The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
Today the House and Senate omnibus education and higher education bills were released. Most library appropriations remained at current levels. Here are the items where changes were proposed:
Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS): The Senate education bill increases RLBSS to $14.92 million in FY 2016 (an increase of $1.35 million) and to $15.070 million in FY 2017 and future years (an increase of $1.5 million). The total increase for the biennium is $2.85 million. The RLBSS formula is modified by increasing the base from 5% to 13% and by decreasing the equalization component from 25% to 17%. The House makes no change in RLBSS, so this will be an item of difference in the conference committee.
Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA): The Senate education bill increases funding for TEA to $5.25 million per year, an increase of $1.5 million per year. The House provides no increase for TEA, so this will be an item of difference in the conference committee.
General Education Formula: The House provides an increase of 0.6% in each year of the biennium, while the Senate provides an increase of 1% per year. The general education formula is the primary source of funding for school library media programs.
MnSCU and the University of Minnesota: There are no general operating increases proposed for either MnSCU or the U of M. The Senate higher education bill includes funding for student tuition relief for both systems, while the House bill provides such funding only for MnSCU.
The committees will take testimony and consider amendments to their omnibus bills this week. The bills will be passed out of their respective committees no later than Thursday evening.