Scholarship Report: Heather Acerro – American Library Association Annual Conference 2019

Event: American Library Association Annual Conference — Washington, D.C. — June 21-25, 2019

Attendee: Heather Acerro – Head of Youth Services, Rochester Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

As the Head of Youth Services at Rochester Public Library, attending was valuable to my role as an administrator and leader. I made connections with new and familiar vendors, networked with colleagues to build stronger relationships and share resources, and attended informative sessions that will enable Youth Services to improve programs and services. For example, “Real Talk: a framework for youth-led dialogues” provided information that will help us as we work to make connections with local teens. Furthermore, since RPL is currently appraising a variety of food-related services, the session “Food for Thought: Nourishing Mind and Body at Public Libraries” contained several ideas that will move our services forward.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

“How to Avoid Disability Faux-Pas” was my favorite session as it contained a wealth of information. Fifteen panelists spoke about their experiences as disabled customers and library staff members and provided guidance for updating our language, services, and procedures to be more accessible. Panelists spoke on terminology, hearing loss, visual disabilities, learning disabilities, invisible disabilities (mental health and chronic illness), and physical disabilities. Suggestions included providing staff with disability awareness training, removing ableism from marketing, and being aware of comments that are actually micro-aggressions (calling attention to someone and making them feel “other”).

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

One suggestion from How to Avoid Disability Faux-Pas was to use a microphone as a standard tool in library programs. I am planning to work with Youth Services programmers to make this change for all of our storytimes and auditorium events.

Summer 2019 Cooperative Purchase Open for Business

Please find below the link for the Summer 2019 Cooperative Purchase online order form. The offerings for this purchase are much like those of the previous Cooperative Technology Purchase.

Summer 2019 Cooperative Purchase Order Form

  • We are using an online order form for the Spring 2019 Cooperative Purchase. Please fill it out online, once we receive your order, we will send a confirmation email. Please respond to the confirmation email so that we can ensure your order is correct.
  • We will be offering iPads for purchase in this order. As these devices are very subjective and require user specific iTunes accounts, SELCO cannot provide support for them.
  • We are using Faronics Deep Freeze to lock down the public computers. You will notice this option on the bottom of page one for Deep Freeze, select this if you are planning on getting a public computer or using a Nettop for an iPac computer.
  • The Dell Optiplex Desktops, and Dell Latitude Laptop computers come with Windows 10 (Windows 7 upon request). New Deep Freeze licenses may be required from public computers, but libraries may choose which operating system once the systems are ordered.

Please submit your orders online by Friday, July 26, 2019. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the SELCO Help Desk

Happy Independence Day!

Scholarship Report: Samantha TerBeest – Lake Superior Libraries Symposium 2019

Event: Lake Superior Libraries Symposium — Duluth, MN — June 6-7, 2019

Attendee: Samantha TerBeest – Adult Services Librarian, Winona Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

The theme of the conference was “Sea Changes in Libraries” and was focused on the ever changing role of libraries. This is very fitting for my role as the Adult Services Librarian as the technology I work with is ever changing and the generations and people I work with is ever changing.

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

My favorite session was called “Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Vital Role All Libraries Play in Developing Empathy.” In this session, the presenter talked about the difference between sympathy and empathy. Talked about how empathy is a learned behavior especially from reading. Had us work in groups to discuss books that show empathy and identified ways that a library can be empathetic to its patrons.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

I took away a lot of different programming ideas but I also took away a staff in service training that I think would be really beneficial in being inviting to all patrons of all types and backgrounds. I, also, have ideas, programs, and trainings for a the Dementia Friendly Community Committee that I am on and how we can better help our community. Really, I didn’t have one big takeaway from the event. I had several.

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I already booked a program date for a library after hours event I learned about called Humans vs. Zombies. I am planning on doing several passive programs in May for Mental Health Awareness month. One of them is called Stress ReDUCKtion and involves hiding rubber duckies around the library. I even reached out to a presenter to see if I could use his presentation for staff training.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

Yes! The sessions were excellent. When you go, you meet librarians from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario. The conference is, also, affordable and only one day.

Special Session Wraps

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Governor Walz called the legislature in for a special session last Friday. The leadership budget deal that was reached on Sunday, May 19th called for a one-day special session to pass the unfinished budget bills. Despite some saber rattling by the minority caucuses about prolonging the special session, they were able to come in Friday morning and get all of the budget bill passed by 7am Saturday morning. With that, legislative activity is done in Minnesota until the legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. 

Despite our strong efforts and the advocacy of Rep. Mary Murhpy and Sen. Mark Johnson, the additional funding and distribution formula change for the 12 regional public library systems was not included in the final education bill. In fact, very little beyond the three major education funding pieces; 2&2 on the basic formula, special education cross-subsidy aid and preK funding, made it into the final E-12 bill. The growth of preK in the E-12 bill continues to drown out other funding initiatives that aren’t directly tied to the core classroom. PreK funding will continue to pose a challenge as the newly adopted PreK funding was only set for two years; therefore school districts will be back in 2021 seeking to secure those dollars again. 

Libraries will see a slight increase in the amount of Legacy funding they have to spend. $2.55 million/year for the next two years is appropriated for library Legacy programming. 

A bonding bill didn’t emerge this session, despite being a stated part of the leadership budget deal. 2020 will see a push for a large bonding bill on the part of Governor Walz and the House DFL.

2019 Session closes, special session looms

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Tuesday, May 21, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

The 2019 session adjourned at midnight on Monday the 20th, per the constitution, but with only one of about 10 budget bills actually being passed by both bodies. The Higher Education bill, which includes $5.095 million/year for MNLINK, was the one bill completed on time.
 
It appears that leadership in the House and Senate, along with Gov. Tim Walz, have reached a E-12 agreement that includes a total funding target of $543 million in the next fiscal year and $720 million in FY 22-23. The key components of the E-12 agreement appear to be:

  • Student Formula: 2% on the General Education Formula each of the next two years.
  • Special Education: $91 million in the next year and $142 million for FY 22-23 to freeze the cross-subsidy
  • Voluntary PreK: $47 million to maintain the 4,000 seats in FY 20-21 and $2.5 million for 10% prior year payment in FY 22-23
  • Safe Schools: $30 million in one-time funding for safe schools grants appropriation, contingent upon closing balance for FY 19 exceeding February forecast estimated closing balance

We are awaiting further details as we don’t have the actual bill language at this time. We may see the bill details at 3pm Wednesday. The plan is for the Governor to call a Special Session on Thursday to begin processing the agreed-to budget bills.
 
RLBSS & RLTA – Omnibus Education Bills
 
While we don’t have full details on the E-12 bill, it doesn’t appear that any new funding for library programs, including RLBSS, will be included. The same goes for any new revenue for Telecom Equity Aid for schools.
 
Library Legacy – Omnibus Legacy Bills
               
We will hopefully see the final Legacy bill at a meeting they’ve announced for 2pm tomorrow.
 
Net Neutrality – Omnibus House Jobs bill
 
We don’t have details on the omnibus Jobs bill. It’s highly unlikely that net neutrality provisions will be included in the final Jobs bill.
 
Bonding bill
 
The leadership agreement on the budget calls for $440 million in general obligation (GO) bonds. However, passage of this in a special session is a 50/50 proposition since the House minority, which would be needed to put up enough votes to pass GO bonds, wasn’t a part of the leadership budget deal.
 
Hennepin County Library Director Statutory Change – HF 2097 & SF 2267
 
HF 2097 was debated on the House floor on May 13 and passed by a vote of 81-41. The bill was amended with this language added, “Preference shall be given to candidates with library 
experience.”
 
The Senate accepted the House amendment and passed the bill 57-9 on May 19. The bill awaits action by Governor Walz.
 
School Media Specialist Support – HF 247 & SF 2010
 
HF 247 & SF 2010 did not pass this session, but are viable for the 2020 session.
 
 
2020 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at noon
 

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.

RESOLVED: Internet Outage at SELCO Office

UPDATE: And… we’re back up again. Sounds like someone did something far away from Rochester and brought our ISP down. Service has been restored and everything, including Horizon and our phones, should be working normally now. Apologies for the (thankfully brief) down time. 

 

We are suffering an internet outage at the SELCO office. As a result, all services hosted at SELCO are currently down including:

  • Horizon
  • Pharos
  • Our phone system
Services not hosted at SELCO should still be working. 
 
We are working to diagnose and resolve the problem. More information will be sent out as it becomes available. 
 
Thank you for your patience. 

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.
 

Legislative Update

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Saturday, April 27, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Three Weeks Remain
 
After returning from their spring break, the House and Senate began the arduous process of moving their massive budget and policy bills off their respective floors. While leadership had hoped to make more progress last week, much work remains when they return to business this week. They’re working to have all of the budget bills passed and to have conference committees established by the end of business, which could be late into the evening, on Wednesday, May 1. This session is proving no different than every other one before it in that all of the major work is piling up at the end. They have three weeks to go before the state’s constitution mandates an end to the session on May 20.
 
Last week the Senate GOP started to dig in even harder against a gas tax increase saying “not a penny more.” The DFL is digging in on insisting the Provider Tax continue, which supports the Health Care Access Fund. The GOP wants a continuation of the health reinsurance program they put in place two years ago to stabilize rates in the individual insurance market. There’s potential for a trade on this front. The House DFL and Senate GOP tax bills, however, are light years apart. With no additional gas tax revenue to relieve the state’s general fund of recently enacted transportation obligations, it’s hard to see how increases are provided to E-12 and Higher Education.
 
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 23rd.
 
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 maintaining school district membership in a cluster more of a challenge. The Senate E-12 bill will likely be passed off the Senate floor on Monday, April 29th.
 
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.
 
Both the House and Senate Legacy bills await floor action this week. They’re typically the last of the budget bills to be passed off the floor.
 
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.
 
School Media Specialist Support – HF 247 & SF 2010
 
Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, a licensed school library media specialist by day, helped advance the cause of getting more licensed school media specialists into Minnesota’s schools. Her HF 247 received a 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.
 
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 principles. 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.

Legislative Update

The following information was shared with the library community via the MLA and ITEM Legislative Update Newsletter Friday, March 12, 2019 by Sam Walseth, Capitol Hill Associates, in his role as the MLA-ITEM lobbyist.

Third Committee Deadline and a Break:
 
After a jam-packed week of moving several major omnibus spending bills through the committee process the Legislature is leaving town for a needed Passover/Easter break. They return to business on Tuesday, April 23 and will have just over a month to find an agreement on a two-year operating budget before session ends on May 20. When they return most of the action will turn to the House and Senate floors where they will take up debate on the major spending bills, including Education, Health & Human Services, Transportation, Jobs, Energy, Agriculture and more.
 
Minnesota is the only state with a divided legislature and the partisan difference are on full display. The Senate GOP budget plan is in stark contrast to that of Governor Walz and his allies in the new House DFL majority. The DFL wants new gas tax revenue to pay for transportation projects. They want new corporate tax revenue to be generated through conformity to the federal tax code and they want the provider tax which supports the state’s health care access fund to continue. The Senate GOP thinks there’s enough revenue to work with and wants none of the DFL’s tax agenda. On policy matters, it’s the same story, from net neutrality, to gun safety measures, to paid family medical leave, the DFL is pushing a progressive policy agenda and the Senate GOP is saying no to those as well. How they put a budget deal together by May 20 is anyone’s guess.
 
There are several budget and policy items in the works of interest to the library community detailed below.
 
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 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 maintaining school district membership in a cluster more of a challenge.
 
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.
 
We’re in good shape heading to conference committee on Legacy.
 
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.
 
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.
 
School Media Specialist Support – HF 247 & SF 2010
 
Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, a licensed school library media specialist by day, helped 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.
 
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.
 
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.