Legislative Update – One Week from Session End

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Monday, May 13, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Finals Week – Conference Committee Process Underway
 
Last week was a slow week of initial conference committee meetings. The various conference committees take a few days to review the House and Senate bills. This process is referred to as walking through the ‘side-by-sides.’ 
 
Including today they have 8 days to finish their work, which must be completed by midnight on Monday, May 20. Leadership negotiations on a global deal stalled out last week, but they reportedly met Sunday evening to resume talks. The speculation is that leadership will agree to a budget deal this Wednesday, which will give the various budget conference committees 2-3 days to hash out the details of their respective spending bills. If we drift into next weekend without a global budget deal then we’re likely looking at a special session to be named later to continue the budget debate. The state’s fiscal year ends on June 30.  
 
The line in the sand for DFL Governor Walz and GOP Senate Majority Leader Gazelka is clearly the gas tax. A signature piece of the Walz budget plan has become the hill that Sen. Gazelka plans to die on. Can Walz secure reinstatement of the provider tax to fund HHS and additional general fund tax revenue through federal tax conformity for Education if he relents on the gas tax? The last week of any legislative session is always the most intriguing. Let’s hope for a strong finish for the E-12 and Legacy bills including our library provisions.
 
RLBSS & RLTA – Omnibus Education Bills
 
The House’s $900 million investment in education programs (HF 2400) includes a significant provision for regional library systems. At the request of the 12 regional public library systems, the House bill would adjust the distribution formula for Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) and increase funding by $3.6 million in FY 2021 and $4 million in FY 2022 increase. The House bill also adds language to the Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) to create more allowable uses for these funds. The House passed HF 2400 on April 23.
 
The Senate education bill (SF 7) doesn’t carry either provision.
 
TEA –
 
The Senate education bill adds $500,000/year to the schools Telecom Equity Aid, bringing the amount to $4.25 million/year. The Senate bill removes the financial incentive for schools to participate in telecom clusters, which could make retaining school district membership in a cluster more of a challenge.
 
The House E-12 conferees are:
 

  • Jim Davnie (co-chair, DFL Minneapolis)
  • Cheryl Youakim (DFL Hopkins)
  • Julie Sandstede (DFL Hibbing)
  • Dave Pinto (DFL St. Paul)
  • Dean Urdahl (GOP Grove City)

 
The Senate E-12 conferees are:
 

  • Carla Nelson (co-chair – GOP Rochester)
  • Justin Eichorn (GOP Grand Rapids/Bemidji)
  • Bill Weber (GOP Luverne)
  • John Jasinski (GOP Fairbault)
  • Chuck Wiger (DFL Maplewood)

 
Library Legacy – Omnibus Legacy Bills
               
House Legacy bill (HF 653) includes $2.5 million/year for the next two years for library legacy programming. The Senate Legacy bill (SF 836) includes $2.6 million/year for the next two years for library legacy.
 
The Senate Legacy committee heard a bill to fund $96,000 for libraries to buy telescopes and loan them out. Senate Legacy didn’t fund this request, but essentially added the $96,000 request (rounded up to $100,000) to the MLA request for $2.5 million/year.
 
The House Legacy bill also includes language tightening requirements to ensure Legacy recipients aren’t supplanting existing funds. The House bill also says individual recipients of Legacy funds must be residents of Minnesota. This language is problematic and MLA and other Arts and Cultural Heritage recipients are working to ensure it isn’t included in the final Legacy bill.
 
The House Legacy Conferees are:
 
Leon Lillie (co-chair North St. Paul)
Mary Murphy (Hermantown)
Amy Wazlawik (White Bear Township)
Rick Hanson (South St. Paul)
Greg Boe (Chaska)
 
The Senate Legacy Conferees are:
 
Carrie Ruud (Breezy Point)
To be assigned
To be assigned
To be assigned
To be assigned
 
Net Neutrality – Omnibus House Jobs bill
 
HF 136 by Rep. Zach Stephenson is the net neutrality bill that would require state and public agencies to only enter into contracts with internet service providers abiding by net neutrality principals. HF 136 was merged into the House’s omnibus Jobs & Economic Development bill, HF 2208, which the House passed on April 24th. These provisions await conference committee action.
 
The Senate has not heard the net neutrality bill this session, SF 317.
 
Library Construction & Renovation – House Omnibus Bonding bill
 
House Capital Investment Chair, Rep. Mary Murphy, has advanced a robust bonding bill out of her committee. HF 2529 appropriates $1.5 billion in state bonding authority for many projects. As the chief library advocate in the legislature, Rep. Murphy has included $9 million in her omnibus bonding bill for the library construction and renovation grant program. She’s also upped the $200,000 limit on accessibility grants in the pool to $400,000. It’s unclear if HF 2529 will be taken up on the House floor.
 
The Senate has not advanced an omnibus bonding bill this session. Sen. Rich Draheim has introduced the MLA request for $10 million in library construction and renovation grants in SF 2725.
 
Hennepin County Library Director Statutory Change – HF 2097 & SF 2267
 
Legislation aimed at eliminating a statutory requirement for the Hennepin County Library Director to have a graduate degree from a graduate school accredited by the American Library Association has advanced in both the House and Senate. This legislation is traveling as a stand-alone bill and resides on both the House and Senate floors and awaits floor debate in each chamber.
 
School Media Specialist Support – HF 247 & SF 2010
 
Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, a licensed school library media specialist by day, help advance the cause of getting more licensed school media specialists into Minnesota’s schools. Her HF 247 received favorable review in the House Education Policy committee which sent it to House Education Finance. House Education Finance reviewed the bill as well, but it didn’t get included in their omnibus education finance bill.
 
Sen. Chuck Wiger introduced the companion bill, SF 2010, but it wasn’t heard in the Senate Education committee this session.
 
HF 247 & SF 2010 are viable for the 2020 session, but won’t receive further action during the current session.

Legislative Update: Conference Committees

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Friday, May 6, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Two Weeks Remain – Conference Committee Process Starts
 
Last week was another long week of floor debates as the House and Senate got their remaining budget bills passed. Leadership appointed conference committee members for each of the 10 budget bills.  A few conference committees met on Friday to begin the process of comparing and contrasting the House, Senate and Governor’s positions on issues. The E-12 conference committee was one of the last to be appointed and they will have their first meeting today at 2 pm. MDE Commissioner Mary Catherine Ricker is expected to provide testimony outlining and reiterating the Governor’s education agenda.                             
The House E-12 conference committee members are:

  • Jim Davnie (co-chair, DFL Minneapolis)
  • Cheryl Youakim (DFL Hopkins)
  • Julie Sandstede (DFL Hibbing)
  • Dave Pinto (DFL St. Paul)
  • Dean Urdahl (GOP Grove City)

The Senate E-12 conference committee members are:

  • Carla Nelson (co-chair – GOP Rochester)
  • Justin Eichorn (GOP Grand Rapids/Bemidji)
  • Bill Weber (GOP Luverne)
  • John Jasinski (GOP Faribault)
  • Chuck Wiger (DFL Maplewood)

 
Legislative leaders reportedly met over the weekend to meet a self-imposed deadline of providing budget targets to the conference committees. As of the time this update was written there was no news to report on this front.
 
There are several budget and policy items in the works of interest to the library community detailed below, including their status in the legislative process.
 
RLBSS & RLTA – Omnibus Education Bills
 
The House’s $900 million investment in education programs (HF 2400) includes a significant provision for regional library systems. At the request of the 12 regional public library systems, the House bill would adjust the distribution formula for Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS) and increase funding by $3.6 million in FY 2021 and $4 million in FY 2022 increase. The House bill also adds language to the Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA) to create more allowable uses for these funds. The House passed HF 2400 on April 23.
 
The Senate education bill (SF 7) by contrast carries neither provision. The Senate education bill does add $500,000/year to the schools Telecom Equity Aid, bringing the amount to $4.25 million/year. The Senate bill removes the financial incentive for schools to participate in telecom clusters, which could make maintain school district membership in a cluster more of a challenge. The Senate E-12 bill passed off the Senate floor on Wednesday, May 1.
 
Library Legacy – Omnibus Legacy Bills
               
House Legacy bill (HF 653) includes $2.5 million/year for the next two years for library legacy programming. The Senate Legacy bill (SF 836) includes $2.6 million/year for the next two years for library legacy.
 
The Senate Legacy committee heard a bill to fund $96,000 for libraries to buy telescopes and loan them out. Senate Legacy didn’t fund this request, but essentially added the $96,000 request (rounded up to $100,000) to the MLA request for $2.5 million/year.
 
The House Legacy bill also includes language tightening requirements to ensure Legacy recipients aren’t supplanting existing funds. The language is problematic and MLA and other Arts and Cultural Heritage recipients are working to ensure it isn’t included in the final Legacy bill.
 
The House Legacy bill was passed off the floor last week. The Senate Legacy bill awaits floor action this week.
 
Library Construction & Renovation – House Omnibus Bonding bill
 
House Capital Investment Chair, Rep. Mary Murphy, has advanced a robust bonding bill out of her committee. HF 2529 appropriates $1.5 billion in state bonding authority for many projects. As the chief library advocate in the legislature, Rep. Murphy has included $9 million in her omnibus bonding bill for the library construction and renovation grant program. She’s also upped the $200,000 limit on accessibility grants in the pool to $400,000. It’s unclear if HF 2529 will be taken up on the House floor.
 
The Senate has not advanced an omnibus bonding bill this session. Sen. Rich Draheim has introduced the MLA request for $10 million in library construction and renovation grants in SF 2725.
 
Net Neutrality – Omnibus House Jobs bill
 
HF 136 by Rep. Zach Stephenson is the net neutrality bill that would require state and public agencies to only enter into contracts with internet service providers abiding by net neutrality principals. HF 136 was merged into the House’s omnibus Jobs & Economic Development bill, HF 2208, which the House passed on April 24. These provisions await conference committee action.
 
The Senate has not heard the net neutrality bill this session, SF 317.
 
Hennepin County Library Director Statutory Change – HF 2097 & SF 2267
 
Legislation aimed at eliminating a statutory requirement for the Hennepin County Library Director to have a graduate degree from a graduate school accredited by the American Library Association has advanced in both the House and Senate. This legislation is traveling as a stand-alone bill and resides on both the House and Senate floors and awaits floor debate in each chamber.
 
School Media Specialist Support – HF 247 & SF 2010
 
Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, a licensed school library media specialist by day, help advance the cause of getting more licensed school media specialists into Minnesota’s schools. Her HF 247 received favorable review in the House Education Policy committee which sent it to House Education Finance. House Education Finance reviewed the bill as well, but it didn’t get included in their omnibus education finance bill.
 
Sen. Chuck Wiger introduced the companion bill, SF 2010, but it wasn’t heard in the Senate Education committee this session.
 

Be part of the 2018 Winter Author Tour!

Each year SELCO works with local libraries to build regional author tours around Minnesota Book Award (MNBA) finalists and winners, either with a multiple or single author tour.  For Winter 2018, we will be looking to feature authors who recently won in their categories for the 2017 MNBA Awards.  These authors are as follows:

  • Allen Eskens – The Heavens May Fall (Genre Fiction)
  • Peter Geye – Wintering (Novel & Short Story)
  • Shawn Otto – The War on Science… (General Nonfiction)
  • Cheri Register – The Big Marsh… (Minnesota)
  • Sun Yung Shin – Unbearable Splendor (Poetry)
  • Kao Kalia Yang – The Song Poet… (Memoir & Creative Nonfiction)

As you can tell by the names listed, this tour will feature those authors in the Adult categories from last year’s winners roster.  Unfortunately this time around, the tour did not work for those who fell in the youth categories.

In the application we’ll ask you for your top three choices for authors and the top three availability dates for each of the authors.  We’re looking to plan the tour for dates between February 1 – April , 2018.  Here is information regarding the Authors and their AvailabilityPlease consult these documents prior to making your final selections.

Applications to be a part of the 2018 Winter Author tour will be accepted from August 16-September 13.  Click HERE to apply today!

This project is made possible with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota for Library Legacy activities.

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

Unified GOP Budget Plan

The following information was shared via email with the library community on Sunday, April 30, 2017 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

At the request of Governor Dayton, GOP leaders in the House and Senate have
come up with a unified plan for negotiations as we enter the final three
weeks of the regular session. The GOP budget plan doesn’t move closer to the
Governor’s positions, but is a merger or splitting the difference between
the House and Senate GOP plans.

The unified plan calls for $1.15 billion in tax cuts, about half way between
the House’s $1.35 billion and the Senate’s $900 million. The Governor
proposed about $300 million in tax cuts last January. For E-12 programs, the
GOP plan goes to the Senate’s level of $300 million, up from the House’s
$271 million. However, this is still a far cry from the Governor’s $709
million in proposed E-12 funding. The GOP plan is insufficient to meet 2&2
on the formula ($371 million price tag) and certainly nowhere near the
Governor’s desired level of spending on preK.

Monday will be a hectic day at the Capitol. The various budget conference
committees will unveil the details of their spending plans. E-12 is
convening at 3pm along with several other conference committees. GOP leaders
are hoping to negotiate a budget plan with the Governor by Thursday, but
that doesn’t seem likely.

Legacy

The Legacy conference committee met for a walk through of the House and
Senate plans last Thursday. They meet again Tuesday at 9am. Those with
closer ties to Rep. Bob Gunther and Sen. Carrie Ruud might send a last
minute note to them, urging them to support the House’s level of funding for
library legacy programming.

Bonding

The House is set to finally release a bonding bill early this week. Speaker
Daudt and Ways & Means Chair Jim Knoblach said it will be an $800 million
bill; $200 million of which will go to transportation projects. Library
construction grants have an uphill battle in the House.

Samuel P. Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates

Minnesota Book Award Winners

 
The 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony was held Saturday, April 8, 2017 in St. Paul. Winners of the 2017 Minnesota Book Awards were:

Children’s Literature: Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian

General Nonfiction: The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto

Genre Fiction: The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens

Memoir & Creative Nonfiction: The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang

Middle Grade Literature: The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey

Minnesota Nonfiction: The Big Marsh: The Story of a Lost Landscape by Cheri Register

Novel & Short Story: Wintering by Peter Geye

Poetry: Unbearable Splendor by Sun Yung Shin

Young Adult Literature: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

For more information about the winners and the finalists in all nine categories, click here.

 

 

Digital Newspaper Hub Transitions

 

The Minnesota Historical Society just released a new Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub.   The new Hub implements exciting features and transitions the Hub to a new ProSeek platform (as seen in the Swedish American Newspapers and Historical Minneapolis Tribune sites). The new Hub will bring together the Minnesota digital newspapers, the Historical Minneapolis Tribune newspapers, and sets of digitized Minnesota newspaper titles including over 500,000 pages contributed by SELCO from early newspapers published in southeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Historical Society is excited to make this transition and enhance access to Minnesota’s newspapers. Likewise, SELCO is honored to partner with the Historical Society and proud of its role in developing and growing this valuable Minnesota digital newspaper collection documenting over 150 years of Minnesota history!

Announcing MNBA Finalists

On Saturday, January 28, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announced the finalists in nine categories for the 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards.  Reviewed and chosen by 27 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community – the categories are:

Eligibility and process — Books created by writers, illustrators or book artists who are Minnesotans are eligible for Minnesota Book Awards. The Awards are given each year for books published in the previous year. For instance, the this selection of finalists were 2016 for consideration in 2017.

The Book Awards process begins with nominations, which are received from authors, publishers and others from throughout the state. From the nominated works, panels of preliminary round judges choose four finalists. Award winners are then selected by different, final round, judging panels.  Of note this year, 15 of the titles were published by Minnesota presses.

The 29th Annual Minnesota Book Awards ceremony will be held at the InterContinental Hotel in St. Paul on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.  Seating is limited.  Make early reservations.

SELCO Art Collection Website Launches

 

With a move to the new building in 2000, the Board of Directors sought to add a touch of color to the long corridors and, from that practical goal, came the SELCO art collection.  SELCO staff and visitors to the office have long enjoyed this collection which features original pieces created by Midwest artists.  With the launch of the SELCO Art Collection website, you can enjoy visual images of the pieces anytime, from the comfort of your web browser.  

Celebrating Art & Culture — to be printed soon

MN Library Legacy Logo Small

Ready to go to press! 

Celebrating Arts & Culture: Minnesota Regional Public Library Systems Legacy Amendment Highlights

The Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA) has produced a visually compelling written summary of  the public programs and activities funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  Celebrating Arts and Culture will provide a succinct report for the 2017 Minnesota Legislature highlighting the wide variety of Legacy programming that has occurred in libraries throughout the state.  

Celebrating Arts & Culture briefly describes public art projects, live performances, literary programs, art making, and historical and cultural exploration. The Library Legacy story is told through a montage of photographs and personal quotes. The summary graphical demonstrates the breadth of programming funded with Legacy dollars and the unique ability of libraries to provide meaningful cultural events to people in all corners of the state regardless of community size.

Celebrating Arts & Culture: Minnesota Regional Public Library Systems Legacy Amendment Highlights

Libraries can expect a copy very soon.

A CRPLSA sponsored Library Legacy activity made possible with money from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the people of Minnesota.