Legislative Update -- February 24, 2022

February 24, 2022

$232 Million Sought for LSTA; Illinois Librarians Meeting with Federal Representatives
The federal government is still operating under a Continuing Resolution without an approved budget for the current (2022) fiscal year, which means operating at the prior year's level; however, we are already looking ahead to the 2023 budget. ALA is arranging a set of meetings with selected legislators serving on key committees such as Appropriations, Education, and others next week, to advocate for at least $232 million for LSTA, which is the level at which the program is authorized, but has not been appropriated. LSTA, currently funded at $197 million, provides approximately $5.6 million to Illinois via the Grants to States program. Please be on the lookout for requests to ask your representatives and our senators to sign "Dear Appropriator" letters in support of this proposal.

Bills Advancing (or Not) In the Illinois General Assembly
Tomorrow is the deadline for Senate bills to move to the House; next Friday for House bills to move to the Senate. The full list of bills ILA is following is available on the ILA website. Here is a roundup of of library-specific bills that were introduced this spring:

  • HB 4470 / SB 3167 Equitable Access to Electronic Literature Act: ILA's lead legislative priority item received bipartisan cosponsorship support in the House Consumer Protection Committee; out of which it passed unanimously. It did not pass out of committee in the Senate, however.
  • HB 4092 State Library Policy & Purpose: Addressing services provided to Illinois residents directly by the Illinois State Library, this did not advance out of the House Rules Committee.
  • HB 5283 Library Districts-Treasurer: Would enable library district boards, not municipal library boards governed under the Local Library Act, to hire an external treasurer who is not a member of the board, parallelling an option available to Illinois Park Districts. Has passed the Cities & Villages Committee. 
  • SB 3497 Libraries-Fees/Reciprocity: Would enable library boards to vote to offer cards at no expense to people under 18 in unserved areas, regardless of their financial ability to pay for a non-resident fee card. This morning, passed out of the Senate and will move to the House.
  • SB 3744 Library Dist-Staffing Levels: Addresses requiring staffing levels in reference to Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries; did not pass out of the Assignments Committee. 

Two bills that garnered a great deal of attention this past week addressing materials in school curricula and school libraries were re-referred to the House Rules Committee, meaning they will not advance: HB 5344 and HB 5505.

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