Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
March 22, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • ILF Advocacy in the last week
  • Update on HB1343; will be heard again 3/28
  • Report from Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute: local governments at risk in a coming recession
  • Quick Links
What YOU can do
What you missed in prior issues - Catch up here.
ILF advocacy in the last week

Your ILF advocates spent the week doing follow-up with legislators from activities of the prior week, including questions raised during Statehouse Day on 3/12 (see photos or President's summary ) and Senate Local Government Committee on 3/14 (see article below).

ILF also met with key legislators and staff, staff from Indiana State Police and Indiana Department of Education related to criminal history checks for employees and volunteers of schools and libraries (related to SB64). Currently, all K-12 school employees are required to have an expanded limited criminal history check within 30 days of employment and again at five years or at time of change to a different school district. Checks on volunteers is up to local policy, though most require checks on volunteers who have "regular and ongoing contact" with children. See DOE's FAQs .

The full range of bills in which ILF is actively involved is described in the 3/15 issue . None have moved in the last week. We are asking members to take action on one bill, if you have not already. 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. 
  • 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. It is really important to thank Representatives for responding to our requests and to inform our Senators of the importance of this funding.
We may have reached a compromise:
HB 1343 likely will be amended in Senate Local Government on 3/28
The Senate Local Government Committee heard testimony about HB1343 on Thursday, March 14, and will seek to amend and vote on March 28 (see packet ). While all information is not yet posted (as of this publication), the Committee adopted by consent Amendment #4 that would 1) limit the cut to the operating levy to no more than 10% of the prior year, 2) delay implementation to September and 3) provide notice and hearing provisions similar to those required for changes to Local Income Tax.

Since the 3/14 hearing, ILF has been working diligently with bill authors and sponsors on additional amendment language. Sen. Bohacek proposed three criteria that may allow a fiscal body to pass a resolution for binding review, including budgeting or levying more than 10% over a certified operating budget or maintaining unallocated funds in excess of 200% of the proposed budget. The new amendment (# TBD) would clarify the fiscal body as the same as under current law for binding review (not the body that established the library). The provisions from Amendment #4 would remain in the bill.

ILF Advocacy Committee leaders agree that the combined two amendments (#4 and yet to be filed #TBD) seem to be a reasonable and fair compromise that ILF could support, subject to seeing filed bill language . (Note: disregard Amendment #5; we anticipate amendment #6 or 7 will be posted soon.) ILF may send a separate email once the amendment is officially posted.

Not sure what all this means for your library? See updated HB1343 Explained (as of 3/22). Please plan to join our Advocacy Update call on Monday, 3/25 .

What YOU can do:
Policymaker and Influencer meetings  -  Library directors and advocates are reaching out to policymakers and influencers to explain library budgeting and relationships with other units of government (see 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 representative or senator, please offer to answer any questions or to be in contact as changes are made to the bill.
  • If you have not talked with your legislators, please set a time to meet to offer a tour, show your library services and 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. Trustees and directors should watch their email for an upcoming web-based training for Library Trustees about local taxes and libraries.
IFPI report questions sustainability of local governments in future recession
The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute (IFPI) report summarizes the last 40 years of property and local income taxes and expenditures. In its new Policy Brief from the full Report, A Fiscal History of Indiana Local Government , the IFPI offers the following key findings:
  • Indiana's fiscal policy has shifted the local tax base away from property tax to local income tax revenues.
  • Property tax caps contributed to revenue constraints and "chronic deficit risks from cap losses."
  • "Local governments are spending at 2002 levels, have retrenched even more on capital investments, and are keeping larger surpluses--cautious about long-term commitments."
  • IFPI questions whether local governments can weather a downturn now that they are so dependent upon income taxes.
Indiana Library Federation encourages public library and K-12 school leaders to review this report against local data found in Gateway . The full IFPI report provides a historical overview of the evolution of the property, sales and incomes taxes since 1973--it may serve as a primer for those from out-of-state trying to understand the tax structure of their new home state. You may also review What Do We Know About Indiana's Property Tax Caps? from Dec. 2016, where we frequently cite two findings:
  • Libraries have a higher percentage of property tax cap losses than counties (see chart on p. 21).
  • Reducing a library's budget would allow other entities to increase their revenues (not the max levy, but what they actually receive) by mitigating the property tax caps effects.
  • Reducing a library's budget would not reduce the amount that the taxpayer pays (if at caps), but would benefit the county (p. 25).
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 25 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