Legislative Update -- July 30, 2020July 30, 2020
As of 7/29/2020, Illinois is tied with Virginia at #7 for self-response rate among the 50 states, with a 67.5% rate of response, compared to 62.8% nationally. The ending national total in 2010 was 72%. The Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) is offering the Zoom event, "Make Your Community Count: Public Libraries and the Census Today," on Monday, August 10, from 1–2 p.m. Speakers include Joe Natale, Chief Deputy Director of the Illinois State Library and Census 2020 Complete Count Committee Member, and a panel of public library staff. Please register in advance. This event has been developed especially for public libraries in central and southern Illinois; however, all Illinois libraries are welcome to attend.
UPDATE: Cosponsorship Building in the U.S. House and Senate for Library Stabilization Fund Act
U.S. Representative Bradley Schneider (IL-10) has joined Representative Janice Schakowsky (IL-9) as a cosponsor of the Library Stabilization Fund Act, which asks for $2 billion in funding for America's libraries for COVID-19 relief. JUST TODAY we have heard that Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8) also plans to sign on, in response to letters ILA sent to Illinois Senators and Representatives this week. ALA is spearheading an advocacy campaign to encourage support for this bicameral legislation sponsored by Representative Andy Levin (D-RI) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). The bill now has 47 cosponsors in the House, compared to 27 in our last Legislative Update on July 16. In the Senate, there are 16 cosponsors, compared to 13 in the last report; neither Sen. Durbin nor Sen. Duckworth is among them (yet). In addition to ILA's efforts, you can take action here!
UPDATE: ILA Supports Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act
S. 4308 Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act, would provide relief funding to special districts, including fire districts, park districts, mosquito abatement districts, water reclamation districts, and yes, library districts. ILA signed on to a letter to Senate leadership from the National Special Districts Coalition urging this funding to be included in the Senate's COVID-19 relief package; however, in our outreach to Senators Duckworth and Durbin for the Library Stabilization Fund Act, we noted the LSFA was our top priority. The companion legislation in the House is H. 7073, which currently has one Illinois cosponsor: Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8).
Lawsuit Filed Regarding Election Day 2020 as a National Holiday
During the May Illinois General Assembly special session, language was included within a bill, signed into law by Governor Pritzker, that makes the November 2020 Election Day a state holiday. ILA members have asked if this designation applies to cities and specifically, our municipal libraries, and requires them to be closed on that day. The language included within the bill is unclear. In the absence of clarity, libraries should check with their own legal counsel, but can consider doing what the library does on other state holidays. In the meantime, a lawsuit has been filed in Sangamon County claiming the bill language did not amend specific portions of the Illinois Municipal Code and it should not apply to local units of government. As ILA learns more information on the lawsuit and determination on whether or not the state holiday designation applies to local government units, we will report here.