Legislative Update – HB 2719

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By , 03/19/2016

Hello Kansas Librarians,

Thank you again for all your support and advocacy efforts over the past two weeks.   Members of the committee on taxation said that they all received hundreds of emails and calls from their constituents.  You definitely made a difference!

I have great news to share about HB 2719.  This bill has now been amended to remove libraries completely.  That is wonderful news for us and a major victory for Kansas libraries.  Hopefully, we will not see any other versions of this bill again this session, but we will continue to be vigilant.

Now is a great time to reach out to your legislators and those on the committee to thank them for listening and for their support. Please do so when you have the chance.

I also wanted to thank everyone who has spent time at the statehouse over the past week, monitoring the bill and making your voices heard.

Finally, I wanted to call special attention to the efforts of Heather Braum.  She has tirelessly led the online and social media charge on this issue; continually monitoring Facebook and Twitter and constantly helping everyone understand the current situation.  Her dedication is a shining example of what makes Kansas libraries and librarians so great.  Please join me in thanking her for her hard work.

Great job everyone!

Eric Gustafson
KLA Governmental Affairs

Urgent! HB 2719 moving forward

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By , 03/17/2016

Hello Kansas Librarians,

We have just found out that HB 2719 is going to be worked in committee tomorrow at 8 am.

“HB2719 is going to be worked” means amendments may be offered and voted on before the bill is brought to a vote in committee. Those amendments could include removing the regional library systems from the bill, and changing bill language.

But it is urgently important that you reach out to those on the House Taxation Committee, especially if one is your representative, indicating the bill’s negative effects on libraries. That could help possible amendments pass if the committee hears from constituents.

Specifically, the negative impact on the regional library systems and also the potential danger to local library funding through the weakening of the language requiring cities to fund their libraries. They are changing the state statute from the “city shall levy a tax for the maintenance of the library ” to the “city may levy a tax for the maintenance of the library ”

Here’s the committee page where you can find the emails:

Time is of the essence! Please reach out as soon as possible!

Eric Gustafson
KLA Governmental Affairs

Legislative Update HB 2719

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By , 03/15/2016

Hello Kansas Librarians!

First of all, I wanted to say thank you for all your hard work over the past few days in opposition to House Bill 2719. Many of you wrote and emailed letters, submitted testimony and called your legislators. Your city council members, board members and patrons spoke out also. Thank you to everyone who attended the hearing at the capitol yesterday; from all accounts there were more than 175 people in attendance. In fact, many of you could not even make it into the room and had to stick it out in the hallway! I have heard great things about the testimony in opposition and really appreciate all those who testified.

I want you to know that your voices were definitely heard! Representative Hineman, who serves on the committee, wanted to relay back the great job that we did with our advocacy efforts. He specifically mentioned appreciation for the fact that our letters and emails were not canned; each one was unique. This makes a big impact on legislators and was definitely noticed.

I’m sure the question that many of you have is: Where does the bill go from here? What’s next? There are several possibilities.

First, the committee chair could set a time and date for the committee to “work” the bill. In this scenario, they would try to amend the bill and pass it out of committee to the House. If this were to happen, we would definitely need to reach out to our representatives.

Another possibility is that the chair could choose to not bring this bill up again this session. Since this is an election year, if it does not make it out of committee, this bill would need to be reintroduced next year. This would be the best scenario for us.

There are a few other options for the bill, but the two that I have mentioned are the most likely. We are closely watching this bill and we will definitely get the word out if it should start to move forward!

For those of you who didn’t get to go to the capitol yesterday, Heather Braum has put together a great Storify that pulls together all the social media posts from yesterday. https://storify.com/hbraum/hb2719-hearing If you have the chance to take a look it is definitely worth your time!

Thanks again for all the hard work! You make me proud to be a Kansas librarian!

Eric Gustafson
KLA Governmental Affairs

Urgent – Legislative Action Needed!

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By , 03/11/2016

Hello Kansas Librarians,
On March 8th, a new piece of legislation, HB 2719 (http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/hb2719/ ), was introduced. This bill has major implications for the future of libraries in the state of Kansas and needs your immediate action.

The major purpose of this bill is to remove taxing authority from library boards and regional library systems. While this in itself is disturbing, the bill would also require a public vote on a yearly basis to decide whether or not to fund each of the 7 regional library systems. This would most likely mean the end of the regional library systems and the loss of statewide resource sharing.

This bill is set to have a hearing on Monday, March 14th, so there is no time to waste. Please contact your representative in the Kansas House and tell them the negative impact that this bill will have on your library. To assist you, the Governmental Affairs Committee has prepared talking points, which are attached to this email. They can also be found at:

If you do not know who your House representative is, you can find that information by your address at:

If your House representative is serving on the “Committee on Taxation,” it is especially important that he be contacted. You can find a list of the committee members at:

Finally, it is very important that your representative is contacted by the residents of your community. Please reach out to your community supporters, share the talking points, and encourage them to contact their representative this weekend. Your regional library system will be helping with this, so please work with them to determine the best strategy for your library.

Again, time is of the essence, since this bill goes to hearing this coming Monday. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or your regional library system if you have questions or would like further guidance.

Eric Gustafson
KLA Governmental Affairs

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