Legislative Update -- December 10, 2020December 10, 2020
ILA's Public Policy and Advocacy Committees met this past Monday, and discussed further ILA's advocacy focus for the upcoming spring session in Springfield and Washington. We are also putting plans in place for the upcoming annual series of Library Legislative Meet-ups in February; this year to be held virtually. Please stay tuned as dates and times are announced.
In Illinois, the legislative calendar still has not been announced, there is some question over whether or not House Speaker Michael Madigan will remain in his position, and there are 24 new legislators following last month's election. This uncertainty, combined with the pandemic and the budget crisis, which was worsened following the failure of the proposed graduated income tax referendum, is prompting ILA to focus broadly in our advocacy this year: Promoting what libraries of all types have done for our communities throughout the pandemic, with three main asks: Keep state library budgets whole, both in this current fiscal year and in budget development for next year; when creating any further COVID relief or stimulus bills ensure that libraries are eligible for funds; and if/when crafting any further COVID regulations, to check with the library community before creating laws that affect us. We will be using wording from the Bigger Than a Building campaign and real-life examples from libraries across the state to make our case. A terrific place for us to find examples, and for you to share what you're doing, is RAILS's My Library Is... project. This is open to all libraries in the state, not just those in RAILS, so please share your story if you haven't already!
On the Federal level, there are two newly-elected representatives, as previously reported on November 5. ALA's legislative agenda, which ILA largely follows, contains evergreen issues of importance to libraries: broadband access, copyright policy and e-books, the Federal Depository Library Program, public access to federally-funded research, and of course, library funding. The latter is the top priority; indeed, there is currently an action for us to take urging Congress to include libraries in COVID relief funding. Email now!