Archive for January, 2011

BRFA includes flat budget for libraries through 2016

The Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) includes any changes in the law requested by the Governor that would be necessary to implement proposed budget items.  These changes must be approved, rejected or amended by the General Assembly.

Since the Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2012 includes a change in the law regarding the scheduled per capita increase for libraries, this is included in the BRFA.  Pages 14 and 15 of the BRFA show the public libraries, State Library Resource Center (SLRC) and Regional libraries flat-lined through the year 2016, then receiving incremental increases until reaching $15 per capita in 2019.

Report released on E-rate program changes

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information and Technology Policy (OITP) released a report that outlines the key changes to the E-rate program that go into effect in September.  According to the District Dispatch:

“The report also outlines the American Library Association’s (ALA) efforts to review the rule changes, compare these changes to the previous program rules, and inform the library community of the resulting impact on the eligibility of various services and the application process.”

ALA releases summary of Net Neutrality order

The American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office released a summary of the Net Neutrality order issued last month by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  The summary also includes concerns about the new order.

Companies are also reacting to the new Net Neutrality order.  A blog article from the Washington Post discusses the corporate side of this subject.

Governor releases FY 12 state budget – Public libraries flat funded; Some changes to pension

On Friday, January 21st, Governor O’Malley released the Maryland state budget proposal.  Two areas are of most interest to libraries:

Library Funding

It appears that public libraries, the State Library Resource Center (SLRC) and the Regional libraries have all been flat funded, with only the formula causing a small change.


The Governor is proposing retaining the existing defined benefits system.  However, the proposal includes a one-time choice for current employees to a) continue to contribute 5% with a 1.5% benefit multiplier (reduced from 1.8%) or b) increase their contribution to 7% and continue to earn benefits with a 1.8% multiplier.  New employees will automatically contribute 7% and receive a 1.5% benefit multiplier.  More information about the pension system and other benefits is available on the Governor’s web site. 

Budget Announcement

To view the proposed budget, Powerpoint presentations, budget highlights, video of the announcement and more, visit the budget announcement on the Governor’s web site.  The budget proposal has now been turned over to the General Assembly.

Action Alert! Support bill to exempt ordinary books from CPSIA

A bill (HR 272) has been reintroduced in the House to amend the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) to exclude ordinary books from required lead testing standards.  Lead tests on books have found lead levels far below the future requirements.  Last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a report stating that although Congress did not intend to include ordinary books, the CPSC could not grant an exclusion for these items.  The CPSC issued a one-year stay for implementation, which is set to expire on February 10th.

HR 272 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  The complete list of committee members for the 112th Congress has not yet been posted, but Sarbanes did serve on this committee in the 111th Congress.

Please contact your representative in the House and ask them to support and/or co-sponsor HR 272.  A Capwiz Action Alert has been set up at and provides additional background information and talking points.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

Legislators return to Annapolis

The 90-day legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly began last Wednesday, January 12th.  So far, there has been no action related to library issues.  For a summary of opening day, see the Gazette article.

FEMA now includes libraries as temporary relocation facility

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now includes libraries on the list of facilities that need a temporary location during a major disaster or emergency.  Senator Jack Reed was instrumental in bringing about this change. This is a great victory to help libraries provide essential services when beginning to recover from an emergency.  For a few more details, please see the District Dispatch.

Elected officials forecast budget challenges and possible solutions

At the Maryland Association of Counties (MACO) Conference, Governor O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch are talking with local elected officials about the challenges facing them as they wrestle with the state budget and a projected $1.6 billion shortfall.

O’Malley has promised not to pass along any teacher pension costs this year, adding that the pension system must be changed first.  However, the General Assembly could still decide to shift some of the costs.  Miller and Busch also warned that the budget will very likely include a reduction in local aid.  Local officials are concerned with the impact and that tax payers will suffer.  For more information, check out the following articles:

Continuing Resolution maintains federal budget until March 4th

A Continuing Resolution passed by the 111th Congress at the end of December will allow the federal government to continue running on FY 2010’s spending levels until March 4th.  The 112th Congress, which just convened on January 5th, has not yet taken any measures to establish a budget for the remaining portion of the fiscal year.

Revised Federal Issue Briefs available

The 112th session of Congress will begin on Wednesday, January 5th.  The American Library Association (ALA) has revised the Issue Briefs that provide information on key federal issues that impact libraries.  (These are the same types of briefs that are used for National Library Legislative Day, an annual advocacy event.)  The topics covered are:

  • Access
  • Appropriations for Libraries
  • Broadband & Telecommunications
  • Copyright
  • Government Services & Information
  • How to Use the Washington Office Online
  • Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA)
  • School Libraries
  • Surveillance & Privacy


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