Texline 297: Summary of the 83rd Regular Legislative Session

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TEXLINE 297
Posted: May 29, 2013


Table of Contents

  1. Budget Update
  2. Bill Update

I.  BUDGET UPDATE

The 83rd Regular Legislative Session concluded on May 27, 2013. The session yielded some important victories for libraries.

The finalized Appropriations Bill for 2014-15 funds current State Library operations and increases funding for Shared Digital content by almost $7.5 million (covers 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. The Legislature also approved an increase in the salary level for the state librarian position.

One of the outcomes of this funding increase is for the K-12 community which will be able to participate once again in statewide access to library databases. Lawmakers approved an operational model built on the TexShare system. School districts, like public and academic libraries, will be asked to cost-share some of the expense 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 contribute about 30% 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 issues the State Library and the TexShare Advisory Board will address.

Another result of the funding increase is that the State Library will be able to include the new appropriations level in its request to the Institute of Museum and Library Services as the State Library moves forward to seek a waiver for Texas on the maintenance of effort requirement. By way of background, Texas failed to meet the maintenance of effort requirement for federal funds for 2012 (and beyond) because of the budget cuts last session (the 82nd). A waiver is needed if the State Library is to receive all or most of the funds for which Texas is eligible for library services. The waiver petition is due in Washington at the end of June.

The Governor has called back the Legislature for a special session to deal with redistricting. It is possible that the Governor may open up the session to other areas for action. The Governor has until June 16 to sign or veto any legislation from the regular session, including the Appropriations Bill. Any bills not signed by that date automatically become law.

 

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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: Passed.

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

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: Passed.

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: Passed.

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: Passed.

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: Passed.

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: Passed.

SB 667 (Seliger): Requiring a study by the Coordinating Board on the feasibility of collecting published research. Status: failed to clear House Calendars Committee.

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Created on May 29, 2013 | Last updated May 29, 2013