Legislative Update -- September 16, 2019

September 16, 2019

Danville Correctional Center 
The Illinois Department of Corrections has announced there will be new rules regarding prison library materials by  10/1/19. This follows the removal--and subsequent replacement following public outcry from individuals and groups including ILA--of nearly 200 books from the Education Justice Project library at the Danville Correctional Center due to their supposed controversial subject matter concerning race. At a legislative hearing in July, IDOC interim director Rob Jeffreys had promised to develop a clarified and transparent process. 

Property Tax Relief Task Force
In August, the Illinois General Assembly created a Property Tax Relief Task Force in the context of the upcoming vote in 2020 regarding a Fair (graduated income) Tax. Its report is due at the end of 2019; while it may be unlikely that property tax freezes will be recommended, it's important for library voices to be heard on this topic. ILA gave testimony in a PTELL Subcommittee of the Task Force on 9/16/19 at the Thompson Center in Chicago. Current PPC member and past Chair Scott Pointon of the White Oak Library District testified on ILA's behalf on the intended and unintended consequences of the establishment of PTELL on Illinois public libraries; representatives from the park districts, townships, the Illinois Municipal League, and the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois also spoke. If there is anything you would like to be sure ILA conveys to the Task Force, please let Executive Director Diane Foote know at dfoote@ila.org

Illinois Bill Roundup
More than 7,000 bills were considered by the Illinois General Assembly this spring; out of 599 passed, the Governor signed 591, vetoed seven, and sent one back with an amendatory veto. The veto session (10/28-30; 11/12-14), is expected to be quiet. This year, ILA introduced legislation to make qualifications for serving as a library trustee consistent among district and municipal libraries; amendments were filed to exclude Chicago Public Library late in the spring session and we will seek to have this passed in the veto session. View the complete list on the ILA website in Advocacy--Legislative Issues--Illinois Legislative Issues. Some directly affect libraries, such as HB 910, which enables the Aurora Library board to become elected rather than appointed; and SB 2993, which now requires a front-door referendum to annex unserved areas into a library district, although a provision for de-annexation was removed. Others do not directly affect library law, but are relevant, such as bills that apply to employers or public buildings in the state, including HB 252, which redefines "employer" in the Human Rights Act to anyone employing at least one person (formerly 15); or SB 556 Equitable Restrooms Act--All Gender, which requires all single-occupancy restrooms in public buildings to be labeled simply with "restroom" and no reference to gender.

Public Policy Committee Update
We want ILA's legislative advocacy program to be as strong, participatory, and transparent as possible. Last year we began posting reports all committees make to the ILA Executive Board available on each committee's page; this year, we are adding agendas and minutes for PPC and the Advocacy Committee. We have also created a "Contact Us" button on PPC's page for members to use to suggest ideas to the PPC chair and executive director. Finally, don't miss the program at ILA Annual Conference 2019 in Tinley Park, "What the Heck is PPC and What Do They Do?," Tuesday October 22, 2:45-3:45 p.m., North Pavilion 4-5. 

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