Updates from the Legislative Front
IMPORTANT!!! HB 5018, the State Library Budget (where the Ready to Read Grant Program gets its funding) is up for a work session on Thursday, May 18th at 3:00. We encourage OLA members who have representatives or senators on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on General Government to contact them about the importance of restoring Ready to Read to its current level of funding. That is $0.94/child; we need $487,155. Right now, the proposal is to restore $306,211.
The message to send:
“Concerning HB 5018, please restore the Ready to Read Grant Program to its current level. This is how my community benefits from it …”
Members of the Ways and Means Subcommittee:
- Senator Manning (Eugene, Junction City) – co-chair
- Senator B. Johnson (north coast and slightly inland)
- Senator DeBoer (Ashland and Medford)
- Representative G. Smith (Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman and Wasco Counties) – co-chair
- Representative Gomberg (Lincoln County and inland)
- Representative Marsh (Ashland)
- Representative Fahey (Junction City)
- Representative Nearman (Independence and more)
In general, it looks like a proposed budget will have cuts across the board as the Legislature cannot agree on revenue increases. It will be painful. The good news: we managed to get the library taken out of the tutoring bill. There are couple of other important bills in Ways and Means waiting for a funding decision. A new bill, HB 3455, was introduced last week. It involves funding early literacy program in school districts. We’ll keep an eye on it.
From Washington DC:
The Oregon delegation to ALA’s National Legislative Day did a stellar job representing Oregon’s Libraries. Thanks to Buzzy Nielsen, Ruth Murray, Carol Dinges, Sarah Charlton, and Cheryl Middleton. The offices loved the OLA postcards, so thanks to all who filled them out at the OLA Conference. The State Library compiled a district by district report on LSTA funding and these were well-received. If you want a copy, please contact us. Buzzy and Sarah had a productive meeting with Nolan Ahern, Congressman Walden’s aide. They were pleased to discover that Congressman Walden is passionate about broadband access in all communities. For those in his district, please thank him for this support while asking him to continue to uphold LSTA and IAL.
LSTA for FY17 has been restored and again, most of the Oregon Congressional Delegation signed on in support. We are looking toward FY18 now.
Finally, the FCC was taking comments on the proposed Net Neutrality ruling. They have been coming in fast and furious. The FCC suspended taking comments on May 12th for a Sunshine Period. We are working on a one page briefing so you can comment when they open it up again.
For those who want to know more about the Legislative Committee’s actions, please read our meeting notes on the OLA web page or contact one of the co-chairs, Abigail Elder (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Janet Webster (email@example.com).
– Janet Webster