Legislative Update -- January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021

Here at ILA, our annual series of Library Legislative Meet-ups launches tomorrow! While they're all virtual this year, they're still anchored regionally and we'll start off with South Suburban at 10 a.m. See the full schedule and lists of participating legislators. View ILA's state and federal legislative issues web page to see what we'll be talking about. Also, at ILA, our Public Policy Committee and Advocacy Committee are meeting on Monday, 2/1/2020. ILA members may sit in as observers; contact Executive Director Diane Foote at dfoote@ila.org for login information.

In Springfield, while the Illinois Senate and Illinois House calendars are available, new House Speaker Chris Welch has announced that February in-person sessions have been canceled, except for a 2/10/2021 meeting to determine rules. A proposal to enable the ILGA to meet virtually did not pass in the final session of the 101st Assembly, but committees may do so. Traditionally, legislators have spent Tuesday through Thursday in Springfield and Monday and Friday in their districts, which is why we've always scheduled meet-ups on Mondays and Fridays. This year, with committees meeting virtually and therefore across the days of the week, legislator participation at our events may be impacted. 

In Washington, we expect the Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act to be re-introduced this week. This was introduced in the 116th Congress last fall but did not end up included in the COVID-19 relief/2021 budget bill. We previously shared information about it in the 7/16/2020 and 7/30/20 Legislative Updates. Illinois has the highest number of library districts of any state, although not the highest percentage: 100% of libraries in Indiana are structured as districts, for example. District libraries are encouraged to complete the National Special Districts Coalition's impact survey to help inform legislators about the need for relief funding. While ILA and ALA have signed on to support this, dedicated funding for all libraries remains the top priority. The Library Stabilization Fund Act was also not included in the COVID-19 relief/2021 budget bill, but ALA is looking ahead to the Build America's Libraries Act in the 117th Congress. Please stay tuned, and see ALA's summary of funding that supports libraries indirectly in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

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