281: Call to Action on Telecom Bill; Budget Update

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Posted: May 23, 2011

In this issue:

I. CALL TO ACTION - Act Now on Telecom Bill

II. Budget Update

I. CALL TO ACTION: Act Now on Telecom Bill

Library supporters must act today (this morning if possible) to support library telecommunications legislation (SB 773). This crucial piece of legislation is scheduled to be heard today on the House floor. Please take 2 minutes to support library legislation. Go to Keep Broadband Affordable to automatically send a message to your representative.

This bill extends the current telecommunications discount program for libraries, schools, higher education, and non-profit hospitals for another 4 years. Without this measure, our public institutions may well face insurmountable broadband costs. Given the steep budget cuts already made to these institutions, the loss of this discount would place an added large burden on educational institutions. To learn more, see telecommunications discount program.

II. Budget Update

While the budget Conference Committee members are still working on finalizing the state’s budget, most areas of funding (including funding for Article I – general government, where funding for most library programs is assigned)  have been completed. Early last week, the conferees opted to take the lower House recommendation for TexShare funding ($2.5 million over the biennium). No additional funding for library programs was included. This minimal funding will result in the loss of many library programs. Coupled with the steep cuts to public education and higher education, the education community will face a challenging biennium ahead if this budget is adopted. TLA will continue to provide updates as the budget process is finalized and if any unexpected changes occur.

While advocates for many programs had hoped to have conferees reopen discussions, the focus of budget writers is strictly on education funding (Article III). The House and Senate have been involved in deliberations over the last week to come to some consensus to avoid a special session to deal with funding for education.  While some agreements have been reached, certain education legislation must be passed and the budget agreements must still be solidified.

For additional information about library programs, see Texline 280. While budget deliberations for most areas of the budget have, indeed, been closed out, library supporters may still contact their legislators’ offices to speak on the importance of funding library programs. You may go to TAKE ACTION! to send an email.

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.


Created on May 23, 2011 | Last updated May 23, 2011