Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
April 26, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • Indiana General Assembly adjourned
  • Celebrate Internet Connectivity and INSPIRE in the final budget
  • The Twists and Turns of HEA1343
  • Quick Links
What YOU can do
What you missed in prior issues - Catch up here.
Indiana General Assembly adjourned early: our session overview

The Indiana General Assembly adjourned late 4/24 and before its 4/29 deadline. The 2019 session resulted in increased funding for education, significant changes to the gaming industry, support services for children and families affected by abuse and neglect and many new policies. The budget bill is the only "must-pass" bill of the session, where ILF prioritized funding requests for Internet Connectivity, INSPIRE and Indiana State Library .

Indiana Library Federation and its members were actively engaged throughout the session on bills that impact libraries. We started the session meeting with newly elected legislators and key leaders. We shared our 2019 priorities and explained the importance of public, school and academic libraries in lifelong learning and in a quality of place. Once bills were introduced, we focused on working with legislators to amend bills to include reasonable requirements and to avoid unintentional consequences. Our March 12 Statehouse Day  connected 75 advocates in meetings with more than 65 individual legislators.

While we did not achieve all that we wanted, ILF ended the session with many things to celebrate: funding in the budget; increased member engagement in grassroots advocacy; bipartisan legislative support; and avoidance of harmful language in several bills.

ILF monitored and lobbied on many bills (see full bill list ). Enacted legislation that directly impacts libraries is described below.
  • HEA1001, the biennial state budget billincludes funding for Indiana State Library operations, statewide library services, as well as our ILF priorities of stable funding for INSPIRE, Indiana's virtual library, and internet connectivity, which helps libraries offer free internet to millions of Hoosiers each year. The budget bill also increases funding for K-12 education.
  • HEA1214, Construction Managers as Constructorsadds public libraries to the list of public agencies in a definition that will help with planned building projects by members.
  • HEA1343, Libraries, provides an elected fiscal body the option to pass a resolution to require binding review over a library budget if the "cash on hand" and "anticipated revenues" exceed 150% of proposed budget. HEA1343 allows a Council to cut the budget or levy by no more than 10% and requires public notice. See detailed summary below. New language was added in the final hours of the session that changed the definition and calculation for the 150% trigger.
  • HEA1427, Local Government Matters, makes several changes related to processes with Department of Local Government Finance, enables changes to the distribution of certified shares, and requires an interim study of Local Income Tax and GIS mapping. Many additions were made to this bill in the final hours, and additional new library language was not included in the final version.
  • Bills died (SB64 and SB436) related to criminal history check for library employees and volunteers. (ILF will continue to work with members over the summer on sample policies.)
Celebrate INSPIRE and Internet Connectivity in the Final Budget

Please THANK THE HOUSE AND SENATE for funding INSPIRE and Internet Connectivity in the two-year budget, HEA1001 . We make it easy with our ILF Advocacy Center or this link . Share a local story of why these matter to your students, patrons and communities.
The final budget includes $1,585,000 annually for internet connectivity for public libraries and $3,415,000 annually for school internet connectivity. Libraries are often the only place to access the internet for community residents and students. Internet access is essential for research and homework completion, e-government and business transactions, online courses, job applications and basic communications.
The final budget includes $1,382,250 each year for INSPIRE . Students or patrons rely on scholarly articles, Consumer Reports, TeachingBooks.Net, test-prep programs, historical newspapers or many other resources in Indiana's virtual library. INSPIRE provides cost savings to libraries by consolidating access to quality academic and popular resources. For many schools and some Indiana college campuses, INSPIRE is the only access to scholarly databases.
Twists and Turns with HEA1343, Libraries

More library people are newly engaged in advocacy. Some have expressed surprise at the twists and turns of the legislative process. We have tried to summarize the seemingly roller coaster ride with the public library bill below.

The expressed intentions of HEA1343, Libraries , were 1) to increase accountability to taxpayers where library fund reserves are high and 2) to foster collaboration among local units, especially in the age of property tax caps. The introduced bill would have required binding budgetary review for all libraries. The House amended it to make binding review optional , limited the amount a library budget could be cut, and passed the bill 63-33. The Senate further amended the bill with 1) threshold triggers related to budget, levy and reserves, 2) notice provisions, and 3) limitations of no more than 10% cuts to budget and levy . With these guardrail protections, ILF supported the Senate passed version of HB1343 , which passed the Senate 34-14. Prior Updates included detailed descriptions and video from the process described above.

The bill author dissented, sending the bill to conference committee and preparing a report that stripped the bill back to the House version. Between 4/18 and 4/24, several versions of conference report language were discussed, and ILF worked in earnest to meet legislators' goals and to provide protections for libraries. ILF agrees that libraries should collaborate with local units, maintain responsible reserves and share capital improvement plans. ILF and some legislators expressed concerns about Councils taking control of library budgets for self-serving or punitive reasons and then cutting budgets or levies up to 10% per year.

In the final hours of session, new language changed the 150% threshold calculation from total "unallocated funds" over budget to new definitions of "cash on hand" and "anticipated revenues." (Because tax disbursements are received twice a year, library cash balances usually include 6 months of revenue in Dec/Jan and June/July when reports are submitted to DLGF.) While ILF appreciates guardrails of optional review, public notice and limits on cuts to budget and levy, ILF opposed the new definitions and calculation for the threshold in the final Conference Committee Report. ILF is concerned HEA1343 may sweep more libraries under binding review than the libraries with high reserves as intended. The report passed the Senate 29-20 and the House 57-39 . ILF hopes to work with DLGF on the guidance for libraries about definitions, calculations and implementation of HEA1343.

You may watch the conference committee public process through archived video below.
* Conference Committee - 4/18, 9am
* Senate Rules Committee - 4/24, around 6:30pm, no video available at time of publication
* House Rules Committee - 4/24, around 7: 15pm, select 4/24 upon recess #2, 41:45-47:21
* Senate Floor Debate and Vote - 4/24, around 8:15pm, select 4/24, part 5, 50:42-1:08:10
* House Floor Debate and Vote - 4/24, around 9pm, select 4/24 part 4, 1:26:41 - 1:43:28

ILF sincerely appreciates legislators' support of libraries and their willingness to make review optional and to include threshold triggers, notice provisions and limitations on cuts.
Attend Legislator Wrap-Up Events
Some legislators will hold a "legislative wrap-up" session. See our calendar for upcoming events in your area .

Prepping to Meet Your Legislator
  1. Find your legislators where you live and where you work. Research their bio, committees and votes. Thank them for their efforts.
  2. Develop or strengthen your relationship. Offer to be a resource for them about any library questions. Invite them to see your library in action for summer reading events, open houses, special programs and more.
  3. Email us for specific information and let us know what you learn.
Many thanks to the ILF Advocacy Team and to all Advocates!
The ILF Advocacy Committee meets monthly, is co-chaired by Kristi Howe and Kelly Ehinger , and makes recommendations to the ILF Board of Directors . The ILF Advocacy Committee contributed additional hours this session, reviewing documents, preparing research, and providing support. Indiana Library Federation contracts with Bose Public Affairs Group, with Amy Cornell as our primary lobbyist. Committee co-chairs made themselves available around the clock as needed, meeting multiple times a week (or day) to advise lobbying efforts. Many thanks to the ILF Advocacy Committee for advancing library service for the benefit of Indiana residents.

And thank YOU, our library advocates , who attended Statehouse Day, testified at hearings, waited patiently in the hallway before and after meetings, participated on our bi-weekly virtual updates, and much more. And we also thank the library folks who were in the library providing quality library services! Thanks to all who contacted legislators and community members. We appreciate all you do to be and to tell your library story.
Indiana Library Federation Links