Texline 292: URGENT CALL TO ACTION: House to consider budget and library funding amendments on Thursday

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TEXLINE 292
Posted: April 1, 2013


Table of Contents

  1. Budget Update: URGENT CALL TO ACTION: House to consider budget and library funding amendments on Thursday
  2. Bill Update
  3. Past Vote – How Legislators Voted for Libraries in 2011: What did your rep do?

I. BUDGET UPDATE AND CALL TO ACTION ON HOUSE FLOOR AMENDMENTS

House: The full House of Representatives will consider its version of the state budget (SB 1, or the Appropriations Bill) on Thursday, April 4.  Two amendments have been filed to increase funding recommendations for library programs! The funding included so far in the budget for library programs is contained within the budget of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The recommendations are as follows: 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 is listed in Article XI of the proposed state budget. (See note on Article XI below.)

House Floor Amendments:  

1)     Rep. Philip Cortez of San Antonio has filed an amendment to increase the appropriations to the State Library for  Library Resource Sharing by $2 million over the biennium. If passed, the amendment would fully fund the State Library request for needed shared digital content funding for the next biennium.

2)     Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio has filed an amendment to fund the grant program for all types of libraries. The State Library had requested $3.4 million over the biennium for this purpose, but the current budget proposal includes the grant program in Article XI. (See below.) If the amendment passes, the House version of the budget would carry over this item as a funded priority in deliberations with the Senate.

It is CRUCIAL that all library supporters contact their representatives and ask them to vote favorably on these amendments. Last session, an amendment which would have restored some funding to libraries failed because many representatives did not hear from supporters and voted against the measure. To see a list of how members voted two years ago on the library issue, go to the bottom of this message.

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

Senate: The Senate finalized its version of the budget. The recommendations for the State Library are as follows:  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.

Federal Funds:The State’s ability to receive full federal funding applicable for 2015 is 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: Once the House finalizes its version of the budget, the House and Senate will reconcile the differences in their respective versions of the budget. This process happens through a specially-appointed conference committee. As many library funding initiatives are contained in Article XI of the budget,  library supporters must remain active and continue to advocate for funding. 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:

  1. Shared Digital Content 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.
  2. Innovation Partnership Grants for training and programming  are 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 full 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 - http://www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/2013%20Overview.pdf - on TLA’s issues.
  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. Tell them that you would like your legislator to support libraries by voting for library funding amendments on Thursday, April 4.
  4. Send an email by going to: http://www.capwiz.com/ala/tx/issues/alert/?alertid=62557816&type=ST&show_alert=1.

For more library advocacy information, go to Advocate.

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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 for a local library. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources.

HB 1025 (Pitts) Supplemental Appropriation (Pitts): Raises the salary for the State Librarian. Left pending 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. Reported favorably out of Urban Affairs w/o amendments 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. Scheduled for hearing in Higher Education on 4/3/13.

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. Testimony taken in 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. Left pending in 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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III. PAST (2011) VOTE ON LIBRARY FUNDING

The following information was published in May 2011, after the House floor debate on the 82nd Legislature’s Appropriations Bill.

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.  During the 82nd Legislative 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

Note: Rep. Simpson introduced his own amendment to restore funding for libraries.

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Created on Apr 1, 2013 | Last updated April 01, 2013