Legislative Issues

Illinois Legislation

100th Illinois General Assembly
2018 Spring Session

Oppose Bills Prohibiting the Use of Public Funds for Professional Development 

Two bills, which would restrict the use of public funds for professional development, have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. The ILA Public Policy Committee (PPC) is monitoring the situation closely and will take appropriate action as needed. 

PPC, the ILA Board, and ILA's legislative consultant are following the issue. It's early to determine if these bills are going to move through the legislative process. Bills similar to these are introduced every year, usually as a response to a media story about expenditures that a person or entity that seeks reimbursement has made. We will provide updates on this legislation.

Support Libraries through Funded Appropriations

Fully fund fiscal year 2019 state appropriations for the Illinois Secretary of State’s grant programs, equalization grants, and per capita grants for public libraries, school libraries, and library systems. Approve appropriations for the Illinois State Library and higher education institutions including state university and community college academic libraries for the benefit of students, their families, and our communities.

Oppose Additional Unfunded Mandates

Hundreds of unfunded mandates have been imposed on units of local government. Although libraries are among the smallest property tax recipients, opportunities to raise other sources of revenue to address mandate imposition are virtually non-existent. Consequently, additional unfunded mandates must often result in library service reductions, exacerbating the strain that has been placed on our schools, parks, and other community organizations. The Illinois Library Association encourages the legislature to support constructive mandate relief by permitting internet homepage postings to fulfill formal notice and publication requirements, permit electronic government record retention, and other cost saving proposals that are supported through technology.

Oppose Property Tax Freeze

A statewide property tax freeze preempts local control. Local library trustees' primary duty is to manage local revenues and expenditures. A freeze nullifies this most basic responsibility. A freeze is especially harmful when accompanied by unfunded mandates.

Illinois Library Association Initiatives

Extend to city, village, and township libraries the same budget flexibility allowed for public library districts

Through a supermajority vote by its boards of trustees, public library districts have the statutory authority to transfer previously appropriated funds between budget line-items to allow its governing body to responsibility manage district finances. However, the Illinois Local Library Act does not give this same authority to many city, village, and township libraries within our state. We expect a Senate bill to propose granting libraries organized under the Illinois Local Library Act the same flexibility that public library districts enjoy to appropriately manage their fiscal affairs.

Allow libraries to choose their preferred accounting method

Last year, the Illinois Comptroller notified units of local government that it would no longer permit government entities to file its annual audit statements prepared on the cash basis accounting method. Libraries have prepared and filed annual audit reports using the cash basis of accounting for decades. The requirement that governments must utilize the accrual method of accounting will result in additional costs for libraries and all units of local government. We anticipate a House bill to propose allowing libraries to file their audit statements using either the accrual or cash basis method of accounting.

Federal Legislation

115th U.S. Congress
Second Session

Support the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017

The Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 (S. 2271) has been introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The 2017 MLSA reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), showing congressional support for the federal agency and the funding it administers, including the Library Services Technology Act, the only federal program that exclusively covers services and funding for libraries. The LSTA provides more than $183 million for libraries through the Grants to States program, the National Leadership Grants for Libraries, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, and Native American Library Services. While the current 2018 budget proposal includes funding for IMLS at 2017 levels, the White House's proposed budget for 2019 eliminates IMLS; we urge elected officials to support IMLS and library funding throughout the 2018 and 2019 appropriations cycles.

Support Restoration and Preservation of Net Neutrality

The FCC recently voted to gut the net neutrality protections that limit the power of Internet Service Providers to slow websites, block mobile apps, or in any way control the information we access. Modern libraries rely on the Internet to collect, create and disseminate essential online information and services to the public. Strong, enforceable net neutrality rules are critical to keeping the Internet working the way it does now. The Congressional Review Act gives Congress the ability and authority to nullify the FCC’s actions by adopting a Resolution of Disapproval. Congress can and should vote to restore net neutrality and protect the free and open Internet. Access ILA's Net Neutrality resources.

Support Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants

H.R. 4508 proposes to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which allows librarians and others who work in low-income and disadvantaged communities (including rural, urban, and suburban) to have some of their student loans erased after making loan payments for 10 years. This program has encouraged many early-career librarians with MLIS degrees to choose communities that truly need qualified librarians; places that especially need literacy services, jobs skills training programs, and community building expertise, all of which librarians do. Instead, support S. 1412, the Strengthening Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants Act, S. 1412 in the Senate and H.R. 3206 in the House.

Protect the Right to Research

H.R. 3427, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), would ensure that scientific research paid for by tax dollars can be freely accessed by taxpayers. Every federal agency that significantly funds research would have to adopt a policy to provide for free online public access to research articles resulting from that public funding. Access to this research would help all libraries to provide their patrons with access to cutting-edge scientific information. 

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