Texline 296: Budget and Bill Update

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TEXLINE 296
Posted: May 17, 2013


Table of Contents

  1. Budget Update
  2. Bill Update

I.  BUDGET UPDATE

The 83rd Regular Legislative Session concludes on May 27, 2013. It is still unknown whether the Governor will call a Special Session to deal with water infrastructure issues and tax cuts.  At this late stage of the session, most measures that have not been approved by both the House and Senate will not move forward.

 The Conference Committee on SB 1 is completing its work finalizing the state’s budget for 2014-15. The Committee has opted to accept the higher Senate funding recommendations for funding for the State Library: the base budget plus $7.5 million for Shared Digital Content (cover additional funds for TexShare, K-12 database programming, and e-content), $600,000 for three FTE archivists, and $1 million for repairs to the Sam Houston Center in Liberty. When approved, the allocations mark a significant increase in funding for the State Library and library programs statewide.

If the final Appropriations Bill contains these recommendations, the State Library will begin the process of implementing the increases for statewide library resource sharing. For the K-12 community, the funding will translate into the opportunity to participate once again in statewide access to library databases. Lawmakers have given tentative approval for a funding model built on the TexShare system. School districts, like public and academic libraries, will be asked to cost-share some of the cost for database access. The great value of the statewide purchasing arrangement through the State Library will mean that districts will be able to access quality resources for a minimal but strategic investment.

 Currently, public and academic libraries cost share about 25% of the overall cost of the databases. The fee structure is created by librarians statewide and is based on the size and capacity of individual institutions. So, the less-affluent and smaller institutions pay on a smaller scale. The fee structure and the date of implementation for school libraries (probably sometime during the 2013-14 school year) are among the issue the State Library will address once funding is formalized (assuming passage of the recommendations in the final state budget).

For additional information about the Conference Committee, its members, advocacy for library funding, and process, see Texline 295.

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II. BILL UPDATE

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 left pending in Committee on Special Purpose Districts. TLA Supports. Status: failed to clear the committee.

HB 693 (Phillips): Allows a city water utility to include a customer donation option for a local library. TLA Supports.  Status: Placed on Senate Calendar.

HB 1025 (Pitts): Supplemental bill for current biennium; increase state librarian’s salary level. Status: Scheduled in Senate Finance.

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. Status: referred to Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.

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. Status: Placed on Senate Intent Calendar.

HB 2519 (Springer): Changes current statute to allow a county commissioners court to refuse to establish a county library even when a majority of voters submit a petition. TLA Opposes. Status: failed to clear the committee.

HB 2760 (Branch)/SB 922 (Birdwell, et. al.): 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. Status: Engrossed.

HB 2826 (King of Hemphill): Extends existing state telecommunications discount from January 1, 2016, to January 1, 2020. Status: failed to clear committee.

HB 2902 (Thompson of Brazoria):  allows for the imposition of fines and civil penalties for lost, damaged, or overdue county library property. TLA Supports. Status: Recommended for Senate Uncontested Calendar.

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. Status: House passage reported.

SB 583 (Carona): Repeals Section 56.025 of the Utilities Code. Committee substitute eliminated text regarding the creation of a commission to study the need for including Internet, high-speed Internet, or broadband services through the Universal Service Fund. Status: House passage as amended reported.

SB 667 (Seliger): Requiring a study by the Coordinating Board on the feasibility of collecting published research. Status: Engrossed.

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TEXLINE is an irregular e-newsletter that is sent whenever state library-related policy or legislative action is occurring. 

To subscribe to Texline, send an email to gloriam@txla.org and specify that you would like to be added to the Texline list.

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Created on May 17, 2013 | Last updated May 17, 2013