Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
March 15, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • Library Day at the Statehouse
  • Library-related bills
  • HB1343 was heard in committee 3/14
  • Quick Links
What YOU can do
What you missed in prior issues - Catch up here.
Library Day at the Statehouse

Seventy-four (74) library leaders met personally with more than sixty-five (65) legislators on Tuesday, March 14. We scheduled appointments with legislators in 15- and 30-minute blocks from 9am-1:30pm when the legislative session started. Meetings continued during and after session was adjourned.

We expressed our appreciation that the House budget includes one of our highest policy priorities as we requested: stable funding for internet connectivity for libraries and schools and INSPIRE, Indiana's virtual library. Library advocates created a buzz throughout the statehouse with our stories of how libraries change lives and with an interactive display by Vigo County Public Library. Advocates were able to explain potential impacts of pending legislation. ILF President Susie Highley's President's Column provides a great summary of the fast-paced day.

Be sure to view some of the photos . A sincere thank you to all the attendees for sharing their stories and advocating for library services for the benefit of Indiana residents.
Bills Important to Libraries in the 2019 Session of the Indiana General Assembly

Several bills important to libraries are moving through the legislative process.
  • HB1001, 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 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.
  • Last action: ILF testified in Senate Appropriations Committee 3/4 in support of continued funding.
  • TAKE ACTION - Please thank your Representative and urge your Senator to support INSPIRE and Internet Connectivity in the State Budget
  • HB1052, Local Income Taxchanges the allocation of LIT revenue that is based on property taxes to be based on maximum permissible property tax levies instead of actual levies. Last action: pending action by Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.
  • HB1214, Construction Managers as Constructorsadds public libraries to the list of public agencies in a definition. The remaining parts of the bill are not specific to libraries. Last action: pending action by Senate Local Government Committee.
  • 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. Last action: Senate Local Government Committee heard the bill and testimony on 3/14; see separate article below.
  • HB1427, Local Government Matters, makes several changes related to processes with Department of Local Government Finance and requires an interim study of Local Income Tax. Last action: pending action by Senate Tax and Fiscal Committee.
  • 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.
  • Last action: pending action by House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code.
  • TAKE ACTION: Public library directors may report their criminal background check policies and practices for employees and volunteers through this survey or by emailing us.
  • SB623, Property Tax Matters, addresses the assessed valuation of retail certain properties, sometimes called the "dark store" bill. Last action: pending action by House Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 1343 was heard in Senate Local Government 3/14
The Senate Local Government Committee heard HB1343 on Thursday, March 14. The Committee adopted by consent an amendment that would 1) limit the cut to the operating levy to 10% of the prior year, 2) delayed implementation to September and 3) provided notice and hearing provisions similar to required for changes to Local Income Tax. At time of this issue, the amendment had not been posted.

Photo (above or at right) includes some of the library directors and board members who attended or testified, representing public libraries of Floyd County, Hammond, Kokomo-Howard County, Lake County, La Porte County, Lowell, North Judson and Pulaski County.

Despite the House and Senate amendments to improve the bill, several library leaders testified in opposition to anticipated impact and unintended consequences for their local libraries and services. This infographic describing the average distribution of the property tax dollar and the levy process was shared with legislators. Library leaders testified about the importance of reserves for emergencies and long-term planning, how the current law ensures multiple levels of accountability and the potential negative impacts and unintended consequences of the bill. Indiana Farm Bureau and Association of Indiana Counties testified in support of the bill. The Committee chair held the bill, seeing that it would not pass in its current form. Committee members discussed possible amendments for a subsequent hearing. Archived video should be posted soon. See article by Dan Carden in the Northwest Indiana Times or article by Craig Lyons in the Post Tribune.
What YOU can do:
Senator meetings  -  Library directors and advocates are reaching out to State Senators to explain library budgeting and any concerns about how HB1343 might play out in their communities. See previously provided HB1343 explanation (will update when amendment is posted) or infographic .
  • If you attended Statehouse Day, please send a thank you for meeting and include any additional information requested during your meeting.
  • If you have already met with your state senator, please offer to answer any questions as changes might be made to the bill.
  • If you have not talked with your senator, please reach out and put HB1343 on their radar as a bill with concerns; set a time to meet to explain your budget and accountability processes.
Library Boards - Library Board members may review policies and practices related to reserves and capital improvement and facility maintenance needs in order to explain to policymakers and taxpayers.
What YOU can do: Attend Advocacy Update on March 25
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 2 5 to receive the link to join the online meeting by computer or telephone. Note that sessions are scheduled bi-weekly: 3/25 and 4/8.
What YOU can do: Participate in April's
We [HEART] Our Library Yard Sign Campaign
ILF encourages all libraries--academic, public, school and special--to participate in the April Yard Sign Campaign to help raise awareness about libraries. Place 10, 100 or 1,000 yard signs around your community. Partner with a neighboring library and split an order of signs.

April 7-13 is National Library Week . April 9 is National Library Workers Day . April is National School Library Month . We encourage participants to keep signs out for at least two weeks or the full month.

You may use any vendor of your choice. For those wanting to make a quick order, ILF has made arrangements with two vendors used by ILF members.
  • The Signage is the company used by the Friends of Pendleton Community Public LibraryThe Signage offers a online order form. Order soon to ensure your signs arrive in time for placement.
  • is a company used by public libraries in Knox, Pike and Davies counties. Here is an order form.
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