Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
March 1, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • Updates from the Statehouse this week
  • Understanding and Explaining HB1343
  • Quick Links
What YOU can do
What you missed in prior issues - Catch up here.
Halftime Report at the Indiana Statehouse.
This week marked the halfway point in the long budget session. Over 1,300 bills were introduced this session. About 400 remain alive and have "crossed over" to the second chamber. Next week, bills will be assigned to committee and start the same process of committee hearing, floor debate and vote.

ILF Members may see the detail about statehouse action, specific bills, vote counts and our ILF Bill Tracking list (p. 6) through the Bose Report (login required). See ILF's Contacting Legislators about Library-Related Bills (3/1/19 version).
Several House bills important to libraries that are moving on to the Senate include:
  • HB1001, the biennial state budget bill, includes 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 includes funding for state institutions of higher education, including certain capital projects. The budget includes increased funding for K-12 education. Specific proposals to increase teacher pay are in separate bills. Please thank your Representative for including these in the budget. ILF provides an easy way to email a thank you to your Representative.
  • HB1052, Local Income Tax, changes the allocation of LIT revenue that is based on property taxes to be based on maximum permissible property tax levies instead of actual levies.
  • HB1214, Construction Managers as Constructors, adds public libraries to the list of public agencies in a definition. The remaining parts of the bill are not specific to libraries.
  • HB1343, Libraries, provides the elected fiscal body the option to have binding review over library budgets, and the ability for the elected fiscal body to reduce a public library's budget in a budget year no more than the percentage reduction of any other taxing unit's operating budget over which the fiscal body has oversight. See updated explanation.
  • SB64, Criminal Background Checks, a described "work in progress," would require background checks for employees, volunteers, speakers, performers and presenters whose scope of work includes contact with children less than 14 years of age.
  • SB623, Property Tax Matters, addresses the assessed valuation of retail certain properties, sometimes called the "dark store" bill.
What YOU can do :
  1. Thank your State Representative for funding INSPIRE and Internet Connectivity in the state budget. Take action here. Thank our Representatives for funding our highest policy priorities.
  2. Learn more about library-related bills through the ILF Bill List (linked through the Bose Report) or by attending the Virtual Advocacy Update on March 11.
  3. Order your yard signs for National Library Month (see our last Focus newsletter for options).
  4. Always be respectful. Be a trusted resource for policymakers. Contacting your Legislators.
NOTE: We will have more information during our online/conference meeting on Monday, March 11. Library Directors are especially encouraged to attend.
Understanding and Explaining House Bill 1343
The 236 public libraries in the state were established by different types of entities (schools, townships, cities, towns, benefactors). Libraries have expanded their service areas and evolved into hubs of active learning, innovation, discovery and local community. The modern public library provides broadband access, e-government services, local culture and history and, of course, print and digital resources.

Public library budgeting is complex. See our updated explanation of House Bill 1343 . Download this infographic .
Libraries receive on average $0.04 of the property tax dollar. See DLGF .

Other resources include: What Do We Know About Property Tax Caps?, a 2015 report by Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, or State Board of Accounts Budget Manual .
Libraries are different from other local units of government. The General Assembly enabled saving through Library Improvement Reserve Fund (LIRF) in lieu of a cumulative or capital fund , as other units of government are provided in the Indiana Code. Frugality in library spending allows savings and avoidance of debt and interest payments for the taxpayer.
What YOU can do: Attend Advocacy Update on March 11
ILF offers bi-weekly Advocacy Virtual Updates during the legislative session. Learn the inside scoop from our Advocacy Committee co-chairs and staff. Share what you are hearing about issues in your local community. Ask questions. Learn more about the issues.

RSVP for the VIRTUAL Advocacy Update at 10am ET on March 11 to receive the link to join the online meeting by computer or telephone. Note that sessions are scheduled bi-weekly: 3/11, 3/25 and 4/8.
What YOU can do: Last chance to register for Statehouse Day
The Indiana Library Day at the Statehouse will be held Tuesday, March 12 . Plan to attend and bring a board member or community library champion. Register today. Participants are provided an update at ISL and then are accompanied by experienced advocates to meetings with your legislators. Note: we also are looking for a few volunteer photographers. Email us to volunteer or with questions.

Be sure to register ASAP so that ILF can schedule your legislator appointments .

Photo at left: Librarians with Rep. Sharon Negele at Statehouse Day in 2018.
What YOU can do: Attend a Third House or Meet Your Legislator event
Legislators meet with constituents through "Meet your Legislator," "Third House" or "Cracker Barrel" events from December through May. Sessions are often hosted by a local library, chamber of commerce or League of Women Voters. See our calendar for upcoming Third House events in your area. Several are coming up in the next two weeks.

At right: a Third House session in Hamilton County
Prepping to Meet Your Legislator
  1. Find your legislators where you live and where you work. Research their bio and committees. Or email us for insight and tips.
  2. Download the 2019 Policy Priorities or one-pager. Review our Contacting your Legislator about Library Bills document. Email us for specific information and let us know what you learn. Develop a relationship.
  3. Plan to develop or deepen your relationships with legislators and key influencers in the community. Introduce yourself. Offer to be a resource for them about any library questions.
Indiana Library Federation Links