Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Library-related Legislation: Opportunities and Threats
In addition to the state budget, several library-related bills and proposals will occupy WLA this session. First, the Common School Fund (CSF), the only source of revenue for many school libraries, continues to be a target for raids. AB 40 and AB 130 are both attempts to decrease the percentage of fines and/or forfeitures sent to the state for the CSF while increasing the percentage that localities can retain. WLA and WEMA share the concern that these efforts ultimately will decrease the funding available for school libraries. Proponents say the bills will provide an incentive to localities to collect and process fines and forfeitures and will actually lead to increased collections that will benefit the CSF.

Rep. Stephen Freese (R-Dodgeville) has agreed to reintroduce two public library bills from last session. One would modify statutes governing public libraries (language bill) and the second relates to the organization and funding of public libraries and public library systems (reform bill). Rep. Freese is also assisting WLA with the drafting of a bill to enable public library districts, but he has not yet decided if he will introduce bill.

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