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State Budget Committee Approves $2.5 Million In Library Funding
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May 28, 2013

 
 
TO:                  CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
 
FROM:            Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
 
RE:                 News From the Capitol
 
 
SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE APPROVES $2.5 MILLION IN LIBRARY FUNDING
 
 
 
Last Wednesday we reported that the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance approved a $5 million Budget appropriation for CLA’s proposal to connect all public libraries to the CENIC high-speed, statewide broadband backbone, plus funding for the state literacy program.  On Thursday, their colleagues in the Senate similarly acted to close out their agenda.   Late in the afternoon the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance approved a $2.5 million appropriation to fund the initial ramp-up of the CLA/CENIC connection plan.
 
Friday afternoon the full Senate Budget Committee met to approve the various subcommittee work as a comprehensive package. Specifically, the staff recommendation regarding the CLA “Budget ask” reads as follows:
 
“Staff recommends that the Subcommittee approve $2.5 million one-time to start connecting libraries to the CENIC system. The Subcommittee further would adopt budget bill language to require that the State Library also pursue GF (General Fund) offsetting or additional funding from the CPUC Teleconnect Fund to support the effort.”
 
The staff report goes on to note: “There is much work to secure connection to the CENIC network. Once the connection is made, additional monies for equipment upgrades may be warranted. Furthermore, staff notes that $2.8 million was provided to literacy programs in the current fiscal year and this request would be ongoing.” 
 
Last week’s action in the Senate is certainly good news in that it indicates a level of interest for the project. Since the Assembly recommendation was $5 million (CENIC plus literacy) and the Senate recommends $2.5 million for CENIC only, these numbers and the corresponding policy decisions will need to be reconciled by the powerful two-house Budget Conference Committee which is scheduled to begin meeting Friday (May 31). 
 
Please take a moment today to contact 6 key individuals who will sit on this year’s Budget Conference Committee, and encourage their strong support for:
 
Budget Item – 6120 – State Library – Assembly Version
 
In your letters (or calls), please note how your libraries are seeing continued high, if not record attendance, which places pressure on your existing broadband and literacy resources. Feel free to give specific examples of how your patrons will need a robust, high-speed broadband service to be able to adequately access to JobScout, online learning, a computer to apply for or to research the Affordable Care Act health plans, etc. If you have literacy programs in danger of closing or filled to capacity, please note this as well. 
 
Please fax your letters to the following members listed below. If you would rather call those members, we have included their office phone numbers.
 
Thank you for your help. Letters will need to be sent to the members no later than Monday, June 3.
 
Key Members of the Budget Conference Committee
 
The Honorable Mark Leno
Chair, Senate Budget Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4011                              Fax: (916) 445-4722
 
The Honorable Bill Emmerson
Vice Chair, Senate Budget Committee
Phone: (916) 651-4023                              Fax: (916) 327-2272
 
The Honorable Bob Blumenfield
Chair, Assembly Budget Committee
Phone: (916) 319-2045                              Fax: (916) 319-2145
 
The Honorable Jeff Gorell
Vice Chair, Assembly Budget Committee
Phone: (916) 319-2044                              Fax: (916) 319-2144