Tag Archives: California

Governor Signs 2014-2015 Budget–Library Money is Protected

June 20, 2014
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From the Capitol


Shortly before 10 a.m. this morning, Governor Jerry Brown joined new Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg at a Budget signing event in San Diego.  Before members of the press, the Governor signed SB 852, the main Budget bill, which contains new funding to enact the Governor’s plan to connect public libraries to a high-speed, broadband backbone operated by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), as well as new funding for the California Library Services Act and the state literacy program.  We are grateful to the Governor, the legislature and CLA members and supporters who wrote letters, participated in Day In the District, and made personal calls to legislators this year.

The Governor also released a formal summary document and a list of very modest veto items, as there had been great collaboration between the legislative leaders and the Governor in crafting this year’s 2014-15 Budget.  The summary document notes the following good news for public libraries:

“Significant adjustments:
·          High-Speed Internet Access – the Budget includes $3.3 million General Fund to provide public libraries access to high-speed Internet to better meet the demands of today’s library patrons.  This includes $2.3 million to allow California’s public library branches to access a statewide, high-speed Internet network, and $1 million General Fund on a one-time basis for grants to public libraries that require equipment upgrades to connect to a high-speed network.
·         One-time Local Assistance Funding – The Budget includes $3 million General Fund for local library programs, including $1 million for literacy programs.”

In the case of the second bullet, this funding will be added on to the existing baseline for the California Library Services Act and the literacy program.  You will note that the Governor’s document makes reference to the Local Assistance Funding being “one-time” in nature.  Technically, all items in the annual Budget bill are “one-time” in nature unless there is agreement that they be ongoing appropriations.  Since the Governor has made it clear that he wants to proceed with great prudence as the economy continues to stabilize, we believe this is why he has characterized the new money as “one-time” in nature.  During the Fall, CLA will work actively to make our case as to why the new money should be continued in subsequent Budgets.

New State Librarian Appointed

Governor Brown announced the appointment of a new State Librarian two days ago.  For the full announcement, click here.

Newly appointed State Librarian, Greg Lucas

Governor Brown Releases 2014-2015 Budget Proposal

January 9, 2014

TO:                 CLA Members/ Systems/ Network Contacts

FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

RE:                 News From the Capitol

$3.3 Million for CLA’s major library broadband proposal is included

This morning Governor Jerry Brown released his much anticipated January 2014-15 Budget proposal at a press conference at the State Capitol.  The Governor was previously scheduled to release the Budget tomorrow, January 10th, but the Budget document was inadvertently leaked to a member of the press around 5 p.m. last night and that development prompted the Governor to accelerate the release of his 2014-15 spending plan.   The Governor called the Budget “very good news” and said it represents “fiscal responsibility.” But he also noted that “wisdom and prudence is the order of the day,” referencing the need to exercise fiscal discipline as the state continues to pay down its long-standing financial debt and liabilities.

Citing improving revenues, the Governor’s Budget sets forth a blueprint of reinvestment in various areas that had previously been subject to past years’ budget cuts such as K-12 education, health care, and public safety.  The Budget also eliminates $11 billion in debt and establishes a “rainy day fund.”

Most notably, the Governor has indicated his strong support of CLA’s lobbying effort to secure funding in the state Budget for a statewide, broadband infrastructure project benefitting public libraries by including $3.3 million in his proposal released today.  Specifically, his 2014-15 proposal reads:

Significant Adjustment:
High Speed Internet Access – The Budget proposes $3.3 million General Fund to provide public libraries access to high-speed Internet to better meet the demands of today’s library patrons.  This includes $2.3 million to allow California’s public library branches to access a statewide, high-speed Internet network, and $1 million General fund on a one-time basis for grants to public libraries that require equipment upgrades to connect to a high-speed network.”

You will recall that during the 2013 legislative year, CLA worked with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) and the California State Library to try to secure funding in the State Budget to bring public libraries on to a 3,000 mile high speed, statewide broadband “backbone” operated by CENIC.  CENIC currently provides this same broadband service to the entire K-12 community, as well as UC, CSU, and the state’s community colleges.  Ultimately, the legislature agreed to include language in the 2013-14 Budget bill to require the State Library to conduct a comprehensive, statewide broadband Needs Assessment to determine the precise level of connectivity and speed at public libraries.  The Needs Assessment, which was finalized in early October, produced findings that were quite telling.  The report overwhelmingly supported the case for CLA’s broadband funding request when it demonstrated that, for example, 52% of public libraries reported connecting at 10 Mbps or slower.

The Governor’s proposal, if approved by the Legislature, will allow public libraries to connect to the CENIC broadband backbone after the start of the fiscal year, July 1 or once the state Budget is approved and signed by the Governor.  The Needs Assessment determined that 80% of the public libraries are well positioned to join the CENIC network with little modifications to existing service.  Because there are approximately 20% of public libraries that may need assistance with the purchase of circuits or other hardware, etc., the Governor’s Budget recognizes that scenario and authorizes $1 million in one-time funding to provide for that assistance.

In the coming weeks, we will be instructing CLA members and library supporters as to how to contact members of the Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees and Budget leadership to encourage their strong support of the Governor’s broadband plan for public libraries.  There is still much to do before a proposal of this level can come to fruition.  In the meantime, we encourage all of you to participate in this year’s “CLA Day In the District” event so that you can use it as an opportunity to ask your legislator to support the broadband proposal.

We are grateful to Governor Brown, and particularly his Department of Finance for working with CLA, CENIC and the State Library over the last year and, most recently during the Fall months, as we made one more concerted advocacy push for the program.  Today’s announcement by the Governor is an exciting recognition of this forward-thinking, game changing proposal for public libraries.

News From the Capitol

August 13, 2013


FROM:    Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

RE:        News From the Capitol


The Assembly returned from their month-long Summer Recess on August 5th, and the Senate returned yesterday from their recess.  There is still no clear explanation – aside from politics – as to why the houses took staggered recesses this year, but because of the overlap, the Senate wrapped up their policy committee hearings of Assembly bills before they departed in July.  Yesterday the Senate heard approximately 190 measures in its fiscal committee, Senate Appropriations, which took the committee proceedings into the early evening.

In the next few weeks, with both houses in session, legislators and Capitol staff will have just a short window to conclude hearing bills in various committees, as the legislative deadlines are quickly approaching and the 2013 Session will officially conclude at midnight on September 13th.   These next few weeks are notoriously the most harried time in Sacramento all year, with last minute proposals, infamous “gut and amends,” rule waivers, and committee hearings often lasting late into the evenings.  The final two weeks of the Session are reserved for Floor Sessions only, when the Houses will convene daily to consider all of the remaining measures, most of which will reach the Governor for his consideration.  The Governor will have until October 13th to act on the many bills sent to him in the final days of Session.


As your lobbyists, we would like to make a special appeal to all public library directors who recently received a memo and survey from Acting State Librarian, Gerry Maginnity.  The State Librarian is requesting your participation in a critically important statewide broadband assessment, by jurisdiction and branch, and we would like to stress the importance of your participation.  The information being collected by the State Library is being requested by the State Legislature in order to assess whether or not state funding for broadband connection should be provided to public libraries in the 2014-15 Budget.   We can’t stress enough how critical it is to have a strong rate of participation in this survey so that the legislature fully understands the connection challenges and lack of broadband strength at many California libraries.  Even if your library enjoys strong broadband strength now, there are more and more imminent pressures that will impact your existing service with the launch of the Affordable Care Act this Fall, the GED test going online shortly, employers requiring job applications to be filled out online, or veterans needing computers to apply for benefits, not to mention the many patrons who come into the library with their own “tablets,” looking to use the Wifi.

This year, you will recall, CLA fought to get state funding into the 2013-14 Budget for the purpose of connecting all public library outlets to a high-speed, broadband “backbone,” operated by CENIC (the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California).  Originally, $2.25 million in funding was included in the Budget by the Budget Conference Committee, but when the legislature negotiated final numbers with the Governor, he requested that millions of dollars in augmentations be stricken in order to balance the state Budget – including the money requested by CLA.  The legislature, however, did include language in the Budget bill that requires the State Library to conduct a broadband infrastructure assessment and to provide a report to the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst, and the Budget Subcommittees on Education Finance.

We have been very impressed with the effort of Gerry Maginnity and Jarrid Keller at the State Library and the other folks they are working with as they embark on this endeavor.  Their survey is comprehensive and will provide much needed data for the legislature and the Governor’s Department of Finance.  Additionally, the State Library has been conducting a series of webinars that walk library directors and other interested parties through the process, and they offer the assistance of a “Help Desk,” to work through various questions you may have.

What we heard, time and time again from the legislature, as we lobbied this issue this past year with our colleagues at CENIC and the State Library, was that there is support for the concept of providing funding to public libraries for this purpose – but the data must support our contentions.  Please, take a minute today to help us make this broadband survey a big success by completing the application provided to you by the State Library.


There have been some inquiries regarding a $25 million item contained in the 2013-14 Budget for adult education restructuring, and whether or not public libraries would be eligible for any of that funding for their adult literacy programs.  In his January Budget, the Governor indicated a need to coordinate efforts between K-12 school districts and community colleges for the provision of Adult Education programs, but there was also an acknowledgement by the Governor that many adult education programs have been eliminated.   The January Budget proposed an increase of $300 million to community colleges, arguing that they were better positioned to address the needs of adult learners.  However, concerns were raised with the timing and the structure of the proposal and the Governor subsequently decided to maintain the status quo for existing adult education programs for 2 years.

Instead, in the Governor’s “May Revision” of the Budget, he suggested that $30 million be provided for “two year planning and implementation grants,” for adult education restructuring, which was reduced by the legislature to $25 million and signed into law by the Governor.  Of important note:  this money is Proposition 98 funding, which means that it is only eligible to be directly distributed to K-12 school districts and community colleges.  In other words, public libraries are not directly eligible for this funding.  However, the legislature did adopt the concept of “regional consortiums” which would be jointly operated by districts and community colleges but which could also include other providers such as workforce investment boards, local correctional facilities, and other local public entities such as libraries and community based organizations.

We have had several conversations with Paul Steenhausen, the author of a Legislative Analyst’s Office report entitled, “Restructuring California’s Adult Education System” (Dec. 5, 2012) and he stresses that it would be incumbent upon libraries, individually, to approach their local community colleges and K-12 districts and offer their services as an adult literacy provider, etc. in order to create a collaborative relationship.  The public library then, would be considered a contractor with the community college or K-12 district and could be eligible for funding.

As additional information becomes available, we will keep you informed.

Upcoming Legislative Breakfast in Menlo Park

PLP will be sponsoring a Legislative Breakfast this year! It will be held on Saturday, September 14th at the Stanford Park Hotel, 100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. The featured speakers are Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, who will bring their unique perspective as the CLA lobbyists in Sacramento and offer some insight into library-related legislation, including SCA 7-Wolk and efforts to secure funding to bring broadband connectivity to all public libraries in the State.

Write your legislator today!

Write your legislator today!

Senate Elections Committee Will Hear SCA7-Wolk Next Week

June 12, 2013


FROM:    Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

RE:        News From The Capitol


The Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee will be holding a hearing on several measures next Tuesday that propose to change the current two-thirds vote requirement for local construction bonds, special taxes, and school parcel taxes to a 55% vote, including CLA’s sponsored measure, SCA 7 by Senator Wolk.  You will recall that SCA 7 would lower the local vote threshold for the issuance of library construction bonds or for special taxes for the purpose funding library operations.  The measure had a good hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on May 15, and passed out with all Democrat members voting in support.

Because Constitutional Amendments do not have to adhere to the same policy deadlines as regular legislation, they can move through the process at any time.  It was believed that the 55% measures might be held for the rest of the year, and resurrected in 2014 when Democrat Leadership could make some determinations about how to move forward with a united package, rather than 6 or 7 individual measures.  However, SCA 7 has been scheduled in its second policy committee, Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments, for Tuesday, June 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Yesterday when we checked with the Senate Elections Committee, we saw that they were incorporating all of your support letters from the prior hearing in Senate Governance and Finance on to their support list for their committee’s bill analysis.  When we met with the Chief Consultant today he said, “I can’t believe how many letters I have gotten on this bill.”  Thus, you do not need to send your letters again to the Senate Elections Committee, as you will be reflected on the committee analysis.  However, if you did not send a letter previously and would like to do so now, the contact information is as follows:

Senator Norma Torres, Chair
Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee
State Capitol, Room 2203
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Attention:  Darren Chesin, Chief Consultant

Fax Number:  (916) 445-2496

Senate Budget Committee Approves $2.5 Million In Library Funding

May 28, 2013


FROM:    Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

RE:        News From the Capitol


Last Wednesday we reported that the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance approved a $5 million Budget appropriation for CLA’s proposal to connect all public libraries to the CENIC high-speed, statewide broadband backbone, plus funding for the state literacy program.  On Thursday, their colleagues in the Senate similarly acted to close out their agenda.   Late in the afternoon the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance approved a $2.5 million appropriation to fund the initial ramp-up of the CLA/CENIC connection plan.

Friday afternoon the full Senate Budget Committee met to approve the various subcommittee work as a comprehensive package.  Specifically, the staff recommendation regarding the CLA “Budget ask” reads as follows:

“Staff recommends that the Subcommittee approve $2.5 million one-time to start connecting libraries to the CENIC system.  The Subcommittee further would adopt budget bill language to require that the State Library also pursue GF (General Fund) offsetting or additional funding from the CPUC Teleconnect Fund to support the effort.”

The staff report goes on to note:  “There is much work to secure connection to the CENIC network.  Once the connection is made, additional monies for equipment upgrades may be warranted.  Furthermore, staff notes that $2.8 million was provided to literacy programs in the current fiscal year and this request would be ongoing.”

Last week’s action in the Senate is certainly good news in that it indicates a level of interest for the project.  Since the Assembly recommendation was $5 million (CENIC plus literacy) and the Senate recommends $2.5 million for CENIC only, these numbers and the corresponding policy decisions will need to be reconciled by the powerful two-house Budget Conference Committee which is scheduled to begin meeting Friday (May 31).

Please take a moment today to contact 6 key individuals who will sit on this year’s Budget Conference Committee, and encourage their strong support for:

Budget Item – 6120 – State Library – Assembly Version

In your letters (or calls), please note how your libraries are seeing continued high, if not record attendance, which places pressure on your existing broadband and literacy resources.  Feel free to give specific examples of how your patrons will need a robust, high-speed broadband service to be able to adequately access to JobScout, online learning, a computer to apply for or to research the Affordable Care Act health plans, etc.  If you have literacy programs in danger of closing or filled to capacity, please note this as well.

Please fax your letters to the following members listed below.  If you would rather call those members, we have included their office phone numbers.

Thank you for your help.  Letters will need to be sent to the members no later than Monday, June 3.

Key Members of the Budget Conference Committee

The Honorable Mark Leno
Chair, Senate Budget Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA.  95814
Phone:  (916) 651-4011            Fax:  (916) 445-4722

The Honorable Bill Emmerson
Vice Chair, Senate Budget Committee
Phone:  (916) 651-4023            Fax:  (916) 327-2272

The Honorable Bob Blumenfield
Chair, Assembly Budget Committee
Phone:  (916) 319-2045            Fax:  (916) 319-2145

The Honorable Jeff Gorell
Vice Chair, Assembly Budget Committee
Phone:  (916) 319-2044            Fax:  (916) 319-2144

SCA 7-Wolk Passes First Committee

May 15, 2013

FROM:    Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:        News From the Capitol

Thank you to library community for support letters

Shortly after noon today, SCA 7 by Senator Lois Wolk passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a straight partisan vote (all Democrat members voting “aye” and the two Republican members voting “no.”)  SCA 7 would authorize the lowering of the local vote threshold from two-thirds to 55% for cities, counties, or library districts to issue construction bonds or levy special taxes for library operations.  If passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, as a constitutional amendment, it would need to be passed by the voters on the November 2014 statewide ballot.

Today’s committee agenda for Senate Governance and Finance contained 6 constitutional amendments, (including Senator Wolk’s), which each seek to lower the local vote threshold for various purposes including transportation projects, special taxes, education, and others.  To give all of the measures a fair and thorough hearing, Senator Wolk, who also Chairs the Committee, scheduled all of the related constitutional amendments for a “special order” commencing at 10:30 a.m.  In her overview remarks Senator Wolk stated that the discussion about many of the measures would, undoubtedly, center around Proposition 13, but she said that it would be unrealistic to “suggest that the 35 year old law is perfect.”  She said that Proposition 13 ultimately “shifted the financing of key public resources to more unstable options….These measures will increase local flexibility and advance the Governor’s concept of subsidiarity, which brings services closest to the people.”   Finally, she closed by asking if an “initiative approved by parents and grandparents should bind voters today.  They should have their say.”

After all of the authors had presented their measures (which each similarly passed on a straight partisan vote), Senator Wolk took up her SCA 7.  During her presentation, Senator Wolk stressed the importance of libraries to our communities, saying that they “aren’t our traditional libraries anymore.  They are offering a host of important services from literacy training to resume building classes, to students who use the after-school online tutoring programs.”  Mike Dillon testified on behalf of CLA, noting that the year 2000 marked the last time there was a statewide bond approved by the voters and it quickly was exhausted due to the overwhelming infrastructure need of communities.  He explained that it was important to give local governments and local voters the ability to make choices for their communities, such as bond construction, or helping to alleviate some of the drastic cuts that were made to library programs in the state Budget, by levying a local tax for library operations.

Patty Wong, the Yolo County Library Director, member of CLA’s Legislative Committee, and former recipient of Senator Wolk’s “Woman of the Year” award, indicated that the measure had the full support of the Yolo County Supervisors and was much needed for her county. In terms of construction needs, she noted a $5-8 million need over the next 10-12 years and added that the patron satisfaction ratings are “beyond high and we have more people than we can possibly serve.  We are the most reliable source for broadband.  We are the people’s university and their small business center, and their home away from home.”

Also testifying in support of the measure were two representatives of the Friends of the Sacramento Public Library, the California State Association of Counties, the lobbyist for the cities of Pasadena and Burbank, Alan Smith Contra Costa Library Commissioner – also representing the California Public Library Advocates (formerly CALTAC), the League of Cities, the California Labor Federation, and lobbyists for Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose.  CLA members are to be commended for their strong outpouring of letters of support for this measure, which was represented in the lengthy list in the committee analysis.  (Please see the link to the analysis for SCA 7 to view the full, impressive grouping.)

The SCA measures were not without opposition, with a group of business interests from the Chamber of Commerce to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, to the realtor and apartment association groups and Farm Bureau, asking the members of the committee to oppose each SCA, based on the “state’s current high tax burden” and various other arguments.

SCA 7 subsequently passed out of committee on a partisan vote, as mentioned.  All of the bills are now double-referred to the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee, but because they are constitutional amendments, they do not subscribe to the same timeline as a standard bill.  They can be taken up this year or early next year.  Once SCA 7 is officially assigned to the next policy committee, we will send you the contact information for those Senators and we will be asking you to write letters of support again.

Legislative Update: California Library Week

March 15, 2013
FROM:            Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                  News From the Capitol


Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) has introduced SCR 14, a legislative resolution celebrating “California Library Week,” from April 14 to April 20, 2013.  The measure, sponsored by CLA, seeks to highlight the positive contributions of public libraries, librarians, and all library workers for “enriching the lives of California residents.”  The week of celebration will coincide with National Library Week, wherein libraries throughout the state and the nation will be hosting special events and highlighting important local programs and services.

Senator Wolk is also the sponsor of SCA 7, the constitutional amendment that seeks to lower the local voter threshold from the current two-thirds vote to 55% for a community seeking to pass a library construction bond or a special tax for the support of the library.  This measure is also sponsored by CLA and has not yet been set for hearing in its first legislative policy committee – the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.  (However, constitutional amendments do not have the same time deadlines as bills, and there is a likelihood that SCA 7 could be set early to mid May.)

CLA is grateful to Senator Wolk for her long-standing commitment to library issues at the Capitol and for her strong support of her local libraries.


On Wednesday, you received a “News From the Capitol” report from our office, regarding a “call to action,” for this year’s so-called “Budget ask” involving the CENIC/CLA/State Library proposal to connect libraries to the CENIC backbone.  We incorrectly noted that Senator Ted Gaines was a member of the Senate Budget Subcommittee Number One on Education Finance, but he has, in fact been replaced.  Senator Mark Wyland, the current Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee, will take Senator Gaines’ place on the subcommittee this year.

Here is the correct list for the Senate Budget Subcommittee Number 1 on Education Finance –

Senator Marty Block, Chair – Room 4090

Senator Roderick Wright – Room 2032

Senator Mark Wyland – Room 4048

We apologize for the confusion.

News for Local Library Measures


November 30, 2012


CONTACT: Melissa Jones (916) 651-4005

Senator announces bill to support local public libraries

Wolk proposes 55 percent voter approval for local library measures

SACRAMENTO–Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) announced today that she will introduce a state constitutional amendment  next week to make it easier for local governments to raise funds to support public libraries by lowering the vote requirement for local library bonds and taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent, similar to K-12 school bond measures.

“Libraries are a vital resource for our communities. They provide essential services to the state’s education system and to our communities.  But while demand for library services is growing, many libraries are struggling to meet the needs of their users in light of ongoing state and local budget cuts,” Wolk said.  “We’ve seen major reductions in hours and even closings.  Lowering the voter threshold to 55 percent will give more local communities the ability to keep libraries open and serving their needs.”

Children, students, families, and seniors all depend on public libraries for a variety of services, including literacy programs, computer access, and other resources.  As public schools are also closing or cutting school libraries, students must rely on public libraries more than ever before.   Unfortunately, even with the November passage of the Governor’s tax proposal, local governments will have to step in to prevent further reductions in services.

Currently, general purpose tax measures that may be used to fund general local services require only a simple majority vote to pass.  However, special taxes dedicated to specified uses, such as libraries, require two-thirds voter approval.

“In the November elections, two California library parcel tax measures failed despite receiving substantial majorities, with more than 55 percent yes votes from their communities.  The proposed change to 55 percent would still require significant support from local voters,” said Derek Wolfgram, President of the California Library Association. “In order to provide additional opportunities for communities to support the positive actions libraries take to transform the lives of California residents, the California Library Association strongly endorses this legislation.”

“Libraries are responsible for building strong communities throughout California,” said Patty Wong, Yolo County Library Director and a supporter of the proposed legislation. “Senator Wolk’s measure would mean increased library support throughout the state. Yolo County is growing and we need to meet the library needs in rural areas like Dunnigan and the Capay Valley, as well as expand in urban communities like west Sacramento and Davis.