Legislative Update -- March 11, 2021March 11, 2021
IL House and Senate Schedules
As reported last week, the 102nd Illinois General Assembly has begun work to introduce and discuss bills in House and Senate Committees. While the Assembly itself has not passed rules enabling it to meet virtually, the committees are doing so, and five days a week. If you're interested in seeing what legislation will be discussed when and by whom, view the House and Senate schedules. You can get an overview of legislation ILA is following on the Illinois Legislative Issues web page, which will be updated continually. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is a particular bill you are concerned about that you don't see there.
This year at our Legislative Meet-ups we urged our state legislature to keep libraries whole in the state budget by fully funding the Secretary of State's budget request at the 2021 new (higher) levels of per-capita rates for school and public libraries; to ensure libraries are explicitly eligible for any future COVID-19 relief funds; to not issue COVID-19 related regulations that affect libraries without checking with us, and to avoid unfunded mandates. There is actually a bill already introduced, HB5, regarding unfunded mandates, which we're on record as supporting (hint: Look at the list linked above; it's the first one on the list)!
Build America's Libraries Act
Senator Durbin is signing on as a cosponsor for this landmark piece of library funding legislation! A reminder: This Act would provide $5 billion to repair, modernize, and construct library facilities. Funding would be distributed through IMLS to state library agencies. State libraries would then award grants on a competitive basis to local libraries. Public libraries, tribal libraries and state library agencies that serve the public would be eligible for funding, with priority for libraries serving marginalized communities. To date, IL Representatives Casten, Schakowsky, and Bustos have cosponsored; please reach out to your Representative to urge them to join their colleagues!
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) that just passed the House provides $200 million in funding for IMLS, with $178 million for LSTA, and billions more in library-eligible programs. This is the single largest increase in funding for the IMLS in the agency’s 25-year history. Further details are available via ALA's announcement "Libraries Gain Record Increases for IMLS, E-rate in Federal Relief Plan."