274: URGENT ACTION NEEDED (House Budget Amendments)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

Posted: March 30, 2011


In this issue:

  1. Urgent BUDGET ACTION IS NEEDED! House Floor Amendments
  2. Telecom Bill
  3. Finance Committee Recommendations
  4. Keep Contacting Legislators

I. Urgent BUDGET Action is Needed

Funding for statewide library programs is in jeopardy, and we are at a critical point in budget deliberations. The Texas House of Representatives will consider the Appropriations Committee’s recommended budget for 2012 – 2013. While this new proposed budget restores $2.5 million ($1.25 m/ year) for TexShare, state funds were not restored to Loan Star Libraries and the K-12 Databases.

Through the commitment and leadership of Rep. Roland Gutierrez (San Antonio) and Rep. Rafael Anchía (Dallas), three amendments will be offered during the House Floor deliberations on Friday, April 1.

It is IMPERATIVE that all library supporters contact their State House representative and ask them to speak in support of the following three amendments and to vote in favor of them:

  • Amendment by Anchía to appropriate $1,500,000 each year of the biennium to Loan Star Libraries in the bill pattern for the Library and Archives Commission.
  • Amendment by Gutierrez to appropriate $2,500,000 to Rider 7 Contingency for the K-12 Databases in the Library and Archives Commission budget.
  • Amendment by Gutierrez to appropriate $2,000,000 to Library Resource Sharing to the Library and Archives Commission.

The budget for the Library and Archives Commission as proposed in the bill that will be debated on Friday still represents a 64% cut in state funds to the Library and Archives Commission. This disproportionate cut to library programs will affect every school, public library, and institution of higher education  -- and the millions of people they serve. All we are asking for is minimal funding to keep these three key programs operational over the coming two years.

ACT NOW!  Click on Vote for Library Services Amendments to email your representative. Please edit the email text to reflect your own thoughts. The more individual and personal the messages, the better!

II. Telecom Bill

The House State Affairs Committee will hear testimony on critical telecommunications legislation today. See the agenda. The Committee added  HB 3258  by Strama (the House companion to SB 773 by Zaffirini) to the hearing schedule yesterday. HB 3235 extends the state’s telecommunications discount for libraries, schools, and higher education. The bill is supported by TLA. Please contact your representative (especially if assigned to the State Affairs Committee). (For additional information, see Texline 271 and telecommunications discount program.) To send an email in support of this legislation, click on keep broadband affordable.

The committee will also hear testimony on HB 2765 (Gallego, Chisum), which also relates 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.

House State Affairs Committee members are: Bryon Cook (Chair), José Menendez (Vice Chair), Tom Craddick, John Frullo, Pete Gallego, Charlie Geren, Patricia Harless, Harvey Hilderbran, Dan Huberty, Rene Oliveira, John Smithee, Burt Solomons, and Sylvester Turner. 

III. Senate Finance Committee Recommendations

The full Senate Finance Committee accepted recommendations today for the State Library and Archives Commission budget. The Committee approved a restoration of $3.5 million/biennium for TexShare and some changes to rider language. The Committee did not recommend funds for Loan Star Libraries or the K-12 Databases.

IV. KEEP CONTACTING LEGISLATORS!

The budget process is far from over, and library supporters are urged to continue contacting elected officials (in both the House and Senate) about the need to restore library funding. The Conference Budget Committee will still have to finalize the budget in April and May. We must keep contacting elected officials throughout the session.

  • Go to: TAKE ACTION! Recruit friends and supporters to send messages.
  • Join the Save Libraries Cause on Facebook.
  • Sign the Save Libraries Petition.
  • Send faxes and make phone calls.
  • Post messages on social media sites.

Here’s a sample Facebook message (with links) to keep up the advocacy. 

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>

 


TEXLINE is an irregular e-newsletter that is sent whenever state library-related policy or legislative action is occurring.  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.

TEXLINE INDEX

Created on Mar 30, 2011 | Last updated March 30, 2011