Legislative Update -- December 17, 2020December 17, 2020
Governor Pritzker's Executive Order
On December 11, Governor Pritzker issued another disaster declaration and Executive Order 2020-74, reissuing many of the previous executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, including extending EO 2020-73, which imposed Tier 3 mitigation measures throughout the state until January 9, 2020. This information has been added to ILA's COVID-19 Resources web page.
Connect Illinois Digital Navigator Network
Part of the Connect Illinois program, in addition to grant funding information shared in the November 19 ILA Alert, is the newly-announced Connect Illinois Digital Navigator Network, which seeks to deploy a team of volunteers to assist residents of low-income and rural communities with digital literacy skills. Of course these are skills that librarians already possess, and from the announcement: "The Navigator Network program is seeking people who work in social services, libraries or health care to serve as volunteers who will be tasked with mapping out where digital literacy resources, like libraries and community centers, are scarce." Learn more.
Federal COVID-19 Funding & Libraries
As you are no doubt seeing elsewhere in the news, Congressional negotiators continue to try to work out details for the next COVID-19 relief/stimulus bill. As has been reported by Politico, CNN, and others, one of the bills currently circulating includes $200 million for IMLS to purchase and distribute Internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas, among other broadband-related purposes. ALA has issued a call for library advocates to support the $200 million for IMLS. Take action now!
Illinois State Budget Cuts
Governor Pritzker announced his first round of state budget cuts on December 15. Cuts include reducing grants to various state agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Commerce and Economic Opportunity; continuing a reduction of state employee travel unless necessary; and continuing hiring freezes that were implemented at the beginning of the pandemic; among others. To date, there has been no cut proposed for the Secretary of State's budget items.