The following information was shared via email with the library community by Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates, in her role as MLA-ITEM lobbyist.
Legacy Bill: This afternoon the House passed its omnibus Legacy bill, HF 303, on the floor by a vote of 97-31 . No amendments were proposed to the Arts and Cultural Heritage article of the bill. When Rep. Dean Urdahl described the bill at the beginning of the debate he once again emphasized that there were no cuts in the bill because there is no such thing in Legacy. The Senate Legacy bill is expected to be released next week.
Omnibus Education Finance and Policy Bills: Yesterday the Senate passed its omnibus education finance bill and its omnibus education policy bill on the floor. Last Saturday the House passed its omnibus education finance and policy bill (finance and policy are combined in a single bill).
The House appointed its conferees this afternoon. They are Rep. Jenifer Loon (R – Eden Prairie), Rep. Sondra Erickson (R – Princeton), Rep. Ron Kresha (R – Little Falls), Rep. Bob Dettmer (R- Forest Lake) and Rep. Roz Peterson (R – Lakeville). Senate conferees are expected to be named tomorrow. I will send out an alert with contact information for the conferees once they have all been named.
Here is a rundown of the key issues for libraries in these bills:
Regional Library Basic System Support (RLBSS): The Senate provides an increase of $1.5 million per year. Because of the 90%/10% payment schedule, the actual amount of the increase will be $1.35 million in FY 16 and $1.5 million in FY 17 and beyond. The Senate also changes the RLBSS formula by reducing the ANTC portion from 25% to 17% and by increasing the base amount from 5% to 13%. The funding increase ensures that every regional library system receives an increase under the new formula. The House has no increase and no formula change.
Regional Library Telecommunications Aid (RLTA): Both the House and Senate bills include nearly identical language to more closely align RLTA with the federal e-rate program.
Telecommunications Equity Aid (TEA): The Senate increases funding for TEA by $1.5 million per year for the 16-17 biennium only. The House provides no increase.
School Technology: The Senate requires school districts to reserve future increases in revenue from the School Endowment Fund for technology and telecommunications infrastructure, programs and training.
After School: The Senate provides $500,000 per year in the 16-17 biennium only for after school programs. The House provides no funding.
Omnibus Tax Bills: The House passed its omnibus tax bill on the floor yesterday. The provisions I reported on in my April 22 update remained unchanged. The Senate released its omnibus tax bill on Monday and passed it out of committee yesterday. It will be brought up on the Senate floor on Monday. Here are the provisions in the bill of interest to libraries:
Local Government Aid is increased by $21.5 million in FY 17 (payable in calendar year 2016) and by $45.6 million per year in FY 2018 and beyond. LGA will be paid to cities in four installments rather than in two. The new payments dates are March 15, July 15, September 15 and November 15.
County Program Aid is increased by $25 million in FY 17 (payable in calendar year 2016) and by $29.7 million per year in FY 2018 and beyond.
Elaine Keefe, Capitol Hill Associates