June 14, 2012
TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
FROM: Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE: News From the Capitol
SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE PASSES $4.7 MILLION FOR LIBRARY FUNDING:
SENATORS CALL RESTORATION “A GOOD THING”
Tuesday we reported that the Senate Budget Committee and Assembly Budget Committees held substantive hearings regarding proposed Budget actions, in anticipation of tomorrow’s June 15th deadline for passage of a Budget bill. In fact, the Senate Budget Committee held an exhaustive 8 hour hearing, going item by item through a substantive packet of issues ranging from state park closures, K-12 education funding, health and human services issues, and countless others. Nearing 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, when the library Budget issues were properly before the Senate Budget Committee, the members voted unanimously (15 “aye votes to 0 “no” votes) to restore $4.7 million that we mentioned in Tuesday’s memo to you.
As you will recall, because of the fact that the so-called Budget “trigger” of 2011 eliminated all remaining state library funding ($15.2 million), the task to place “new” money into the Budget for the CLSA and the literacy programs was going to be a significant challenge. However, we are pleased to report that there has been a strong bi-partisan commitment from the legislature to find a small amount of restoration funding, that would also allow the state to capture $15 million in federal funding this year. When the Senate Budget Committee discussed our item, Senator Leno said, “The trigger was really unfortunate and we wish it hadn’t happened. We all heard a lot from our local libraries about the loss of really important programs such as the literacy and the lending programs.” The Senator then noted the importance of placing the $4.7 million back into the Budget, in order to secure the federal dollars. After a brief discussion about the item with the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance representatives, Senator Lois Wolk said, “Why are we taking so long to discuss this? This is a wonderful item. I would like to move it. It’s the only good thing we’ve done for 20 minutes.” Senator Joe Simitian added, “I think Senator Wolk is right.” With that, the Committee approved the motion on a rare vote of 15-0, as there was very little unanimous agreement between Democrats and Republicans on other items approved earlier in the agenda. Senator Leno, noting the strong cooperative vote smiled and said, “15-0? Not bad. Thank you, colleagues.” Senator Carol Liu, also a member of the Senate Budget Committee and recipient of this year’s CLA “Legislator of the Year” award, looked out into the audience and offered us a “thumb’s up.”
HOW THE $4.7 MILLION FOR CLSA AND LITERACY WILL BE DIVIDED:
During the negotiations on the library funding, the State Library determined that it would be essential to capture a bare minimum of $5 million in General Fund dollars order to obtain the $15 million federal match. The State Library indicated that they could identify approximately $300,000 in their Budget that could “count towards the match requirement, leaving a gap of $4.7 million.” (Budget Committee analysis) Thus, the Budget Committees ultimately decided on $4.7 million. On Tuesday when this amount was finalized, CLA suggested the funding be distributed in the following manner: $2 million to support CLSA systems and $2.7 million to support the literacy programs. However, on Tuesday night we learned that the State Library had previously submitted to the Budget Consultants a form of distribution that was slightly different, but was based on their discussions surrounding a basic 40/60 split of the dollars. The amounts to be provided are: $1.88 million to the CLSA and $2.82 million to fund the literacy programs. This latter figure is what now appears in the Budget bill:
Page 565 (note, don’t print the entire Budget bill – it is in excess of 700 pages.)
6120-211-0001 – For local assistance, California State Library, Program 20-Library Development Services: ……$1,880,000
(1) 20.50 California Library Services Act, pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 18700) of Part 11 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code.
6120-213-0001 – For local assistance, California State Library, Program 20-Library Development Services – California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Services Program, pursuant to Section 18880 of the Education Code…….$2,820,000.
DEMOCRAT LEADERS HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE: STILL ON TRACK FOR FRIDAY BUDGET VOTE
Yesterday morning Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez held a press conference to respond to comments made by Governor Brown, who had publicly expressed concerns that the Budget still needs work. Specifically, the statements by the Governor indicated that he would like to see deeper cuts to the so-called “safety net” programs, particularly CalWORKS. In response, the Senate President pro Tem said, “Neither I nor my colleagues are looking for a fight with the Governor….We are not looking for a fight, but we have an obligation to be a voice for the voiceless. We have an obligation not to cut just to make a point.” The Assembly Speaker said that there was actually much “common ground” between the Democrat leaders and the Governor and he chalked up the rumored differences as “just the natural tension between the Executive and the Legislative branches.” Senator Steinberg said that the Budget that will be voted on by his colleagues on Friday will be an “updated balanced budget, with a reserve of $544 million.”
This afternoon the Senate Budget Committee met (11 Democrats present, 5 Republicans boycotting) and passed the Budget bill and 10 “trailer bills”, to the Senate Floor. The plan is for the Senate to take the lead tomorrow afternoon by starting the process in their house and then presumably passing the Budget package and trailer bills over to the Assembly for vote. If successful, these measures would all be sent to the Governor shortly thereafter. Interestingly, before the hearing started, Senate Budget Chair, Mark Leno came down from the dais and commented to us, “At least we were able to find some money for the libraries. I hope it helps.” Further, he noted that he had met with a number of library representatives and supporters in his Senate district and had positive things to say about the meeting. (This is more evidence of how your meetings with your legislators make a difference!)
The Senate has scheduled Floor session tomorrow for 11 a.m., with caucuses to immediately follow. The Assembly will meet at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, and it is expected that debate on the Budget and corresponding “trailer bills” could last well into the day.