Legislative Update -- February 10, 2022

February 10, 2022

Illinois General Assembly
We are now in week six of the spring session of the Illinois General Assembly, and bills are being filed and heard in House and Senate committees. View the list of bills ILA is following, and our current positions on them, on the ILA website. The session is expected to adjourn April 8, 2022.

Illinois State Budget
Last week we reported on Governor Pritzker's budget address, noting that the Secretary of State's grant programs are fully funded in the request, 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. We are pleased to point out this week that the budget request includes an increase for the three library systems: The Chicago Public Library, the Illinois Heartland Library System, and the Reaching Across Illinois Library System. Of course, this is only the first step in the budget process; it now heads to the Illinois General Assembly. We thank the Secretary of State Jesse White and Governor Pritzker for their support of Illinois library systems!

New Statement of Economic Interests Form Now Required
We'd also like to call public library director attention to one of the impacts of the ethics reform legislation passed in the previous session. Among other things, the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act (see 5 ILCS 420/4A-102) now requires a more detailed "Statement of Economic Interests" form than what had previously been required to be filed with county clerks for members of the boards of directors of public bodies, and staff members with a certain level of spending authority. We have heard from several ILA members whose boards are finding this requirement onerous, contributing to the challenges in recruiting people to serve in these important positions. Please be aware of the new requirements (information cited here from McLean County), go over it with your board members, and check in with your library attorney for guidance. If you have not seen it yet, here is a sample form

Without denying the need for ethics reform in Illinois, we can assure you that ILA, along with every other lobbying group representing units of local government, did inform legislators that this legislation would have an impact on our members' ability to recruit trustees. At the end of the day, however, the interest in significant reform overrode concerns about other impacts. 

Federal Budget Agreement Reached
The fiscal year 2022 budget has not yet been approved (we are operating under a series of continuing resolutions, which enable spending at the prior year's level), but Congress has declared a "bipartisan breakthrough." Details of the funding bills have not been released. As a reminder, the Library Services and Technology Act is currently funded at $197.5 million; we are advocating for 206.5 million, which is in the House proposal. The Senate proposal includes $203.5 million. Illinois’ allocation via the Grants to States program was $5.6 million in 2021.

iREAD Summer Reading Programs

Since 1981, iREAD provides high quality, low-cost resources and products that enable local library staff to motivate children, young adults, and adults to read.

Visit the iREAD website »