Legislative Update -- February 3, 2022February 3, 2022
Equitable Access to Electronic Literature Act Advances
On Tuesday, February 1, ILA's "Equitable Access to Electronic Literature Act" was heard in the Illinois House Consumer Protection Committee. The bill, requiring publishers to offer e-book and digital audiobook licenses to libraries on "reasonable" terms, was unanimously approved by committee members and will advance to the full House. ILA's Diane Foote and Derek Blaida were present in support, as was ALA's Alan Inouye; the Association of American Publishers' General Counsel Terrence Hart testified in opposition after bill sponsor Katie Stuart (IL-112) introduced it and spoke in its favor. The Senate counterpart, SB 3167, has been assigned to that chamber's Executive Committee but has not been scheduled for a hearing yet.
Governor's Budget Address
Yesterday, Governor Pritzker issued his annual budget address, covering his proposals for the fiscal year 2023 state budget. The Illinois State Library's grant programs are fully funded, with flat funding for Equalization and Per Capita Grants to Public Libraries, Per Capita Grants to School Libraries, Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library Technology Grants, and Literacy Programs.
The Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) budget maintains funding for the public K-12 portion of the Illinois Century Network to provide broadband to schools, but does not include such funding for public libraries, as we had advocated for. However, we expect to continue this advocacy as proposals are developed by the state to submit for the federal funding available for digital inclusion advancement in the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA).
Connect Illinois Round 2 Grants Announced
On January 26, the Governor, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Office of Broadband announced $47 million in funding to 22 projects statewide through the second round of the Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program. These awardees are primarily service providers who will use the funds to increase broadband coverage in their service areas; libraries in these areas may have increased options for broadband as build-out gets under way.