Legislative Update: Close of the Spring Session in Springfield

June 13, 2019

The spring 2019 legislative session in Springfield came to a close at the end of May, with qualified successes for libraries. Some pieces of legislation ILA supported were passed or remain in progress; while many other bills we opposed did not pass. The state budget, which passed, contains appropriations and re-appropriations of $66,141,234 for libraries, including $875,000 from the Capital Development Fund and $2,892,634 from the Build Illinois Bond Fund. There is good news on the federal level as well; the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2020 recommendations, including a $25 million increase for IMLS for a total of $267 million (including potentially $6 million for Illinois via LSTA's Grants-to-States program, a dramatic increase over 2019's $4.2 million); and a $2 million increase for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program that provides grants for school libraries, for a total of $29 million.

Here in Illinois, legislative successes include the passing of HB 1637 Immigration Status, which keeps the responsibility for federal immigration status enforcement under its appropriate jurisdiction, not local units of government; and the defeat of all proposed property tax freeze bills. A bill ILA supported to make consistent qualifications for serving as a library trustee across district or municipal libraries, SB 1149, passed the Senate unanimously and had an amendment added in the House to exempt Chicago Public Library; we expect it to advance in the fall veto session. HB 2993, a bill ILA opposed that would require a front-door referendum when library districts seek to annex unserved areas passed, but a provision allowing for disconnecting annexed territory was removed. Bills prohibiting the use of public funds for conference attendance, requiring additional burdensome public notice requirements, prohibiting units of government from opposing unit consolidation and elimination bills, and regulating the amount of reserves a library district may maintain, were all defeated. SB 910, a bill to allow a referendum to change the board of the Aurora Public Library, a city library, from appointed to elected, passed. For a complete list of legislation followed and advocated for or against this year, please visit the Legislative Issues page on the ILA web site.