library System funding, TexShare, or other programs will result in a marked decrease in services statewide. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) supports K-12 education and includes funding for the K-12 database program through the Technology Allotment rider.
Legislative Action Needed: Protect TSLAC’s budget (See Article I of the General Appropriations Act) and TEA’s budget (See Article III of the General Appropriations Act.)

TEXSHARE ONLINE INFORMATION – This item encompasses TexShare, which makes world-class online library of research materials available to all the state’s universities and communities, and the K-12 Database Program, which offers K-12 students access to digital instructional materials.
Legislative Action Needed: Appropriate $4.012 million for TexShare Online Information as requested in TSLAC’s exceptional items request.  This funding is needed to offset inflationary cost increases (and avoid a cut to current resources) and will allow for resources to support training for police officers, first responders, and countless others learners.

LOAN STAR LIBRARIES– This grant program awards funds to public libraries throughout the state to support communities.
Legislative Action Needed: Appropriate an additional $4 million for Loan Star Libraries as requested in the TSLAC’s exceptional items request. The funding will offset cuts and will help libraries maintain hours of operation and other services.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS DISCOUNTS – This statewide program for schools, libraries, and higher education requires providers to offer certain services (such as T1 lines and fiber connections) at no more than 110% of costs. The program expires on Jan. 1, 2012.
Legislative Action Needed: Extend the date by amending the Texas Utilities Code (Chapters 58.258, 58.268 & 59.077, 59.083) and continuing the state telecommunications discount.

STRONG SCHOOL LIBRARIES – School libraries and certified school librarians are critical in supporting education and ensuring that students master the complex world of information, technology, & digital literacy.
Regulatory Action Needed: Inclusion of benchmarks for strong school libraries in TEA campus distinction categories.

II. Legislative Budget Board Hearings
The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) is beginning its hearing to craft a first draft of the state’s budget for 2012-2012. The hearing for the Texas Education Agency is set for September 14, at 1 pm. The State Library hearing is set for September 16 at 2pm.
Members of the LBB include Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, Chairman Steve Ogden, Chairman Jim Pitts, Sen. Juan Hinojosa, Sen. Robert Duncan, Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Rep. Dan Branch, Rep. Ron Oliveira, and Rep. Sylvester Turner.
All agencies had to submit proposals for a 5% and 10% cut in the next biennium (2012-2013). These proposals come on top of cuts implemented in the current biennium. If any of the proposals for the State Library programs are implemented, library programs will be hit hard. Most of the cuts proposed are in Loan Star Libraries, the Library System grant (System Negotiated Grants), and TexShare. All areas of the agency budget also sustain smaller cuts.
In its final budget deliberations, the State Library Commission approved the agency’s Legislative Appropriations Request (i.e., final budget proposal for the biennium). It also included the agency’s request for exceptional items funding (new funding). In the priority order assigned by the Commission, the exceptional items are: 1) a new building for archival storage, $27,802,260; 2) technology for the Talking Book Program, $340,000; 3) 2 FTEs and supplies for an electronic records program, $486,300; 4) TexShare Online funding to cover inflationary cost increases for TexShare, the K-12 database program, and funding for a testing and certification resource database for all users, $4,012,000; and 5) Loan Star Libraries, $4 million. All items are for the biennium.
At TEA, the agency is proposing some cuts to the Technology Allotment, the source of funding for the K-12 database program and a per pupil allotment for technology. While it is unclear as to whether that cut, if implemented, will change rider funding, any cuts to education funding (and TEA is proposing cuts in many areas) are detrimental to student learning.

III. Advocacy Opportunities

Legislative Day : Make plans now to participate in TLA’s 2011 Legislative Day, which will be held in Austin, February 15-16, 2010. Delegate training will be held the evening of February 15 at the Hyatt at Lady Bird Lake. Attendees will participate in visits to various legislator offices on the 16th. All meetings will be coordinated by assigned delegate leaders, who will work with their team of library supporters to make all 150 state representatives and 31 senators aware of the needs of Texas libraries.

Registration for Legislative Day 2011 will open by September 15.

The Latest in Legislative News and Legislative Day, 2011

Join TLA Legislative Committee Chair, Joyce Baumbach; TLA Legislative Committee Vice-Chair Susan Mann; TLA Director of Communications Gloria Meraz, and TLA Policy Analyst Marty DeLeon for a discussion about the upcoming legislative session, issues, and advocacy opportunities. Bring your questions and ideas. The free webinar is intended for anyone interested in supporting libraries. Registration for each webinar is limited to the first 150 participants.

This one-hour webinar will be offered at 2 pm (CST) on Nov. 8 and 3:30 pm (CST) on January 12. Registration for these webinars will open on September 15.


To subscribe to Texline, send an email to gloriam@txla.org and specify that you would like to be added to the Texline list.


Created on Sep 7, 2010 | Last updated September 07, 2010