Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
Library Construction Bond Bill Passes First Committee
Share |

April 3, 2014

FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                       Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From the Capitol
Letters Needed For Next Senate Committee
Yesterday the Senate Education Committee heard SB 1455 by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), which would enact the California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2014. The bill is sponsored by CLA, and passed out of the Committee after some discussion on a vote of 5 “ayes” (Chairwoman Liu, Correa, Hancock, Hueso and Monning) to 0 “noes,” and 4 “not voting or absent” (Galgiani, Block, Huff, and Wyland).   
As a condition of the bill passing out of committee yesterday, Senator DeSaulnier agreed to accept language proposed by the committee that would require the State Library to conduct a Needs Assessment to determine the current construction needs in all of the library jurisdictions.  Armed with this information, the Senate Education Committee argued, the legislature would be in a better position to understand the current, specific needs of California’s public libraries. Senator DeSaulnier also agreed to amendments that would place the bond on the 2016 ballot, rather than the 2014 ballot. This extension will give CLA and the author more time to fine-tune the legislation, and work with the legislature on an appropriate dollar amount to include in SB 1455. [Note: the deadline for getting measures on the 2014 ballot is the end of June, which leaves little time to conduct the assessment, etc. By including language in the bill to place the measure on the 2016 ballot, the legislature could act on SB 1455 as late as August 31st when the legislature adjourns, thus allowing more time for the Needs Assessment to be completed.]
During CLA’s testimony before committee, we were able to cite examples from several of your excellent letters that you submitted to our office in advance of the hearing. Your stories were compelling and demonstrated the significant needs of your community, such as the San Rafael Carnegie library, completed in 1909 and the Altadena Library, whose primary goal is to get the building up to the Americans With Disabilities Act requirements.
Also testifying in support was Jerry Jaggers of the Friends of the Rancho Cordova Public Library, who said their building, constructed in 1975 is “stretched to the limits.” Chuck Shulock, representing the Friends of the Sacramento Library noted that library usage throughout Sacramento continues to rise and construction must keep pace with that level of interest. Sacramento County Supervisor, Roberta MacGlashan thanked the author for “addressing the critical needs of public libraries.” The Orangevale Library in her supervisorial district was deemed an “outstanding” project by the Library Construction Bond Board after the passage of the 2000 bond. However, money for “outstanding” level projects quickly ran out and Orangevale and a few other projects in that same category were left without funding. She hoped that there could be some recognition of the libraries who were left in that unique situation. 
When Senate Education Chairwoman, Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) asked for opposition, she teased, “No one opposes libraries,” which prompted laughter from the audience. Senate Republican Leader, Bob Huff said, “My only concern is the priority of our infrastructure needs. Water, transportation, etc…where do libraries fall in? I love libraries. I rode to the library every day on my bike.” As a courtesy, rather than voting “no,” the Senator said he would “lay off today,” to give it more thought. Senator Loni Hancock said that she is a “big proponent of libraries. I appreciate the fact that you are doing the Needs Assessment. It has been a long time since [state] money was spent on libraries in my district. Many of mine were also right at the cut-off and [when they didn’t get funded from the bond] they went ahead and did it locally. They would be taxing themselves now for those that wouldn’t step up.” She added, “Affordable housing is a real need. What about those competing [infrastructure] priorities?” 
Senator DeSaulnier responded, “…Libraries should be a priority. In my area, Orinda and Danville can go forward but poorer communities can’t. Let’s not handicap them. I feel very strongly we need to have this discussion regarding libraries. We have a huge pent up need. Some have said, ‘There is no need for libraries with technology now,’ but libraries are more than just a repository of knowledge. They are real community centers. I want to keep the dollar amount open and continue the discussion.”  Senator Hancock said, “The Needs Assessment is critical and with that I will support the bill. It is a good model to move forward with an assessment and then a bond. We should do this for all of our bonds.” Chairwoman Senator Carol Liu concurred, “It is important to begin this discussion and the Needs Assessment is the first priority.” 
The bill will now head to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee where it will be heard on Wednesday, April 23 in the morning. We want to thank all of you who wrote excellent letters to the Senate Education Committee members. Now is the time to dust off those letters and send or fax them to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee members listed below. Thank you for your help.

Download a copy of a Sample Letter.
Senator Lois Wolk, Chair                                       (Note: author of CLA’s SCA 7-Wolk)
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 5114
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4903
Senator Steve Knight, Vice Chair
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 5082
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4921
Senator Jim Beall, Member
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 2068
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4915
Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Member                                  (Note: author of SB 1455)
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 5035
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4907
Senator Ed Hernandez, Member
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 2080
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4924
Senator Carol Liu, Member
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 5097
Sacramento, CA.   95814
Fax: (916) 651-4925
Senator Andy Vidak, Member
Senate Governance and Finance Committee
State Capitol, Room 3082
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Fax: (916) 651-4916
Please fax an extra copy of your letter to Christina DiCaro at (916) 448-2196. Thank you!