Legislative Update -- April 22, 2021April 22, 2021
Friday, April 23 is the deadline for bills to pass out of their origin chamber (House or Senate) without an extension. HB 234, which will require public high schools to include media literacy in the curriculum, passed out of the House and will move to the Senate. SB 2232, which enshrines the recent per capita grant increases for school and public libraries into statute, has passed its committee and awaits passage on the Senate floor. The list of legislation ILA is following has been updated to include:
- HB2071, Amendment 1 creating an Online Library Resources Task Force (support).
- SB101 and its companion HB332, the College Course Materials Affordability and Equitable Access Collaborative Study Act, on which ILA is collaborating with ILPIRG to advance support for Open Educational Resources (support); a "librarian or online learning specialist" position is included on the task force that would be formed.
- SB2356, which would amend the Open Meetings Act to require public bodies to periodically review minutes from closed sessions (monitor).
- SB918, Amendment 1 providing that electors (registered voters) may petition for a referendum at the next general election to dissolve a unit of government (monitor).
- SB1140, Amendment 1 amending the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) for levy year 2022 and thereafter, the limiting rate shall include 50% of the value of new property; (currently, 100% of new property is excluded (oppose).
- SB2553 Amendment 1, providing that a unit of local government shall post every elected official vacancy on its website if the website is maintained by the unit's full-time staff, amended from "if it has a website" (monitor).
American Rescue Plan Act: Follow-up Resources
ALA's April 21 webinar "Libraries and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021" covered a great deal of helpful information and suggestions for libraries to prepare to participate in the various funding opportunities. It was good to see a number of Illinoisans in attendance! Access the recording here. Some highlights:
- U.S. Department of the Treasury information on the Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Fund: Libraries should open conversations now with their counties about collaborating on community solutions, and if interested in eventually applying themselves, make sure their institution has a DUNS number, which is used to track federal spending.
- U.S. Department of Education American Rescue Plan Funds to Help Schools Reopen: More than $5 billion has been allocated to K-12 in Illinois for several purposes, in many of which school libraries can be instrumental, such as providing support to students and staff, procuring wifi and hotspots for students, supporting educators in the effective use of technology, and more. This is in addition to $40 billion nationwide for higher education, including $20 million in direct student aid. School and academic librarians should open conversations with administrators now, if they haven't already, about how the library can participate in these efforts.
- The FCC's Emergency Connectivity Fund provides $7 billion including a portion specifically for libraries and K-12. It will be coordinated like the e-rate program (the coordinator in Illinois is Sarah Kunz at the Illinois State Library), but is distinct from it and focuses on enabling patrons and students to connect while not in the building, including purchasing devices. Rules are being developed and the application is expected to open in June.
- Please review ALA's state funding guide to ARPA.
Support is growing for federal library funding in the fiscal year 2022 budget! Every year ALA and ILA ask our elected officials to sign "Dear Appropriator" letters in support of funding for IMLS/LSTA and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program in the Department of Education. ILA sent letters to the entire Congressional delegation this week. Representatives Danny K. Davis (IL-7) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) had already signed both and Bobby Rush (IL-1), Sean Casten (IL-6), Bill Foster (IL-11), and Darin LaHood (IL-18) had already signed the IAL one; Senator Durbin has signed the LSTA one. See the full list here. Take Action Now! If your representative has not yet signed, please reach out. If they have, you can still use this tool and simply update the language to thank them. Let them know how much we appreciate their support!
Build America's Libraries Act
Representative Bradley Schneider (IL-10) has joined Reps. Kelly (IL-2), Newman (IL-3), Garcia (IL-3), Casten (IL-6), Krishnamoorthi (IL-8), Schakowsky (IL-9), Foster (IL-11), and Bustos (IL-17), and Senator Durbin to co-sponsor the Build America's Libraries Act. To learn more, register for ALA's webinar on May 5, "Build America's Libraries Act: States Advocate for Library Infrastructure."