Legislative Update -- April 7, 2022

April 7, 2022

ALA's annual call for advocacy for federal funding is LIVE NOW! "Dear Appropriator" letters are circulating in Congress, addressed to members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. President Biden's proposed budget includes small increases for the Library Services & Technology Act and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. We are seeking appropriations for LSTA at $232 million, up to the full level authorized in the Museum & Library Services Act of 2018, and $50 million for IAL. Take action now to help fund libraries!

This morning, the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform hosted a hearing titled "Free Speech Under Attack: Book Bans and Academic Censorship." Two Illinois representatives serve on the Subcommittee, Danny K. Davis (US-IL-07) and Robin Kelly (US-IL-02). The hearing was recorded and the recording is available at the URL above. 

The Illinois General Assembly is set to adjourn tomorrow, April 8. Most of the bills ILA has followed this session did not advance, with two exceptions:

  • SB 3497 has passed both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for his signature. This bill is related to, but distinct from, the recently enacted Cards for Kids Act, which requires libraries that offer cards on a fee basis to unserved state residents to provide no-cost cards to “a nonresident in an unincorporated area in Illinois who is a student whose household falls at or below the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Income Eligibility Guidelines.” This new legislation would not replace Cards for Kids. It would enable, not require, 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. Current law did not allow such provision, except as noted above. This new law is an initiative of RAILS; read their summary here.
  • HB 5283 will enable, not require, public library districts (not local/municipal libraries) to hire a treasurer who is not a member of the board and would not have a vote, an option modeled on existing park district law. In the last week of the legislative session, two amendments were added and are advancing: The first one would require library boards, both district and municipal/local libraries, to fill vacancies within 90 days; the second requires the State Librarian to fill the vacancy within a subsequent 60 days if the library board does not. The provision for the State Librarian to fill the vacancy applies only to district library boards. Current law stated that vacancies on library boards should be filled "forthwith," without definition.
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