SELCO 2017 ARSL Scholarships Awarded

SELCO is pleased to announce the scholarship winners to this year’s Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) conference to be held September 7 – 9, 2017 at the Dixie Center in St. George, UT.

The winners are:

  • Debara Smith – Brownsdale Public Library
  • Ashley Dress – Caledonia Public Library
  • Tara Johnson – Lanesboro Public Library
  • Beth Anderson – Preston Public Library

Congratulations! We look forward to hearing about your experiences!

E-12 Bill, Special Session Status and Bonding Bill

The following information was shared via email with the library community Wednesday evening, May 25, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

 

After a rough start to the special session last night, the House did finally
get the E-12 bill passed by a vote of 79-54. The bill was taken up by the
Senate this afternoon. Unfortunately, the Senate was short a majority member
and so couldn’t take up votes on the budget bills. Instead, they adjourned
until noon on Thursday. The House followed suit. All of the bills are now
posted and everyone has had time to review them.

DFLers are furious with what’s been negotiated in some of these bills. The
unions were out in force at the Capitol today asking them to “shut it down”
and for the Governor to “veto everything.” There’s definitely something to
love and hate in this package of legislation. I think everything gets passed
by both bodies by Thursday night and weary crew of 201 legislators will
leave St. Paul.

Bonding Bill

The bonding bill spreadsheet has been released and it contains $2 million
for library construction grants!!

Here’s a link to the bonding bill spreadsheet; we’re on page 1, line 30:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/b8582b99-8e6d-4224-a9cd-525e82634
244.pdf

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Enterprise Security Upgrade

On Tuesday, May 30, SirsiDynix will be performing an upgrade to SELCO’s instance of the Enterprise public catalog. At 8 am, there will be an outage for about half an hour as they implement the certificates and reboot the server to change Enterprise to SSL (https). This should address several security concerns as well as some Firefox issues.

There may be some oddities in the catalog following the restart as SELCO updates custom work to reflect the change. This should be completed Tuesday but if anything is found after that, please contact the Help Desk.

There will be re-direction rules put in place to move links over from the http version to the https version. Links on member websites will need to be updated eventually but there shouldn’t need to be a rush.

E-12 Bill Released

The following information was shared via email with the library community late Tuesday evening, May 23, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The Governor called the legislature into special session to process their
global budget deal they negotiated late Monday night. We’re just starting to
see some of the omnibus bill get posted for public review. The Tax bill and
the E-12 bill are out. Unfortunately, our request to increase funding for
the regional library systems was not included.

The bonding bill hasn’t been posted yet. The global agreement calls for a
$990 million bonding bill.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Net Neutrality Under Attack: How the FCC’s vote is likely to affect libraries

This is excerpted from a blog post to American Libraries that can be found in its entirety here.  

 May 18, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to begin dissolving Obama-era regulations regarding net neutrality, and reactions from the library community are not positive.

“I see it as a trend that is going to take us backward in time,” says Mike Robinson, professor of library science and head of the systems department at the Consortium Library of the University of Alaska Anchorage. “The internet is supposed to represent a democratization of access to information, and libraries are part of that democratization movement. Getting rid of net neutrality undermines that.”

The American Library Association (ALA) agrees, releasing a May 18 statement from ALA President Julie B. Todaro. “Net neutrality is critical to ensuring open and nondiscriminatory access to information for all, and today’s actions by the FCC endanger that,” the statement reads. “We are at risk of maximizing profits for commercial [internet service providers] and large content providers, while degrading internet access and choice for libraries and ultimately all consumers.”

Specifically, the FCC voted to review rules passed in 2015—rules that prevent internet providers from charging extra to deliver specific content more quickly and from blocking or slowing web sites. Under those rules, broadband services are classified as a utility-like service, similar to electricity or water.

Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai holds that the 2015 rules have not only caused the telecommunications industry to reduce investment in broadband access but have also given regulators excessive control over the internet. He and his fellow Republican on the FCC, Mike O’Rielly, voted for the rules’ review, while Democrat Mignon Clyburn voted against it.

The public will now be able to comment on the FCC’s proposal. When the comment period ends later this year, the agency will create a specific order and vote on it.

 

More information on the FCC proposal can be found here. Instructions for commenting on it can be found here.

HF2698 and GOP Budget Offer

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Friday, May 19, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

HF 2698 – School Media Specialist grant pool:

Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, freshman DFLer from New Brighton, is a school media
specialist and she introduced a bill this morning in the House that would
create a state funded grant pool that school districts could apply to for
purposes of hiring a school media specialist. In speaking with her the other
day she wanted to get the bill introduced late this session so it’s out
there for people to review and discuss over the interim with the goal of
having the bill refined for action next session. Take a look at the bill
language here:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House
<https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF2698&ssn=0&y=2017>
&f=HF2698&ssn=0&y=2017

GOP Budget Offer

In an effort to keep the process moving forward this last weekend of
session, GOP leaders just announced a global budget offer along with
instructions to their committee chairs to begin work on coming up with
omnibus budget bills. Speaker Daudt and Majority Leader Gazelka said they
absolutely want the Governor and his commissioners engaged in the process
this weekend and said these budget targets are still negotiable. They noted
that they left $86 million on the bottom line that could be used to help
close things up. They are committed to passing another round of budget bills
by midnight Monday with the hope that they are sufficient to get the
Governor’s support.

Their E-12 offer is now up to $467 million, still short of the Governor’s
last offer of $507 million. However, a $40 million difference tonight is
much better than the $400 million difference we started the week out with.
They didn’t expound on details of each budget area and said they want their
chairs and the commissioners to hammer out the details. Which early
childhood programs to invest in will be the hardest piece of the puzzle for
the GOP and DFL negotiators to come to agreement on. There is also a
question about what to do with a pension fix for the Teacher’s Retirement
Association (TRA) and whether or not that needs to be included in the E-12
bill.

I will send out updates this weekend as best as I can and certainly if we
have details of the E-12 bill.

Almanac should be interesting this evening.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Sam

Legacy and Bonding Bill Updates

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Legacy Bill

This evening the Legacy conference committee wrapped up their work on the
omnibus legacy bill. Library Legacy funding is at $2.5 million/year for the
next two years. The Senate position was $2.2 million/year and the House
brought $2.7 & $2.5 million for the next two years, respectively. The House
position largely won out thanks once again to Rep. Mary Murphy’s hard work.
While she wasn’t actually on the conference committee she sat through the
entire hearing tonight to make sure our funding was secure.

Bonding Bill

Last night the House failed to pass the bonding bill that Chair Dean Urdahl
brought forward. Chair Urdahl has maintained our $2 million for library
construction grants through the process. It’s unclear what kind of process,
if any, they will use to resolve a bonding bill for this session. It’s
possible that they will fail to pass a bonding bill again. Hopefully they
figure it out. Our $2 million for library construction grants has been a
part of every bonding iteration in the House, Senate and Governor’s
proposals for over a year.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Finals Week for the Legislature

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The legislature must adjourn at midnight next Monday. All of the GOP budget
and tax bills have passed and been vetoed by Governor Dayton. The Governor
and legislative leaders have been meeting and exchanging global budget
offers since yesterday. There has been some progress and the omnibus
Agriculture bill has been agreed to. This is the smallest of the budget
bills and typically the first one to be resolved.

The Governor and GOP leaders have traded numbers on the E-12 bill. Dayton’s
initial E-12 bill called for $713 million in spending, including $175
million to expand his signature voluntary pre-K initiative. Yesterday he
offer the $606 million and $100 million for VPK expansion. The GOP’s now
vetoed E-12 bill spent $300 million, but late yesterday they offered $408
million for E-12. They didn’t offer details and are likely still dug in
against funding any portion of the Governor’s VPK program. They instead want
to invest in the early learning scholarship program.

Leaders are meeting again this morning and we may see new budget offers. I
don’t think a deal on E-12 is imminent for today, but I encourage you to
contact your legislators at this point and urge them to include regional
library funding in the E-12 bill. This is a good time for them to hear from
you as it looks like a slower day for each body.

Bonding bill –
The House is in recess until 4pm, but is scheduled to take up a bill that
will serve as their bonding bill. HF 575 will serve as the vehicle for the
bonding bill. The delete-all amendment for the floor includes $2 million for
library construction projects. You can view the amendment here:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/amend/A17-0466.htm

Legacy –

There’s no sign of the Legacy conference committee coming in to meet. I’m
assuming they will come in for a perfunctory public review of their deal in
the next few days when they’re ready to share it.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

WordPress Security Update Coming Today

WordPress has announced a “minor” security update to version 4.7.5 this morning. The announcement was somewhat abrupt in that it came out without the early warnings that usually precede updates. While the flaws the upgrade fixes seem fairly minor, we always pay attention to abrupt security updates and try to carry them out quickly to forestall problems.

SELCO has notified libraries for whom we host websites that we plan to carry out this upgrade today. We will be monitoring the websites and also ask that each library keep an eye on their own website to catch any themes or plugins that might be adversely affected by the update. We will also update the SELCO website today. Reports of problems on any SELCO-hosted website should be sent to the SELCO Help Desk.