Legislative Update -- March 25, 2021March 25, 2021
Illinois General Assembly: Per Capita and Media Literacy Moving Forward
The ILGA is in its last week of session before spring break March 29 through April 9. During that time, redistricting hearings will continue. March 29 is the deadline for substantive bills to move out of committee, although the Senate has extended that deadline until April 16. All legislation ILA is following is listed on our website. Two bills we are focused on in particular are moving through the committee process:
- SB2232, which codifies in statute the recent increases in per capita grants to public and school libraries. These increases were included in the approved FY2021 budget and fully appropriated, and are in the Secretary of State's/Governor's budget request for FY2022. However, the budget is undergirded by state law so it is important to see this piece through to ensure future full funding. It has been assigned to the State Government Committee.
- HB234, which explicitly enables Illinois public high schools to include media literacy in their curricula. Recently, an amendment was filed to require such inclusion. It has been assigned to the Elementary and Secondary Education School Curriculum and Policies Committee.
Build America's Libraries Act
In Washington, cosponsorship is increasing for the Build America's Libraries Act, which would provide $5 billion to repair, modernize, and construct library facilities with a focus on those in underserved and marginalized communities. To date, Senator Durbin and Representatives Bustos, Casten, and Schakowsky have signed on to co-sponsor, with verbal commitments from Representatives Foster and Newman.
American Rescue Plan Act
In addition to $4.7 million allocated to Illinois libraries to be delivered via LSTA/the Illinois State Library, the state of Illinois and its local governments will receive an estimated $13.705 billion. $7.5 billion will be available for programs as part of a newly-established Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, out of which Illinois counties will receive $2.54 billion and cities $3.42 billion. ILA has already reached out to the DCEO to 1) request information as the funding process is developed and 2) urge explicit inclusion of libraries as eligible units of government. Now is the time for library directors in municipal and district libraries to open conversations with your municipal colleagues to collaborate on access to these funds, focusing on areas of mutual interest such as broadband. We will share information as it becomes available.