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04.18.13 Call to Action

CLA LEADERS TAKE PART IN KEY BUDGET MEETING REGARDING MAJOR PUBLIC LIBRARY BROADBAND PROPOSALS

 

April 18, 2013

 
 
 
TO:                  CLA MEMBERS, SYSTEMS, NETWORK CONTACTS
 
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
 
RE:                 News From the Capitol
 
 
CLA LEADERS TAKE PART IN KEY BUDGET MEETINGS REGARDING MAJOR PUBLIC LIBRARY BROADBAND PROPOSAL
 
Letters Needed
 
As you will recall from our alert to the field on March 13th, CLA is engaged in a major Budget-related effort at the State Capitol to connect public libraries to a statewide high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network sponsored by CENIC (the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California). On the heels of an important meeting with the Department of Finance held two weeks ago, CLA leaders were in town this week to help support this “game changing” opportunity to bring greater broadband capacity, connectivity, and increased infrastructure purchasing power to public libraries. The issue is part of CLA’s 2013-14 State “Budget ask” and, as such, we are currently trying to generate a significant amount of interest for the proposal in order to get it included in the Governor’s May Revision of the Budget, or included on the upcoming Budget Subcommittee agendas.
 
On Monday, Derek Wolfgram (CLA President) and Rosario Garza (CLA Executive Director and Executive Director for the Southern California Library Cooperative) joined us in a series of important meetings at the State Capitol. Meetings took place with CLA and CENIC in the Governor’s Office on Monday morning with the Governor’s Legislative Deputy for broadband and technology issues. The Governor’s Deputy seemed to show interest in the concept, but she cautioned that the State Budget remains tight and she encouraged CLA to continue talks with the Department of Finance. The afternoon consisted of meetings with representatives for the budget subcommittees, where Acting State Librarian Gerry Maginnity and State Library Chief Information Officer Jarrid Keller, joined in the discussion to lend important technical expertise. 
 
In all of these meetings, Derek and Rosario both stressed the importance of the CENIC opportunity, noting that many public libraries can’t handle the flood of Internet users during peak interest times, such as when K-12 children are out of school for the afternoon and head to the library. They also made the point that with the imminent roll-out of the Affordable Care Act and open enrollment periods, many libraries may need additional capacity to be able to serve their patrons sufficiently. 
 
Also in our meetings, we are stressing the importance of providing grant funding to give libraries the necessary equipment (e.g. circuits) they might need to access the CENIC backbone, particularly if they are in unserved or underserved communities. Lastly, CLA is also advocating for a modest $750,000 augmentation for the state literacy program, as the program is still recovering from the deep cuts made over the last few Budget cycles.
 
By way of update: the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance, Chaired by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, has agreed to agendize our issues for the Wednesday, April 24th hearing at the State Capitol. This is an important development because the Senate side has declined to agendize the issues in their hearing to follow on Thursday, April 25th. (The Senate subcommittee said that they would not consider any new programs nor any additional funding for existing programs, that were not put forward by the Governor.) They added that it would be incumbent upon CLA to get funding into the Governor’s May Revise, which will be released on or around May 15th.
 
We are greatly encouraged by the leadership of Assemblywoman Bonilla (one of the biggest library supporters at the State Capitol) and her committee and for allowing us to present the library funding issues in a public forum.   If you have not yet taken a minute to write the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 members, please do so today. While it would be helpful to generate a few more letters prior to Wednesday’s hearing, it will still be effective if your letter arrives after Wednesday (but prior to the May Revise). Feel free to fax your letters to the committee members in order to expedite the process. 
 
Please reference the CLA “budget ask” document, which is attached, for your talking points for use when writing your letters.
 
Members of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
 
Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, Chair
Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 4140
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 319-2114
 
Assemblyman Rocky Chavez
Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 2170
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 319-2176
 
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi
Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 4117
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 319-2166
 
 
Assemblyman Brian Nestande
Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 4139
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 319-2142
 
Assemblyman Phil Ting
Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance
State Capitol, Room 3173
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 319-2119

 

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