Texline 277: Call to Action - Bill Update

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Posted: April 17, 2011


In this issue:

I. Call to Action and Bill Update

II. TLA Rally

III. Keep Contacting Legislators


I. Bill Update

Bills with recent activity; Supported by TLA

Call to Action:

HB 1505 (Munoz, Jr.) has been set for hearing on Tuesday, April 19, in the House Public Education Committee. This bill is a permissive piece of legislation crafted to encourage school districts to employ certified school librarians at elementary campuses. The bill does not mandate districts to follow any action, but discussion of the role of school librarians before the committee is an important step. TLA thanks Rep. Muñoz for his support of school librarians. To send an email to your House member, go to: Support School Librarians. Please customize your message.

Library supporters are encouraged to contact their House representative and members of the House Public Education Committee on the importance of school librarians. In particular, it is important that lawmakers understand that:

1) HB 1505 encourages districts to employ school librarians in elementary schools and, as such, recognizes the vital teaching role of school librarians.

2) School librarians are teachers, and they work directly with students in meeting state standards. Excluding school librarians from any definition of instructional staff creates an artificial distinction and fails to accurately access the actual teaching role of school librarians.

3) Because Texas has no mechanism to enforce the state’s standards for school libraries, students across the state often suffer from limited access to library programs or do not benefit for the instruction of librarians in areas such as research, reading, and technology skills.

4) As the state moves to higher accountability standards, school librarians are needed more than ever. Numerous studies, including one conducted in Texas, show the positive impact strong school library programs have on student achievement.

5) State policy should formally categorize librarians as teachers and metrics for school library programs should be included in the campus and district distinction categories passed by the 81st Legislature in HB 3.

Members of the Committee: Rep. Rob Eissler (Chair); Rep. Scott Hochberg (Vice-Chair); Rep. Alma Allen; Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock; Rep. Harold Dutton, Jr.; Rep. Ryan Guillen; Rep. Dan Huberty; Rep. Mark Shelton; Rep. Todd Smith; Rep. Mark Strama; and Rep. Randy Weber.

Additional TLA-supported bills with recent activity

SB 773 (Zaffirini): The bill extends the state’s telecommunications discount for libraries, schools, and higher education. The bill was amended during the committee process, and the bill would now extend the discount program for another four years. TLA supports the committee substitute. (For additional information, see telecommunications discount program.) Last Action: Placed on Senate Intent Calendar, 4/18/11. Please send an email in support of this legislation, click on keep broadband affordable.

HB 2139 (Guillen): Relating to authorizing the State Library to create an “Adopt-a-Library” program. Last Action: 4/3/11 House Committee report send to Local and Consent Calendar.

HB 2765 (Gallego): Relating to the update of discounted telecommunication services provided to educational institutions, libraries, hospitals, and health centers. This bill contains the same language as SB 773. Last Action: Reported favorably from House State Affairs on 4/13.

HB 3283(Guillen): Relating to the authority of certain development corporations to undertake projects with respect to community libraries. Last Action: 4/13/11: The bill was left pending in committee.

SB 784 (Hinojosa) (companion to Muñoz bill): Relating to librarians employed by school districts. The measure outlines that districts may employ a certified school librarian for elementary campuses of over 500 students. Last Action Referred to Senate Education. To send an email to legislators on the value of school librarians, click on School Librarians ARE Teachers.

SB 1488  (West): Relating to the purchasing and contracting practices of junior college districts; providing criminal penalties. The bill includes (TLA supported) statutory language permitting exceptions for library purchases. Last ActionSet for hearing in Higher Education on April 20.

Other Bills

HB 1553 (Larson): Relating to citizenship information reported by persons, including state agencies, political subdivisions of this state, nonprofit organizations, and public and private entities, who receive local or state money to provide services. The bill would require entities receiving state funding to: determine the citizenship of any persons receiving services, determine a cost of those services; and report on those transactions to the state. Last Action: 4/13/11: The bill was left pending in committee.

II. TLA Rally

TLA thanks the community of passionate and LOUD library supporters who assembly at the Texas Capitol on April 13 to support increased funding for libraries. We also offer our very deep thanks to Rep. Rafael Anchía (Dallas), Rep. Roland Gutierrez (San Antonio), and Rep. Joe Deshotel (Beaumont) who addressed the crowd of an estimated 2,500 supporters. The event was capped off with stirring speeches by authors Carmen Tafolla and Richard Peck.

The rally was covered by many media stations (see TLA’s Facebook page for links to some of the coverage) and carried the message: restore funding for Texas libraries.

III. KEEP CONTACTING LEGISLATORS!

The budget process is far from over, and library supporters are urged to continue contacting legislators in both the House and Senate about the need to restore library funding. If your representative serves on the Appropriations Committee or if your senator serves on the Senate Finance Committee, it is particularly important that you contact them. We must redouble our efforts and contact legislators today. Go to TAKE ACTION! to send an email. Please customize the message.

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.

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Created on Apr 17, 2011 | Last updated April 17, 2011