Texline 291:

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TEXLINE 291
Posted: March 20, 2013


Table of Contents

  1. Budget Update and Preparing for Next Stage of Budget Actions
  2. Bill Update

I. BUDGET UPDATE AND PREPARING FOR NEXT STAGE OF BUGET ACTIONS

State budget writers in both the House and the Senate are concluding their budget recommendations. Soon, the full House and Senate will consider the chambers’ respective versions of the bill as drafted by the budget writing committees. Note all the numbers represent a total for the two-year biennium. The recommendations are as follows:

House

Recommended funding: Agency’s current funding PLUS $7,250,000 for Shared Digital Content (amount includes funding for TexShare, K-12 database access, and additional e-content). The agency requested a total of $9,250,000 for this item. The $2 million not funded in this request was pended in Article XI of the proposed state budget.

Note: Article XI is basically a state "wish list" for items to be funded should the legislature have additional funds to spend. While items in Article XI are not funded, as included items within the budget document, budget writers can continue to deliberate on these items until both chambers approve a final version of the Appropriations Bill at the end of the session. In other words, library supporters can continue to advocate for funding for items in Article XI. Items not funded or included in Article XI are technically no longer eligible for consideration.

Other items placed in Article XI: $3,400,000 for the Partnerships for Innovation Grants for all types of libraries and a combined $1,450,000 for archives staff; and $64,000 increase for the salary of the State Librarian.

The House Appropriations Committee is also looking to support $1 million for renovations at the Sam Houston Center in Liberty.

Senate

Recommended funding: Agency’s current funding PLUS $7,496,992 for Shared Digital Content (amount includes funding for TexShare, K-12 database access, and additional e-content) and $1,250,000 for archives staff.

Other items placed Article XI: $1,753,008 for Shared Digital Content (amount not funded in the agency’s budget); $3,400,000 for the Partnerships for Innovation Grants for all types of libraries; and $200,000 for archives staff.

The Senate Finance Committee is also looking to support $1 million for renovations at the Sam Houston Center in Liberty.

Federal Funds

The State’s ability to receive full federal funding applicable for 2015 in contingent on Texas making a persuasive case for a waiver of federal requirements. Our best argument is to show a strong reinvestment is statewide library programming. We need the legislature to fund the library programs requested.

Next Stages

The work remaining is for library supporter to continue promoting library funding initiatives (including those not yet funded) in the State Library’s budget through the House and Senate floor votes on HB 1 and SB 1, respectively. Floor debate may begin within the next few days. There may be some floor amendments to support library funding. All librarians and library supporters should be ready to call or email their legislators to ask for supportive votes in these matters. It is absolutely crucial for every legislator to hear from constituents to support any floor measures offered to increase funding for libraries.

Following the floor proceedings, the House and Senate will have to reconcile the differences in their respective versions of the budget. This process happens through a specially-appointed Conference Committee. This stage is the 4th quarter of the game, and all library supporters must remain vigilant and active. The Conference Committee will likely begin its work in mid to late April.

The Ongoing Message

Please ask your legislators to support libraries by voting to fund initiatives supporting statewide library programs through the State Library and Archives Commission.

These programs are:

Shared Digital Content – $9.25 million over the biennium for digital (electronic) materials for all types of libraries. Resources include curriculum materials, college preparation, research, job searching, career and test preparation, and other assistance in helping people reach their economic goals.

Innovation Partnership Grants – $3.4 million/ biennium for training and programming built on local partnerships and innovative practices to advance educational attainment, workforce development, and written and digital literacy.

Why we need this funding:

  • Texas libraries are struggling since the loss of statewide funding last session.
  • The partial restoration of state funds will help deploy the workforce and educational resources Texans have come to rely upon.
  • Without a reinstatement of state funds, the State Library may be unable to make a successful case to the federal government for a continuation of crucially needed federal dollars for Texas libraries.  Because of the state cuts last session, Texas may lose up to another $9 million in federal funds in 2015! We need these funds to support TexShare, library programming, and interlibrary loan.

Combined, these items come to less than half of what was cut from library services last year.  But if funded, libraries will be able to continue state programming in 2014-15 and be in a position to continue to receive the state’s allocation of federal funds.

Here’s what you do to contact your legislators’ offices.

  1. First, if you don’t know who represents you or how to contact their offices, go to: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx
  2. Second, download TLA’s one pager at: http://www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/2013%20Overview.pdf
  3. Make contact with their offices! If you call, you can ask to speak with the staffer in charge of the budget process or library funding.

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II. Bill Update

The list below comprised proposed legislation that TLA is monitoring. To access the language of the bills, go to: www.capitol.state.tx.us and click the bill search radio button and enter the bill number.

HB 374 (Guillen): Allows local development corporations the option of undertaking projects related to community libraries. Bill not heard in Special Purpose on 3/13/13.

HB 693 (Phillips): Allows a city water utility to include a customer donation option to a local library. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources.

HB 1025 (Pitts) Supplemental Appropriation (Pitts): Raises the salary for the State Librarian. Hearing set on 3/21/13 in House Appropriations.

HB 1029 (Greg Bonnen)/ SB 286 (Hinojosa): Includes professional educator (definition specifies full-time librarians as specified in the Education Code) as eligible for affordable housing loan program. Hearing set in Urban Affairs on 3/20/13.

HB 2519 (Springer): Clarifies that a county commissioners court may establish a county library on petition. Referred to County Affairs.

HB 2760 (Branch)/SB 922: Allows Texas Technical State College and Community Colleges to partner for the delivery of technical education, including the sharing of library resources. The statute would remove any statutory barriers that might prevent such collaboration. Referred to Higher Education.

HB 2127 (Howard)/SB 1055 (Watson): Allows adjunct faculty who are professional librarians to participate in group benefit programs at a public institution of higher education. Left pending in House Pensions.

HB 2826 (King of Hemphill): Extends existing state telecommunications discount from January 1, 2016, to January 1, 2020. Referred to State Affairs.

HB 2902 (Thompson): Adds statutory language to allow a county library to establish the regulations for library fines, including collections and civil penalties. Referred to County Affairs.

SB 286 (Hinojosa)/ HB 1029 (Bonnen): Includes professional educator (definition specifies full-time librarians as specified in the Education Code) as eligible for affordable housing loan program. Referred to Intergovernmental Relations.

SB 583 (Carona): Repeals Section 56.025 of the Utilities Code and creates a commission to study the need for including Internet, high-speed Internet, or broadband services through the Universal Service Fund. Referred to Business and Commerce.

SB 667 (Seliger): Requires the State Library to undertake a study on the feasibility of collecting published research. Referred to Open Government.

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Created on Mar 20, 2013 | Last updated March 20, 2013