Texline 269: Budget and Bill Update

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Posted: February 24, 2011


In this issue:

I. Budget Update

II. Bill Update

III. Legislative Day


I. Budget Update

The House Appropriations today accepted the subcommittee recommendations on the State Library budget. The adopted recommendations include: $2.5 million over the biennium for TexShare; $212,000 over the biennium for leasing archival storage space; funding for capital hardware items; a contingency rider for funding for the K-12 databases (this item is contingent upon an appropriations for the databases in the Texas Education Agency budget); and the elimination of several riders, including language directing the agency to close out library development programs. While no state funding was allocated for that purpose, the agency may use existing resources to maintain some level of statewide library development.

The Senate Finance Committee is still working on its version of the budget. The State Library’s Finance hearing is now scheduled for March 7.  Once both committees finalize their respective versions of the budget, the drafts will be brought before the full chambers for consideration, and then the two versions will be finalized through a conference committee, where differences in the bill proposals are negotiated.

Other House Appropriations decisions regarding the State Law Library and TEA are still pending. Initial discussions on the State Law Library suggest that House committee members are trying to find funding to keep the agency operating.

The budget process is far from over, and library supporters are urged to continue contacting elected officials about the need to restore library funding. No allocation has been made in the House version for Loan Star Libraries. While we are grateful to the subcommittee for its consideration of TexShare, we hope that additional funding can be allocated to key library programs.

Please CONTINUE TO CONTACT LEGISLATORS about the need to restore library funding.

  • Go to: TAKE ACTION! Recruit friends and supporters to send messages.
  • Send faxes and make phone calls.
  • Post messages on social media sites.

Here’s a sample Facebook message (with links). 

Texas Library Association <http://www.facebook.com/TexasLibraryAssociation>  Take Action NOW!! This link is set up to send an email to your legislators. You can customize your message to describe the negative impact of budget cuts. Pass this link along to everyone and anyone to have them send an email to help restore library funding.

Library Issues & Taking Action | Texas Library Association <http://capwiz.com/ala/tx/issues/alert/?alertid=22992501&amp;PROCESS=Take+Action>

II. Bill Update

TLA Platform Bills (Support)

SB 773 (Zaffirini)

Last Action02/18/2011 S Filed

Caption: Relating to telecommunications service discounts for educational institutions, libraries, hospitals, and telemedicine centers. This measure amends all sections of relevant statute to extend the discount program through 2024.

Bills Supported by TLA

HB 493 (Dutton)

Last Action02/17/2011 H Referred to Public Education

Caption: Relating to evaluation under the public school accountability system of the delivery of library resources. The measure would give the Commissioner of Education the option of including the delivery of library resources as a criterion for district accreditation.

HB 1505 (Munoz, Jr.)/ SB 784 by Hinojosa

Last Action02/18/2011 H Filed

Caption: Relating to librarians employed by school districts. The measure outlines that districts may employ a certified school librarian for campuses of over 500 students.

SB 784 (Hinojosa)/ HB 1505 by Munoz

Last Action02/18/2011 S Filed

Caption: Relating to librarians employed by school districts. The measure outlines that districts may employ a certified school librarian for campuses of over 500 students.

HB 1394 (Castro)

Last Action02/16/2011 H Filed

Caption: Relating to reports concerning the number of full-time librarians, counselors, and school nurses who are employed at a public school. The measure would require that campuses and districts report the number of listed full-time employees and include student ratio information.

Bills Being Monitored by TLA

HB 209 (Alonzo)

Last Action02/14/2011 H Referred to Technology

Caption: Relating to providing Internet access in certain local public libraries.

SB 834 (Deuell)

Last Action02/22/2011 S Filed

Caption: Relating to the update of discounted telecommunication services provided to educational institutions, libraries, hospitals, and health centers. This measure adds a health entity for discount eligibility and amends the a portion of statute to extend the discounts until 2020.

III. Legislative Day

TLA’s Legislative Day was held on February 16 in Austin. Almost 350 library supporters assembled at the Capitol to visit with legislative offices and make the case for library funding and programs. TLA delegates visited the offices of all state representatives and senators and were welcomed with commemorative resolutions by Reps. Anchía and Huberty in the House and by Sen. Nelson in the Senate. The day was capped by a legislative reception sponsored by TLA at the State Library.

TLA received over 2,000 postcards and messages from constituents statewide participating in the “What My Library Means to Me” campaign. These messages were included in the packages hand-delivered to legislative offices. The online surveys (through which people can submit comments about their libraries) will remain posted through annual conference. At that time, we hope to deliver another round of messages to legislative offices in conjunction with the TLA Rally to be held on April 13 on the steps of the Capitol.

TLA offers its deep thanks to all the delegate leaders, volunteers, delegates, and sponsors who helped make TLA Legislative Day possible.

Keep in mind that Legislative Day is only one day of advocacy, and the library community must maintain consistent and persistent communications with legislators throughout the session. Keep the letters and emails flowing to your elected officials.

 


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 Feb 24, 2011 | Last updated February 24, 2011