|Library Bond Passes Senate Governance And Finance Committee|
April 30, 2014
TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
FROM: Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
RE: News From the Capitol
LIBRARY BOND BILL PASSES SENATE GOVERNANCE AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
This morning Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) presented his SB 1455, a major public library construction and renovation bond measure, before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. The bill passed on a bi-partisan vote, with 4 Democrats on the committee voting “aye” (Chairwoman Wolk, DeSaulnier, Hernandez, and Liu) and the 2 Republicans voting “no.” Senator Beall was not present due to illness.
Senator DeSaulnier, who is also a member of the committee, spent some time addressing the fact that the state has incurred significant bond debts in recent years, and acknowledged that there are competing [bond] interests this year, but “the libraries have a lot of deferred needs and they are one of our most important assets.” The Senator also remarked that he intentionally left the bill silent with regard to the dollar amount requested for the bond, as he wanted to continue discussions with the Governor’s Administration and the Senate Appropriations Committee (the fiscal committee in the Senate).
Testifying in support of the measure was Mike Dillon from CLA who cited specific examples of construction and renovation need from the letters that you faxed to our offices. Alan Smith, Contra Costa Library Commissioner and a member of the California Public Library Advocates spoke to the need for bonds to assist the Concord Library project. Sacramento County Board of Supervisor, Roberta MacGlashan and Friends of the Rancho Cordova Library, Friends of the Orangevale Library, and the Sacramento Friends of the Library all testified in support of the need for bond funding, as their current facilities are inadequate to meet the needs of their patrons. Finally, the California State Association of Counties also added their support.
There was no opposition to the bill, although the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association did note a word of concern. They said that while they have no position on the bill at this time, they would like to see a comprehensive bond funding plan since there are many competing needs right now. Their lobbyist added, “We don’t believe there is a set number of ‘what is too much debt’ but we think there should be a discussion about priorities.”
Senator DeSaulnier said, “The point is very valid, but the length of time that the libraries have gone without a bond is big, and I would like for them to be considered along with the others.” The committee was in agreement, and passed the bill. SB 1455 will now head to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will likely face a more difficult time as the committee and the leadership determine which, if any, bond measures go forward this year. Next week we will provide you with the contact information for that committee so that you may write letters, asking the 7 members to support SB 1455.