Committed to serving as an advocate for Illinois libraries
ILA monitors all bills in the Illinois General Assembly that affect libraries. ILA's Public Policy Committee carefully reviews issues and recommends action: support, oppose, or monitor. We seek to indicate "monitor" status only as we are gathering information about a bill; the goal is to ultimately support or oppose laws that will affect libraries. In rare cases the impact on libraries remains unclear, or there is not consensus among librarians whether to support or oppose, but in general we try to avoid not taking a position.
In addition to monitoring bills, ILA proactively proposes and advocates for legislation favorable to libraries; drafting changes to existing law or new law, finding sponsors for bills we wish to bring forward, and then garnering support and following the process through passage in both the House and Senate, through signature into law by the Governor.
101st Illinois General Assembly, 2019 Spring Session
Illinois Library Association Initiatives
Refining language and making consistent for district and municipal libraries the current qualifications for serving as a library trustee: Public Act 100-1476/HB 2222, signed into law in September 2018, updated trustee eligibility to those who had lived in the district for at least one year, those who are not "in arrears in the payment of a tax or other indebtedness due to the library district," and those who have not been convicted of a crime. ILA seeks first to change "payment of a tax or other indebtedness due to the library district" to "payment of a property tax;" primarily over concerns about breaching patron privacy. Second, we seek to have this law also apply to elected trustees under the Local Library Act so that municipal libraries and district libraries are treated consistently. SB 1149 has been introduced for this purpose. As of the close of the spring session, the bill passed the Senate unanimously and an amendment was added in the House to exclude the Chicago Public Library. The bill will likely be heard during the fall 2019 veto session.
Continue to work with our partner organization, the Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE) on an eventual goal to have a licensed school librarian in all schools in the state. ILA and AISLE recognize this is a long-term goal with interim steps, strategic alliances, and other approaches to be developed. ILA will continue to work with AISLE to outline a strategy. Currently, there are several pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly:
-HJR 9 Media Literacy Task Force: ILA and AISLE support this legislation, and had advocated for the addition of a licensed school librarian as one of the appointees. No such explicit addition was made, although school librarians are certainly eligible to serve. As of the close of the spring session, it is on the Calendar Order of Resolutions and we expect to be adopted in the fall. At that time ILA and AISLE will submit a nomination to the appointing official.
-HR 10 No EDTPA: This legislation, which proposes eliminating the EDTPA test as a requirement for professional educator licensure in Illinois, was adopted and is a non-binding recommendation to the Illinois State Board of Education.
-HB 256 No Videotaping: This legislation, which proposes no longer requiring a videotape of a student teacher in the classroom as a requirement for professional educator licensure in Illinois, passed the House but did not pass the Senate. It was re-referred to the Senate Assignments Committee.
-HB 1559 Media Literacy: This legislation, which proposes a school may include media literacy in its curriculum, passed the House but was not considered by the Senate committee deadline and was re-referred to the Senate Assignments Committee.
Additional Illinois Legislation
- HB 305 Municipal Convention Expenses (identical to HB 2075): ILA opposed this legislation, which would preclude the use of public funds for participation in continuing education events by librarians, library staff, and trustees. As of the close of the spring session, it did not advance.
- HB 307 Citizens Empowerment Act: ILA opposed this legislation, which would enable referenda to dissolve units of local government, on the grounds that library service is a public good and it is our goal to increase access to information and resources, not decrease it. As of the close of the spring session, it did not advance.
- HB 317, HB 320, HB 821, HB 924, HB 2320, HB 2630, HB 2835, HB 3281, SB 81, SB 1553, SB 1632 Property Tax Freezes: ILA opposes tax-freeze legislation, which preempts local control. Local library trustees’ and school boards' 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. As of the close of the spring session, none of these bills advanced.
- HB 910 Library Elect-Appointed Board: ILA opposed this legislation, which seeks to allow a referendum for the city of Aurora to make its library board elected rather than appointed. ILA supports the rights of Aurora city residents to determine how their library board should be composed; there is already provision in state law for voters to convert a city library (which has an appointed board) to a district library (which has an elected board). As of the close of the spring session, after the City of Aurora declined to vigorously oppose, the bill had passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor's office for signature.
- HB 933 Libraries--Securities & Assets and HB 3135 Local Accumulation of Funds: ILA opposed this legislation for the same reason we oppose property tax freezes; it pre-empts local control by boards and governing bodies. As of the close of the spring session, these bills will not advance.
- HB 1582 Broadband Procurement and Disclosure: ILA supported this legislation, which protects net neutrality and would require any service providers doing business with the state to disclose any activity that abridges that principal, such as "throttling," or creating "fast lanes" for internet content. As of the close of the spring session, this bill will not advance, primarily due to the fact that there is pending litigation on the Federal level regarding net neutrality protections. Illinois is one of 22 states plus the District of Columbia whose attorney general has joined in a suit against the FCC to restore the protections.
- HB 1637 Immigration Status: ILA supported this legislation, which keeps the responsibility for federal immigration status enforcement under its appropriate jurisdiction, not local schools or libraries, to ensure that these facilities remain safe and accessible to all Illinois residents. As of the close of the spring session, this bill had passed both chambers and has been sent to the Governor's office for signature.
- HB 2207 Public Office-Prohibited Acts: ILA opposed this on intellectual freedom grounds; this bill would prohibit units of government from opposing unit consolidation and elimination bills. As of the close of the spring session, this bill will not advance.
- HB 2283 Open Meetings Posting Records: ILA opposed this legislation because it would require public expenditure to gather public information already available currently. As of the close of the spring session, this bill will not advance.
- HB 2993 Libraries-Territory Annexation: ILA opposed this legislation that would require a front-door referendum for annexing currently-unserved areas into a library district, on the grounds that library service is a public good and the burden should be on those who seek to limit it, rather than on those who seek to expand it. As of the close of the spring session, the bill passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor's office for signature. However, a provision to enable disconnecting annexed territory, which had appeared in previous versions of the bill, was eliminated by amendment.
- HB 3147 Open Meetings Act-Notice: ILA opposed this legislation because it would establish unreasonable public notice requirements. As of the close of the spring session, this bill will not advance.
- HB 3599 FOIA Government Associations and HB 3603 FOIA Government Associations: ILA opposed these identical bills, which would make "membership associations" as defined in the acts subject to FOIA. We oppose on the grounds that non-governmental members of such associations would be deterred from participation in such groups due to concern about being subject to FOIA requests. Note: ILA itself would not be subject to this law in any case, according to the current definition of "membership associations." As of the close of the spring session, these bills will not advance.
- SB 1216 FOIA-Fail to Disclose-Penalty: ILA opposed this legislation, which transfers the burden of proof of the need for a FOIA request from the requestor, to proof of a FOIA request's grounds for denial by the unit of government. As of the close of the spring session, this bill will not advance.
Support Libraries through Funded Appropriations
Fully fund fiscal year 2020 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. Libraries are among the smallest property tax recipients, and opportunities to raise other sources of revenue to address mandate imposition are virtually non-existent. Consequently, unfunded mandates often result in library service reductions, exacerbating the strain that has been placed on our schools, parks, and other community organizations.