Legislative Update -- June 18, 2020

June 18, 2020

Earlier this week we sent out a special legislative update, with good news about the increased funding for per capita grants for school and public libraries in the budget for fiscal year 2021. This very welcome success, however, does come in the context of an otherwise difficult budget environment for the state of Illinois. Please stay tuned for more details of other areas in the budget that pertain to libraries. 

On the federal level, the budget process is following two tracks: Possible additional COVID-19 relief funding, and the regular budget and appropriations process. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency (HEROES) Act, the fifth COVID-19 relief bill, has been approved in the House for some time, but remains stalled in the Senate. There is a current ALA call to action to share stories with our Senators about how your library has continued to serve your communities virtually, and as we start to open up. Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin historically support library legislation and funding, but they should hear from us even when we don't have a particular "ask," so please participate.

The regular budget process has been stalled with the U.S. Congress not in regular session, as we saw with the Illinois General Assembly. ALA is seeking level funding for IMLS and LSTA for fiscal year 2021, in recognition that we are part of the Labor, Health, and Human Services appropriations bill, and there is impetus to increase funding for the NIH, CDC, and other health-related entities. The Senate expects to complete budget markup by the end of next week; the House by the end of July. Efforts to expand broadband are expected to receive heightened attention in both the budget and legislative development process. 

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