Archive for May, 2012

Free Webinar! Funding Cuts Got You Down? 10 Insider Tactics for Impacting the Funding Debate (for the Better!)

Learn about techniques to influence council members, legislators, administrators and others  and their perception of the library’s value during a free webinar on Wednesday, June 13, 4:00-5:00pm from the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office. For more information on this webinar, including how to register, go to the registration page.

If you’re attending the ALA Annual Conference in June, you can continue the discussion at a conference program.

Action Alert! White House Petition for open access to taxpayer-funded research

Show your support for open access by signing an online petition at We the People asking the White House to require the published results of taxpayer-funded research be made available for free on the Internet. The petition must have at least 25,000 signatures by June 19th to ensure the White House will respond. The petition is available at

The petition request is based on the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012 (FRPAA, S 2096 and HR 4004). FRPAA would make taxpayer-funded research from 11 federal departments available for free, closely modeling the National Institutes of Health model. Both bills have been referred to Committee. HR 4004 was referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Congressman Cummings serves on this Committee.

We the People is a tool that allows an individual to petition the Obama Administration online. If a petition gets at least 25,000 signatures, White House staff will review it, send it to the appropriate experts and issue an official response.

Please sign the petition to show your support of open access! Help spread the word by forwarding, posting and tweeting #openaccess. Thanks in advance for your support!

MD General Assembly passes budget in special session

On Wednesday, May 16th, the Maryland General Assembly passed a budget and revenue bill for FY 2013 in a special session. The bill includes an increase in income taxes that will benefit the counties and help offset a 50% push down of the Teacher Pension. For more information, please see the Gazette article.

Legislative Panel Meeting Minutes, 3/2/2012

The Minutes from the Legislative Panel’s Meeting on March 2, 2012 are now available.

Legislative Update at MLA Conference

At the Maryland Library Association Conference last week, Legislative Panel Officers Mary Baykan, Mary Hastler and Natalie Edington presented a program entitled “Legislative Update: What’s New for Libraries in Maryland an d Federal Legislation.” The program included an overview of the state budget process, an update on state and federal budgets and legislation and a review of several advocacy tools.  The PowerPoint slides are available online for both the state and federal presentations.

Senate passes Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

The Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 (S 743) by unanimous consent. The American Library Association supported this bill because it ensures the American public’s Right to Know, a value of libraries. The bill would expand the scope of whistleblower protections in the federal government, including the employees of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). The bill has now been passed on to the House, where there is already a companion bill, HR 3289, which is co-sponsored by Congressmen Cummings and Van Hollen.

Feel free to thank both Senators for the passage of this bill, particularly Senator Cardin, who co-sponsored the bill.

MD General Assembly to have special session for budget

On Monday, May 14th, the General Assembly will convene for a special session to discuss and vote on a budget for FY 2013. According to an announcement yesterday from Governor O’Malley, the compromise budget proposal that will be discussed includes $109 million in spending reductions to the $35.9 million budget, as well as an income tax increase and elimination of exemptions that would generate $195.6 million in state revenue.

The plan also includes a shift of 50% of the “normal cost” of teacher pensions, or $136.6 million, to counties starting in FY 2013. This would increase to a 100% shift in FY 2016. The normal cost is the amount required to pay pension liabilities if the system had not been underfunded.

For more information on the budget proposal and the special session, including a video of O’Malley’s announcement, please see the Gazette article.

The General Assembly did not pass a tax bill prior to the conclusion of the legislative session on April 9th. This means that the state is scheduled to automatically go into FY 2013 on July 1st using the “doomsday” budget, which includes a $512 million cut for education, libraries, public safety and other programs. (For more information, see the earlier blog post.) If the General Assembly votes in favor of this new proposal, the state would not implement the “doomsday” budget.

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