Senate Education Bill Disappointing

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Monday, March 27, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Senate E-12 Omnibus Bill

Despite your grassroots efforts, we fell short in the Senate E-12 bill this afternoon. The committee didn’t fund any portion of our library systems request in SF 1033. Instead, the committee put $288 million of their $300 million target into the basic education formula.

There’s another $4 million in the bill to expand early learning programs. There’s $6 million for Reading Core and a few other odds and ends and smaller change items. The Senate E-12 committee heard a request to expand school Broadband Equity Aid, but they didn’t include that funding either. Overall, it’s a very basic E-12 bill with no real drama (see the House bill for that).

At this point of session we’re in tough shape for our systems’ requests in the E-12 bill. None of the three players; Governor, House & Senate, have much for library initiatives in their education proposals. The House bill has $50,000/year for two years for the Center for the Book.

If the Legislature moves forward with their own ‘round 1’ E-12 package it’s likely the Governor will veto it and demand an increased spending target. He’s asking for $709 million for E-12 where as the legislature is at $300 million in the Senate and $258 million in the House.

Assuming the E-12 target increases in any ‘round 2’ negotiation, the likely places for additional dollars are to get the school general education formula to 2&2, more money for PreK and help with TRA.

Senate Legacy Bill

We’ll likely see the Senate’s Legacy bill rollout Thursday morning at 10am.

Bonding Bill

There’s still no sign of a House bonding bill. The Senate bonding bill, SF 210, awaits floor action at some point when leadership is ready to take it up. SF 210 includes $2 million for library construction and renovation grants.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Call your Senator – SF 1033

Please contact your Senator about including SF 1033 in the Senate Omnibus Education Finance bill. Time is of the essence!  Regional library systems systems need your support for the requested funding increases. Hearing from constituents is important for this issue.

 Don’t know what to say? Here are some talking points–feel free to customize/tailor as you wish:

  • No new dollars have been invested in Minnesota library systems since FY2009.
  • Due to the nature of the current formula, SELCO has lost over $500,000 in the past six years resulting in stressed services for libraries.  
  • The library systems provide the foundation for Minnesota residents to access cooperative statewide services including MNLINK interlibrary loan, ELM databases, reciprocal borrowing privileges, Overdrive eBooks, training, and support.

If your Senator is not on the Committee, ask her/him to ask their colleagues to include SF 1033 in the omnibus education finance bill.Senate Information: https://www.senate.mn/members/

Don’t know your Senator? Find them here: http://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

Legislative update on Library Legacy progress

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The House Omnibus Legacy bill has been posted. It will be discussed Monday, March 26 afternoon and voted out of committee.

You can read it here

Scroll to lines 74.2 to find $375,000/year for the digital library project.

Scroll to lines 74.24 to find $2.75 million in FY 18 and $2.5 million in FY 19 for regional library systems legacy funding.

In other news –

Ann Hokanson, Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative, did a great job representing us in the Senate Legacy committee. Many thanks to her and Sen. Senjem for their work in getting us this far in the Senate’s process. No word yet on when the Senate Legacy bill will be released. I’m going to guess sometime next week.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

House Education Bill Released

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The House Education Finance Committee released a copy of their draft omnibus education finance and policy bill this morning.

Click here to link to the document

The bill provides $50,000 in each of the next two fiscal years (2018 and 2019) for the Center for the Book, but doesn’t include this funding in the on-going state government base.

Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t include any of our proposed RLBSS and Multitype funding request.

For schools, the bill reduces compensatory aid as a means to provide some additional funding on the basic formula. The bill adds 1.3% and then 1.6% on the basic formula for all kids.

The bill is a far cry from what Governor Dayton will sign into law. It’s the House GOP’s starting point for end game negotiations with the administration.

The bill spends an additional $257 million over the next two years on E-12 programs. The Governor has proposed an additional $709 million over the same period.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

IMLS Statement on President’s Proposed Budget

Institute of Museum and Library Services Issues Statement on the President’s Proposed FY 18 Budget

Washington, DC — Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew released the following statement on the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget, which includes elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Since its inception 20 years ago, the grants and programs the Institute of Museum and Library Services has administered have provided critical support that has enabled museums and libraries across the country to make a tremendous difference in their communities. The institutions we serve provide vital resources that contribute significantly to Americans’ economic development, education, health, and well-being whether by facilitating family learning and catalyzing community change or stimulating economic development through job training and skills development. Our agency’s support enables museums and libraries to offer learning experiences for students and families as well as increase care for and access to the nation’s collections that are entrusted to museums and libraries by the public.

We’ve invested in rural and smaller communities by supporting basic infrastructure and the development of libraries as local community hubs for broadband connectivity and digital literacy training, which has helped hundreds of residents gain job-related skills and, in many cases, find employment. In summary, our grants and programs support libraries and museums as essential contributors to improving Americans’ quality of life.

More than $214 million of our $230 million FY 2016 enacted budget targets museums and libraries directly through our grant programs. This includes $155 million for library services to every state and territory in the country through a population-based formula grant program.

As Congress now begins its work on the FY 2018 budget, our agency will continue to work closely with the Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, we will continue to remain steadfast in our work on behalf of the millions of Americans touched by the services of libraries and museums each day.

Legislative Update: Second Deadline

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Monday, March 13, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Second Deadline Week:
Today begins the start of the second bill deadline week. The first bill deadline was last Friday. Policy committees and many finance committees are wrapping hearings on individual bill requests this week. We’re being told the House will finalize their budget plan later this week and then next Monday will adopt a formal budget resolution. The Senate is likely to follow suit. Whether or not the budget plans become public this week is still uncertain.

Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) & Multitype bill HF 1382:
The Senate reviewed our bill several weeks ago, but we need the House Education Finance committee to hear it soon, most likely by the end of this week. It’s sounding like next week the finance committees will begin rolling out their omnibus bills next week.

Bonding:
SF 210, which contains $2 million for library construction grants, is on the Senate floor, meaning it’s been through the committee process and is waiting for leadership to clear it for a final vote. The House has yet to produce a bonding bill.

Legacy:
We had a wonderful hearing in the House Legacy committee a week ago tonight. Thanks to Barb Misselt and Ann Hokanson for providing testimony.

The Senate Legacy committee is likely to start hearing bill requests next week.

Sam
Capitol Hill Associates

Legislative Update 2017-02-27

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, February 16, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

This afternoon the Senate E-12 Budget Division chaired by Sen. Carla Nelson (GOP Rochester) reviewed our proposal to amend and increase the RLBSS formula and to increase funding for the multi-county, multi-type library systems.

Many thanks to Ken Behringer (MELSA), Liz Lynch (Lake Agassiz Regional Library) and Ann Walker Smalley (Metronet) for testifying on behalf of the bill. And many thanks to Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls) for chief authoring the bill!

Overall the hearing was productive, but there was some frustration by members over the lack of time for questions about the variety of library services provided by the various regions. Overdrive was specifically asked about by Sen. Tomassoni (DFL Chisholm).

Chair Nelson essentially asked our panel about what level of funding is required to hold all the systems harmless if a formula change is made. The panel didn’t reply with a specific figure, but following the hearing Ken and I clarified that the MELSA board approved a resolution to amend the formula with at least $2 million in new funding for RLBSS. Chair Nelson clearly appreciated this information.

Tomorrow morning the state will release the February budget forecast and hopefully the budget news is positive. We can expect House and Senate budget plans to emerge in the next few weeks.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Legislative Update 2017-02-16

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, February 16, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

RLBSS & Multi-type bill introduced:

HF 1382, Rep. Bud Nornes (GOP Fergus Falls) & SF 1033, Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls) were introduced this week. These bills include MLA-ITEM RLBSS and Multi-type funding increases. The legislation also includes the agreed upon formula adjustment and clarifications on how and when MDE will calculation regional system aid payments. If passed this would be the first increase in library system funding since state fiscal year 2009.

House Legacy bill introduced:

HF 1308 Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL Hermantown and longtime library champion!) was introduced this week. The Senate companion is chief authored by Sen. Dave Senjem (GOP Rochester) and will receive and official SF bill number on Monday.

Library Capital Investment bill:

Rep. Jeff Howe (GOP Rockville) and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (GOP Alexandria) are signed on as chief authors of our $10 million capital investment request for library renovation and construction grants. We will have an official HF bill number on Monday. We’re still gathering co-authors in the Senate.

It’s also important to note that the Senate Capital Investment committee has already moved last session’s failed bonding bill out of committee. SF 210 includes $2 million for library construction and renovation grants.

We’ve also picked up intelligence that the city of Walker is seeking a $400,000 grant to improve their library as a stand-alone bonding proposal this session.

MLA Day at the Capitol

We’re getting excited to see many of you next week for library legislative day. We have many proposals in the works and need your help to advance them.

Sincerely,
Sam, Rob and Joe

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Legislative Update 2017-01-26

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Dayton’s Budget Plan

Governor Dayton announced a budget plan earlier this week that would add significant new revenue into the public education system. $371 million would go toward “2&2” on the basic formula allowance for all students. Another $75 million would go toward expanding his voluntary pre-K program. $40 million would go toward special education. He also proposed $68 million to help solve the Teacher Retirement Association (TRA) solvency problem.
There’s no new funding proposed for library programs, but your legislative team is working on that!

Bonding Bill??

We’re well aware that 2016 did not produce a bonding bill and our $2 million for library renovation and construction projects is still in limbo. Governor Dayton at the start of this session announced a $1.5 billion bonding package that includes the $2 million for library renovation and construction. Later today the Senate Capital Investment Committee is expected to move a significant bonding package out of committee that will include the $2 million for library renovation and construction. The Senate bill is a ‘dust-off’ of the bill that almost passed last session. As for the House, it’s unclear as to what their game plan is on bonding at this point.

RLBSS & Multi-County Multi-Type Funding

Our bill to improve the formula and funding for RLBSS and the Multi-types will be chief authored by Rep. Bud Nornes (GOP Fergus Falls) and Sen. Gary Dahms (GOP Redwood Falls). We’re still gathering co-authors so we won’t have a bill introduction with a bill number for some time yet.

We’ve also begun discussions with and bill drafting for the Library Legacy request, but that won’t appear for some time yet.

Legislative Day Registration Opens

Minnesota Loves Libraries logo

Minnesota Library Legislative Day is just around the corner. Library supporters are invited to converge at the Capitol for this important annual event on February 21-22.

Although Wednesday is the highlight, activities begin on Tuesday at the Rice Street Library.  After light refreshments and an informal meet-and-greet, representatives of Capitol Hill Associates, MLA’s lobbying team, will provide and update on legislative developments affecting libraries in 2017-2020.

If you are unable to attend the evening briefing, don’t worry. Capitol Hill Associates will host a repeat session the next morning at the Judicial Center (on the capitol grounds). Throughout the day you will have a chance to meet with your legislators  and voice your support for libraries and their continued funding.

And, just to make your visit even easier, SELCO staff and the Advocacy Committee will coordinate office visits with legislators from around the region, as well as prepare a packet of information supporting the funding requests for increases in Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) and Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds (ACHF) for Library Legacy activities.

Click here to learn more, and to register for this free and truly invaluable advocacy opportunity.