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January 10, 2020

TO:                 CLA Members/ Systems/ Network Contacts
FROM:           Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists

RE:                 News From the Capitol



-Provides new funding for Lunch at the Library and Zip Books 

-Proposes “Broadband for All”

This morning Governor Gavin Newsom presented his 2020-21 State Budget and left no stone unturned with the press corps, as the Governor laid out details and took reporters’ questions for an unprecedented three hours.  The Governor stated that he was “excited about this year and for California’s future” as he highlighted components of his new Budget.  Governor Newsom’s spending plan includes: funding a homelessness package, a 16% increase to In-Home Supportive Services, a proposal to make “California the first state to create its own generic drug label” in order to combat high drug costs for Californians, a reduction of the minimum franchise tax for small businesses in order to remove “a barrier to entrepreneurship and job creation,” establishment of a new nicotine content-based E-cigarette tax to be used for youth prevention efforts, etc., and continuing to set aside Budget reserve funds for a “rainy day.”    Even with the appearance of a seemingly strong economy, the Governor’s Budget states, “…continued growth is uncertain due to the instability in global economic markets and the nation’s political climate….Building on the 2019 Budget Act, the Budget continues to build reserves and promotes a more effective government that can withstand a downturn in the economy, as well as emergencies and disasters.” 

Of importance to CLA, the Budget contains good news for public libraries.  The Governor continues to support two programs that he provided support for in the 2019-20 Budget – “Lunch at the Library” and Zip Books. 

For “Lunch at the Library: $1 million in “one-time” General Fund dollars (meaning that it must be spent in Budget Year 2020-21 and is not “ongoing” in nature) would be provided for libraries to “develop summer meal programs for students in low-income communities.” 

For Online Service Systems:  the Governor is proposing $1 million in one-time General Fund dollars in order to “support the online purchase and delivery of books through the Zip Books program.  This no-cost service is an alternative to traditional interlibrary loan and enables library patrons to more efficiently request and receive books not available at their local library.” 

The Governor is also proposing $500,000 in ongoing General Fund dollars for the purpose of supporting the services provided by the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles.   Finally, the Governor also includes $170,000 in ongoing funds for a technical issue relating to Public Utility Commission fees pertaining to the State’s public library broadband connectivity program in conjunction with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC).

Governor’s “Broadband for All” Plan

Additionally, under his “Infrastructure” section of the Budget, the Governor is proposing a substantive statewide “Broadband for All” plan, which he describes as follows:

Affordable high-speed Internet is vital to the daily lives of all Californians, such as receiving medical treatment, completing school homework, and taking advantage of emerging economic opportunities.  Digital equity and inclusion – ensuring all communities enjoy the fruits of innovation – necessitates Broadband for All.”  The Governor’s plan would include “mapping the state of connectivity in California, including whether, where, and at what speed Californians have access to affordable high-speed Internet.”  The Governor would task the Public Utility Commission with this endeavor, directing them to use a geographic information system (GIS)-based analysis.  Some funding will be provided to schools and community colleges for connectivity under this plan.  Simultaneously, the state will review existing funding sources such as the California Teleconnect Fund, California Advanced Services Fund, and federal funds in order to tap approximately $900 million over the next five years for broadband connectivity. The Department of Technology will lead this overall effort.

The legislature will now begin the process of reviewing the Governor’s Budget over the course of the next few months.  Budget Subcommittee hearings will be held to discuss and analyze the various proposals.  In May, the Governor will release his May Revision of the State Budget, which essentially allows him to make funding/program adjustments after having received the April tax receipts.  The Budget Subcommittees will wrap up their work in late May and the full Budget Committees and Budget Conference Committee will craft the final Budget, in consultation with the Governor’s Office.  The Budget must be passed by the constitutional deadline of June 15.  We will continue to keep CLA members updated as these issues proceed through the Budget process in 2020.