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 (PPC) 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. ILA's Quick Response Team addresses legislative issues that arise in between PPC meetings. Contact the PPC Chair, or read PPC meeting minutes, agendas, and reports to the ILA Executive Board here.
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, 2020 Spring Session
The Illinois General Assembly completed its four-day special session on May 23, 2020 with the passage of the FY2021 budget and appropriations package, including the Secretary of State's requested budget; and several omnibus amendments designed for COVID-19 response.
- Governor Pritzker signed the FY2020-21 budget (Public Act 101-0638) on June 12, 2020, and this budget includes increases in the per capita grant rate for both school and public libraries, from $0.75 per student to $0.885; and from $1.25 per resident to $1.475. These statutory amounts have not been raised since 1995. This success is a direct result of long-term advocacy on the part of all of our members to make the case for libraries' value to our elected officials, and a specific proposal from ILA this year. We thank Governor Pritzker, Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, Senate Majority Leader Don Harmon, and Secretary of State Jesse White for their support of Illinois libraries in this manner. It will require follow-up action to change the underlying statute in the fall, which we will see through.
- Modifications to the Open Meetings Act were made to allow public bodies to convene remotely when the Governor or state public health director issues a disaster declaration under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act for public health concerns (SB2135, p.26); signed by the Governor on June 12, 2020 as Public Act 101-0640. Read information prepared by attorney Phil Lenzini for IHLS. Read information shared via Ancel, Glink's Municipal Minute.
- The Cards for Kids Act (HB2096, p.4) prohibits a library that offers non-resident library cards from charging fees for such cards to a student in an unincorporated area in Illinois whose household falls at or below the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Income Eligibility Guidelines. Please note: This is not a mandate; libraries do not have to offer non-resident cards. But for those that do, fees will no longer be able to be charged to this population. Initial research shows that this affects approximately 3% of Illinois students, and further details about implementation will be developed in rules shortly, following the Governor's June 5, 2020 signature as Public Act 101-0632.