Legislative Update -- April 1, 2021April 1, 2021
American Rescue Plan Act: Follow-up Resources
Last week we shared the dollar amounts of relief and stimulus funds coming to Illinois libraries via IMLS, and those to be disseminated through and to local governments, as well as a call to libraries to start thinking about how to collaborate with our local government colleagues. Here is a brief round-up of library-eligible funding and some helpful resources:
- IMLS: The Illinois State Library is working with IMLS and the other state library administrative agencies to develop criteria and eligibility for the $4.7 million coming to Illinois libraries.
- NEA & NEH: ILA will monitor and share these opportunities, but please also stay up-to-date with the Illinois Humanities Council and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
- State & Local Governments: We don't yet know which state agency will route these funds, but it may be DCEO. Find contact information for your DCEO regional coordinator.
- Here is a helpful article from American Libraries about what ARPA means for libraries.
- Here is ALA's two-page fact sheet.
- This article from the Brookings Institution "How Should Local Leaders Use Their ARPA Funding?" notes that ARPA funds will be eligible to be spent through the end of the 2024 fiscal year.
Take Action! Build America's Libraries Act Not Included in Infrastructure Bill
We've learned from ALA that President Biden has released his infrastructure plan, and it fails to include funding for library facilities. It’s crucial that the White House and Congress hear: Libraries are part of our infrastructure, and the time to invest is now. Five Illinois Representatives (Bustos, Casten, Foster, Newman, and Schakowsky) and Senator Durbin have co-sponsored the Build America's Libraries Act to date; if your representative is not among them, please reach out NOW! ILA presented this to legislators at the Library Legislative Meet-ups and ILA has already done follow-up outreach to these offices, which we are continuing with a formal letter going today on letterhead over the signatures of the ILA President and Executive Director, but legislators need to hear from constituents.
March 26 was the deadline for bills in the Illinois House of Representatives to move out of committee; many we were following have not. The Illinois Senate has extended its deadline to April 16. Examples of bills that did not advance: HB 811 easing the requirement for public bodies to post notices in print newspapers, HB 616 proposing a state-level Family and Medical Leave Act, both of which ILA was monitoring, and others. Examples of bills that did: HB 234 requiring media literacy to be included in high school curricula, which ILA supports, and HB 3410 increasing Open Meetings Act requirements for posting specified information on local governments' website, which ILA opposes. SB 2232, ensconcing our per capita rate increases for school and public libraries in statute (increases are already in the budget), remains active and we'll follow it through the April 16 deadline in that chamber.
Please view the list of bills ILA is supporting, opposing, and monitoring on our Illinois Legislative Issues web page. The ILA Public Policy Committee and Advocacy Committee both meet on Monday, April 5, and will be discussing the House bills that are still active, among other topics. Reminder: ILA members may attend ILA committee meetings as guests/observers. Please contact ILA Executive Director Diane Foote if you would like to sit in on PPC or AC.