282: 82nd Regular Legislative Session Review

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Posted: May 31, 2011


In this issue:

82nd Regular Legislative Session Review

I. Budget

II. Bills

III. Vote for Funding for Specific Library Initiative

IV. Thanks


I. 82nd Regular Session Review: Budget

The House and Senate voted to approve HB 1, the state’s budget bill. The final version settled on the House recommendations for library funding in Article I of the budget (where funding for the State Library is found). The budget restores $2.5 million over the biennium for TexShare but does not include funding for the K-12 databases, Loan Star Libraries (direct aid for public libraries), or other library programs at the agency. The final budget did restore the State Law Library.

The budget also makes significant cuts to higher education and public education (as well as all other areas). The Technology Allotment at the Texas Education Agency was eliminated. Instead, a general funding source (the new Instructional Materials Allotment) was created. From this source, textbooks and other instructional materials are to be funded. According to TEA, districts may use that funding source to pay for subscription databases supporting the TEKS. However, HB 6 (which authorized the Instructional Materials Allotment) died in the waning hours of the Regular Session. Sen. Shapiro has recently filed SB 6, reintroducing the new Instructional Materials Allotment. A bill is set for a hearing on Thursday.

While lawmakers came up with a school finance plan during the Regular Session, last minute Senate action prevented the passage of legislation that would determine how the reduced funding for K-12 education would be implemented among school districts. While HB 1 includes some $4 billion in cuts to public education, lawmakers must now pass a legislation to replace the current funding formula with a system to distribute the funds allocated under HB 1. A Special Session began today to deal with the issue of school finance and related matters.

It is possible that the Governor may open up the call of the Special Session to include other policy matters. At this point, key lawmakers have stated that the budget will not be revisited – only the policy discussions to implement the funding decisions embedded in the final Appropriations Bill (HB 1).

II. 82nd Regular Session Review: Bills

Passed

SB 773 (Zaffirini; Sp. Gallego) –  Extends current state telecommunications discount program for libraries, schools, institutions of higher education, and non-profit hospitals for another four years. Passed and sent to the Governor.

HB 2139 (Guillen): Relating to authorizing the State Library to create an “Adopt-a-Library” program. Passed and sent to the Governor.

Did Not Pass

HB 209 (Alonzo) : Relating to providing Internet access in certain local public libraries. Was not heard in Committee.

HB 493 (Dutton): 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. Was not heard in Committee.

HB 1394 (Castro): 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. Was not heard in Committee.

HB 1505 (Munoz, Jr.)/ SB 784 (Hinojosa): Relating to librarians employed by school districts. The measure outlines that districts may employ a certified school librarian for campuses of over 500 students. Was not passed out of Committee.

HB 2879 (King, Phil):  Relating to the abolishment of the Texas Historical Commission and the transfer of its duties to the Parks and Wildlife Commission, the General Land Office, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Was not heard in Committee.

HB 3283(Guillen): Relating to the authority of certain development corporations to undertake projects with respect to community libraries. Was not heard in the Senate.

HB 3367 (White): Relating to the repeal of the laws authorizing the imposition of ad valorem taxes, the rates and expansion of the applicability of state and local sales and use taxes, the distribution of sales and use tax revenue to entities formerly imposing ad valorem taxes, and the replacement of ad valorem tax revenue in relation to financing public schools. Note some impact to library districts. Was not heard in Committee. 

SB 834 (Deuell)/HB 2765 (Gallego, Chisum): 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. Merged with SB 773.

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. Did not pass the House.

III. Legislator Vote on Specific Library Initiative Funding

TLA is often asked “which legislators voted for library funding?”  In the case of the budget (in most instances), most lawmakers vote on the entire Appropriations Bill (all areas of the budget), not just one particular area.  This session, however, one specific House proposal to add an amendment to the state budget for library funding did receive a record vote. The motion failed. The information below is as reported in the House Journal, Friday, April 1, 2011.

On the Proposed Amendment to HB 1 by Anchía to appropriate $3 million/biennium to Loan Star Libraries (Direct Aid to Public Libraries):

Yeas:  Alonzo; Anchia; Anderson, C.; Bohac; Bonnen; Burkett; Burnam; Castro; Christian; Davis, Y.; Driver; Dukes; Dutton; Farias; Farrar; Flynn; Geren; Gooden; Gutierrez; Hamilton; Harless; Harper-Brown; Hernandez Luna; Hopson; Huberty; King, S.; King, T.; Kolkhorst; Lozano; Lucio; Margo; Marquez; Martinez; Martinez Fischer; McClendon; Menendez; Muñoz; Naishtat; Oliveira; Pickett; Pitts; Quintanilla; Raymond; Reynolds; Rodriguez; Scott; Sheets; Sheffield; Smith, T.; Strama; Thompson; Truitt; Villarreal; Vo; Walle.

Nays:  Aliseda; Anderson, R.; Aycock; Beck; Berman; Branch; Brown; Button; Cain; Callegari; Chisum; Coleman; Cook; Craddick; Creighton; Crownover; Darby; Davis, J.; Davis, S.; Eissler; Elkins; Fletcher; Frullo; Garza; Giddings; Gonzales, L.; Gonzales, V.; Gonzalez; Hancock; Hardcastle; Hartnett; Hochberg; Howard, C.; Howard, D.; Hughes; Isaac; Jackson; Keffer; King, P.; Kleinschmidt; Kuempel; Landtroop; Larson; Laudenberg; Lavender; Legler; Lewis; Lyne; Madden; Miles; Miller, D.; Miller, S.; Morrison; Murphy; Nash; Orr; Otto; Parker; Patrick; Paxton; Perry; Phillips; Price; Riddle; Schwertner; Shelton; Simpson; Smith, W.; Smithee; Taylor, L.; Taylor, P.; Torres; Turner; Weber; White; Woolley; Workman; Zedler; Zerwas.

Present, not voting: Mr. Speaker; Carter; Deshotel; Eiland; Guillen; Johnson; Mallory Caraway; Peña; Ritter(C).

  • Absent, Excused: Allen; Hilderbran.
  • Absent, Excused, Committee Meeting: Alvarado; Solomons; Veasey.
  • Absent: Gallego; Hunter.

Correcting statements on the vote:

  • I was shown voting yes on Record No. 226. I intended to vote no. Flynn
  • When Record No. 226 was taken, I was in the house but away from my desk. I would have voted no. Gallego
  • When Record No. 226 was taken, I was in the house but away from my desk. I would have voted no. Hunter
  • I was shown voting no on Record No. 226. I intended to vote yes. Miles

IV. Thanks

TLA offers it deep thanks to the members of the Legislature who actively championed library funding and programs. We extend our gratitude and appreciation to: Rep. Rafael Anchìa (Dallas); Rep. Roland Gutierrez (San Antonio); Rep. David Simpson (Longview); Sen. Judith Zaffirini (Laredo); and Sen. Juan Hinojosa (McAllen). We also thank Reps. Harold Dutton (Houston), Sergio Muñoz (Mission), Joaquin Castro (San Antonio), and Ryan Guillen (Laredo) for filing and supporting legislation to support librarians and libraries.

The Association owes a great deal to the articulate testimony of TLA members and library supporters who often spent many, many hours waiting to testify at the various budget and bill hearings.  We thank: Naomi Bates, Steve Brown, Cindy Buchanan, Megan Cooper, Leah Filzow-Perez, Carolyn Foote, Carlyn Gray, Paul Gray, Marilyn Powers, Dale Ricklefs, Larry Ringer, Martha Rinn, Gene Rollins, and Julie Todaro. We also thank all the TLA Legislative Day delegate leaders, Legislative Day attendees and volunteers, agency staff who assisted with information, our Legislative Day sponsors (Britannica Digital Learning; EBSCO Information Services; Highsmith, Inc.; and Polaris Library Systems), our legislative rally and activities sponsors (EBSCO Information Services, Gale Cengage Learning, Lee& Low Books, Accelerated Learning, and Troxell Communications), and all library supporters who took the time to contact legislative offices.

 


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Created on May 31, 2011 | Last updated June 01, 2011