Legislative Update -- December 23, 2020

December 23, 2020

There is some uncertainty this week, both on the state and federal level.

Illinois Calendars
Here's what we do know, here in Illinois: The Illinois Senate has released its spring 2021 session schedule; we're still awaiting the Illinois House's. We still have no word on any convening of the 101st (current) Assembly before the 102nd is inaugurated on January 13. Legislation has been introduced to enable the Illinois General Assembly to meet virtually; we'll see where that goes (HB5868).

Library Days and Dates 2021-11
ILA is pleased to present once again "Library Days and Dates 2021-22," prepared by attorney Phil Lenzini for libraries' guidance in planning around key dates for filing public notices and/or various actions required by municipal (city, village, and incorporated town) libraries. The list contains preliminary dates as well as deadlines, and deals with such things as electing trustees, budget filings, annual reports, and numerous other required filings.

Federal Stimulus and Budget Bill
On the federal level, the final COVID-19 relief bill of 2020 has passed in Congress, but the President has signaled he may veto it over the $600 amount in the bill in direct stimulus checks, suddenly proposing $2000. This is a 5593-page bill (according to history professor Heather Cox Richardson, the longest bill ever passed in Congress) and includes the 2021 budget. While the relief part does not include direct stimulus/relief funds for libraries, the 2021 budget does include a $5 million increase from the previous year for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including $2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act; and a $1 million increase for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program for school libraries. ALL elected officials in Illinois voted "YEA" on the package; please thank our Senators and your Representatives for these budget increases! In addition, libraries are mentioned as "providing advanced communications service" in terms of eligibility for reimbursement of broadband access enhancement costs, such as purchasing of hot spots, boosting bandwidth, and the like (p.2394). There is also language intended to support copyright enforcement, but libraries and archives do have an exemption (p.2952). This is a developing situation; please stay tuned. 

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