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Governor's Broadband Proposal For Libraries Passes Senate Budget Subcommittee
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April 29, 2014



FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                       Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist

 RE:               News From The Capitol



This afternoon the Senate Budget Subcommittee Number One on Education Finance voted unanimously to support Governor Brown’s 2014-15 Budget proposal to connect all public libraries to a high-speed, broadband backbone operated by the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC). 

After opening remarks in support of the proposal by the Department of Finance and State Library, the Legislative Analyst’s Office presented their assessment of the Governor’s project.  While the LAO continues to argue that the proposal should be rejected, we have worked hard to make our case for CENIC and overcome their objections.

This afternoon Mike Dillon testified for CLA, followed by Linda Crowe, Director of the Pacific Library Partnership, Louis Fox, the Executive Director and CEO of CENIC, and Monique Ramos of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office.  With public testimony concluded, the Committee Chair, Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) asked the Committee Consultant, Joe Stephenshaw to read the staff recommendation.  The recommendation, which passed, was to approve the $2.25 million in ongoing General Fund money to connect all public libraries to the broadband backbone and $1 million in one-time funds to connect those libraries that might need assistance getting on to the backbone.   Lastly, the subcommittee adopted place-holder language similar to their Assembly colleagues to require the State Library to report back on the roll-out of the CENIC/public library project. 

Today’s hearing was similar to last Wednesday’s Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 2 on Education Finance, when the Governor’s broadband proposal for public libraries was passed on a unanimous 5-0 vote.  (The original vote in the Assembly Subcommittee last week was 3-0, but the two Republicans who were out of the room briefly in other hearings, Assemblyman Brian Nestande and Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, later added their votes in support.) 

Because both the Assembly and the Budget Subcommittees on Education Finance took the identical action, this should save the issue from having to go through the high-level Budget Conference Committee process during the first two weeks of June.  Most likely, this approved funding is considered secure at this time and we are hopeful that it stays that way until the Governor signs the 2014-15 Budget in June.