Texline 264: Preview of 82nd Legislature and Legislative Day

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In this issue: Posted: December 8, 2010

  1. Preview of Library Issues for the 82nd Session
  2. Advocacy Opportunities

 


I. Preview of the 82nd Legislature

The 82nd Legislature convenes on January 11, 2011. This session, the state assembly will deal with a huge budget deficit (predictions now place the amount at about $25 billion) and redistricting. Given the fiscal outlook, state policy will more than likely involve implementation of a cut to state government operations.

 The situation for library programs in particularly precarious. In addition to the 5% cuts already sustained for the current biennium (which amounts to about $2.047 million from the State Library budget, about $126 million from the Texas Education Agency; and about $439 million from higher education), the legislature is now calling for an additional 2.5% cut in the current biennium. Agencies also had to offer proposed 10% cuts for next biennium. 

 With the proposed 10% cut in 2012-2013, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) would need to reduce about $261 million from its budget. One of the areas highlighted for reductions is the Technology Allotment, which is the source of funds for the K-12 database program for school libraries. At this time, it is unclear whether a cut to that program would result in a reduction to the actual $2.5 million TEA transfers to the State Library for support of that resource sharing initiative.

The State Library’s total cut of state funds at the 10% level amounts to about $3.880 million. However, if the state does make this cut, the State Library reported in its Legislative Appropriations Request (i.e., the official budget proposal submitted by the agency to the state) that a reduction in state support of library services would result in an additional and substantial loss of federal dollars. 

Advocacy efforts from the library community are focused on protecting agency budgets and funding for library programs. Given the extraordinary budget situation – one which will certainly be spread across all areas of government services and operations, the challenge this session is large.

 More than ever before, we need the voice of library supporters to remind lawmakers that libraries and librarians provide essential services to schools, institutions of higher education, and communities. In a session where lawmakers are looking for every possible place to cut, we must ensure their awareness of the impact of library services and the need for professional library staff in all of our institutions.

To learn more about library legislative issues, go to www.txla.org/advocate.

 II. Advocacy

A. Legislative Day

We need library supporters to participate in this year’s Legislative Day, which will be held on February 16. Registration is now open, and we need your passion and commitment for libraries. To learn more about Legislative Day and how to register, go to: www.txla.org/legislative-day.

Make plans now to participate. The event will be held in Austin, February 15-16, 2011. 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.

 Legislative Day Schedule

Training Events

  • Full Delegate Training, Tues. Feb 15, 2011:  7 pm to 9 pm.
  • Abbreviated Training, Wed. Feb. 16, 2011: 8 am to 9 am.

Legislator visits will be on Wed., Feb. 16, 2011
Reception at the Texas State Library, Wed., Feb. 16, 2011: 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

 Hotel Arrangements and Rates

Please be aware that you must reserve your own room. The TLA special rate for Feb. 15 and 16 is $145 for a single/double, $174 for triple, and $199 for a quad.

  • The firm hotel deadline is January 20, 2011.

To make a reservation, call the Hyatt (512/477-1234 or 800/223-1234) and ask for the Texas Library Association group rate. Or go to: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/texlibas.  

B. 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. 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 3:30 pm (CST) on January 12. Registration is now open. Go to: http://www.txla.org/register.  


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.

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

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Created on Jan 19, 2011 | Last updated January 20, 2011