April 15th, 2017 (Vol. 24, No. 7) ASSOCIATION NEWS

Watching Sausage Being Made – The Oregon Legislature

Sometimes, it can be both fascinating and frustrating to watch legislation wind its way through the Oregon Legislature. That is the case this year with Senate Bill 1002, a bill that addresses accommodations for tutors, both private and free, in school, public and tribal libraries.

When brought to the attention of the OLA Library Development and Legislative Committee, we agreed that this was a local policy issue and most public libraries addressed the presence of private tutors and their students through the public space stage and meeting room policies. The LDLC presented our concerns to the Senate Education Committee’s chair, Arnie Roblan. We thought the bill would die or at least be amended to address our concerns. At the hearing last week, OLA’s lobbyist, Nan Heim, testified after some passionate testimony about a student and a tutor who were turned away from a school. The bill went to a work session held April 13.

Thanks to OLA members with senators on the Education Committee, it looks like public libraries will get removed from the bill. But, stay tuned! The sausage still needs to be ground through a vote in the Senate and then it moves to the House. It might even take a round through the Joint Ways and Means if it looks like there is a cost to providing access tutors. Who said that watching legislation was boring?  

Thanks to Jeremy Skinner (Gold Beach), Christie Davis (Klamath Falls), Abigail Elder (Beaverton), Ted Smith (Newport), Sami Pierson (Coos Bay), and Buzzy Nielsen (Prineville) for contacting their senators when I asked.

We will be waiting for awhile yet on the State Library Budget and whether we can get Ready to Read Grant funds reinstated at last year’s level. We’ll let you know if we need help.

Thanks to all for being willing to speak up for libraries.

Janet Webster
co-chair, OLA Library Development and Legislative Committee