Archive for December, 2009

Legislative Preview – State legislative session will be tough

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch hosted a legislative preview in Annapolis on Tuesday evening.  They reported that state revenues are expected to fall again in the next fiscal year, which will create quite a challenge for the state legislators who must develop a balanced budget.  They indicated that additional budget cuts will be necessary, including to education.  For a more detailed account of the preview, read this article from the Capital News Service.


Webinar available online: Get Legislators in Your Library!- from ALA Washington Office

The November 18th webinar entitled “Get Legislators in Your Library!”  is now available online–both the video and the PowerPoint slides.  

Program Description:

One of the best ways to get legislators to listen (and, more important, support you) is to show them what your library does to benefit the community.  Believe it or not, members of Congress still think of libraries as “those places with all the books.”

The good news is that your opportunities to make a real difference are just around the corner.  Members of Congress and their staff will be coming back to their districts for the Thanksgiving and Winter District Work periods (exact dates to be determined).  

Whether it’s a meeting with your trustees, friends or employees, a visit to your library or inviting legislators and staff to a holiday event, this session will offer practical tips for making these visits as worthwhile as possible.

ALA files with FCC importance of libraries in economic development

On Friday, the American Library Association submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that highlights the important role libraries play in workforce development, access to government resources and other aspects of economic development.  For more information, including a link to the filing, see the District Dispatch posting.

Obama releases Open Government Directive

On Tuesday, President Obama released the Open Government Directive to bring about transparency, participation and collaboration in the US government.  Among other things, government agencies will need to make information available online via an open government web site.  See the District Dispatch posting for more details, including a link to the Directive.

ALA gives update on PATRIOT Act, Appropriations bills

Appropriations – Labor, Health & Human Services and Education is one of seven bills that has not yet been passed.  This bill includes funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) and federal funding for libraries.  The Continuing Resolution that was passed to extend the FY2009 funding will expire on December 18th.  There have been conflicting reports, but more than likely Congress with extend the Continuing Resolution until February or March and wrap all of the remaining bills into one omnibus bill.
For more the complete article, see the District Dispatch posting.
Here are updates on these pieces of legislation from the American Library Association (ALA):
PATRIOT Act – Leadership from both houses are working on a short-term extension of the bill that would allow Congress to return to the reauthorization of PATRIOT Act in January.


FY 2011 state budget may have 0% growth; pensions on hold for this session

The Spending Affordability Committee, chaired by Delegate John Bohanan, will be meeting with the Governor on December 17th to make its formal recommendation of what amount, if any, the state can afford to grow the FY 2011 state budget.  While it is projected that Maryland might see actual growth (3.4%) in revenues, the Committee is leaning toward recommending an unprecedented 0% increase.  Last year they recommended a 0.7% increase.

The Governor is not legally obligated to follow the recommendation of the Committee, but for the most part, he does so.  With a 0% increase in the budget, any inflationary or mandatory cost increases (e.g. health insurance) would have to be counter-balanced by cuts in other programs.

Another suggestion has been to shift some or all of the costs of the State Teachers Pension, which is currently fully funded by the state, to the local government.  House Speaker Michael Busch feels strongly that pensions will not be on the table this year because of upcoming elections.  However, it is inevitable that pensions will be addressed at some point during the next two sessions.

ALA submits comments to FCC on National Broadband Plan

The American Library Association (ALA) has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address the broadband adoption part of the National Broadband Plan.  ALA pointed out the excellent position that libraries are in to help meet the goals of the plan.  For more details, including a link to the comments, please see the District Dispatch posting.

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