Tag Archives: California

Governor Signs 2014-2015 Budget–Library Money is Protected

June 20, 2014
TO:                 CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From the Capitol

GOVERNOR SIGNS 2014-15 BUDGET – LIBRARY MONEY IS PROTECTED

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

GOVERNOR BROWN RELEASES 2014-15 BUDGET PROPOSAL:
$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:

“CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
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

TO:        CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS

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

RE:        News From the Capitol

I.     LEGISLATURE RETURNS FROM SUMMER RECESS

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.

II.     LEGISLATIVE SUCCESS AT CAPITOL DEPENDS ON YOUR PARTICIPATION IN STATE LIBRARY BROADBAND STUDY

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.

III.    ADULT EDUCATION RESTRUCTURING – OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES TO PARTICIPATE IN “CONSORTIUMS” TO PROVIDE LITERACY SERVICES

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!