TLACast Newsletter
Legislative Update
SB 196 by Sen. Sylvia Garcia requiring schools to notify parents if there is not a full time librarian, school counselor or nurse on campus during instructional hours has been referred to the House Public Education Committee. TLA members are contacting members of the committee, particularly the chairman, Rep. Dan Huberty to ask that the bill be scheduled for a hearing soon.

SB 803 by Sen. Kel Seliger requires the Higher Education Coordinating Board to conduct a feasibility study on requiring researchers to submit an electronic copy of each original research paper that is accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This bill was left pending in the House Higher Education Committee May 17.

SB 810 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst relating to the use of open educational resources has been referred to the House Higher Education Committee. This bill was left pending in the House Higher Education Committee May 17.

SB 902 by Sen. Brian Birdwell would prohibit TSLAC from adopting library standards related to local operating expenditures, collections based on publication dates, hours of operation, and the number or classification of library employees. This bill is dead.

HB 1847 by Rep. Garnet Coleman is the companion bill to SB 196. It was placed on the House calendar May 10 but was not considered by the full House so is dead.
May 2017
Volume. 36 No. 3
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Only 12 Days Remaining in Legislative Session

The 85th Legislative Session adjourns May 29 and time is now a key variable in determining whether or not a bill will pass. May 11 was the last day for House bills to be passed by the House. Senate bills have to get out of House committees by May 20, and be passed by the House by May 23.

The ten members of the budget conference committee continue to work on reconciling the Senate and House spending priorities. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission's total budget includes a 5% reduction in state funds, which TSLAC will be able to absorb without having to cut programs or services. That, in this political and economic climate, should be seen as a win!

Neither of the budget bills includes TSLAC's requests for an additional $8.4 million to purchase new STEM e-resources for TexQuest and TexShare, and $1 million to increase broadband access for public libraries. We continue to contact members of the conference committee to ask that they support library services by adding these additional funds to the TSLAC budget.

Other legislation:
Thank you to everyone that has called, emailed, written, and Tweeted their elected officials!

Federal Library Funding Update

On May 1, congressional negotiators reached an agreement on a bill to fund the U.S. government through September. The "omnibus" bill included $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services – a $1 million increase over FY2016. This is great news for the library community. Now our attention turns to the FY2018 budget process, which promises to be very challenging. May 19 is the deadline for U.S. Senators to sign on to the "Dear Appropriator" letters backing $186.6 million in FY 2018 funding for LSTA and $27 million for IAL. ALA's Office of Government Relations is maintaining an up to the minute online tracker showing which Senators have signed which letter(s). Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have not signed either letter.