From: Gloria Meraz
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 3:23 PM
To: ‘’


Posted: May 31, 2005


In this issue:




TLA-Sponsored Bills

Other Library Bills

Bills with Library Related Issues





The 79th Texas Legislature has come to a close. While the State did not finalize measures regarding education reform (HB 2) or school financing (HB 3), the Legislature approved a state budget that includes additional funding for libraries and passed legislation regarding school library group purchasing opportunities.

As the legislative session came to a close, many bills (including the school finance measures) died because the Legislature ran out to time, or it failed to come to a consensus. One of the major disappointments for library interests was state assembly’s inability to pass legislation continuing telecommunications discounts for libraries, schools, and higher education. The library community and other constituent groups lobbied heavily for the discounts to be maintained and succeeded in ensuring that the discounts were included in both the House and Senate versions of the telecommunications regulatory legislation (HB 789). However, the Legislature was unable to come to an agreement over other issues in the legislation, and the bill died. The library community will work with other stakeholder groups over the next months to determine a strategy for maintaining the discounts.

The library community also achieved a tremendous victory in the passage of legislation allowing for the creation of multi-jurisdictional library districts funded through local sales and use taxes or ad valorem taxes. This measure was sponsored by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, the city of San Antonio , and the legislative delegation for the city.

Overall, this session was extremely difficult considering that strong statewide interest in using state funds primarily for K-12 education and restoring cuts to health and human services. Library interests did well in securing additional funds for library programs. Also, while broad school legislation did not pass (including the ambitious TEA-based proposal, HB 4, for a statewide educational technology framework), libraries secured the authority for school libraries to participate in database negotiations through the State Library. This is an important victory for school libraries.

At this time, the Governor has the option to veto bills and using the line item veto on the state budget. The Governor has until June 19 to act. After that point, any legislation that passed automatically becomes law.


The final Appropriations Bill restored the 5% cut made to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) Budget and included an additional $1.25 million per year for TexShare databases. Given these funding levels, library programs will not be reduced from the 2005 as had been feared when initial budget numbers were announced early in the session. The State Library also won an important battle in securing a state obligation to renovate the Lorenzo deZavala Building , which is home to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

TLA-sponsored bills

SB 483 (Staples), same as HB 661 (Branch), passed the Legislature. This bill allows the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to negotiate database group purchasing agreements on behalf of willing school library programs. While the Legislature did not appropriate funds to cover school licensing fees, the legislation does allow for TSLAC to collect fees from willing schools to try and secure the best pricing for access to the TexShare databases.

HB 2473 by Rep. Dianne Delisi regarding certain state publications maintained by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission passed the Legislature.

Other Library Bills

SB 1205 by Sen. Frank Madla, same as HB 3187 by Menendez, establishes the authority for local governments to create multi-jurisdictional library districts and imposing local sales tax and/or ad valorem taxes to support the library district. The measure passed the Legislature.

HB 423 by Rep. Dianne Delisi concerned the availability on state publications. The bill passed the Legislature.

HB 463 by Rep. Harold Dutton proposed language requiring the evaluation of school library services as part of the overall accountability of public schools. The bill did not receive a hearing and died in committee.

HB 2697 by Rep. Larry Phillips sought to create a Historic Preservation Fund at the State Library. The bill did not pass the Legislature.

HB 3314 by Rep. Betty Brown, same as SB 1293 by Deuell, contained language related to the access of obscene materials on the Internet on state property. The bill did not pass the Legislature.

HB 3412 by Rep. Roberto Alonzo required libraries to offer Internet access and allowed libraries to charge fees for such service. The bill did not receive a hearing.

Bills with Library Related Issues

HB 789 by Rep. Phil King and SB 332 by Sen. Troy Fraser concerned state telecommunications policy. Each of these measures contained language continuing telecommunications discounts for libraries, public schools, and higher education. HB 789, which was the bill furthest along in the legislative process, was not passed.

HB 4 by Rep. Kent Grusendorf established an extensive list of educational technology goals for Texas schools. The measure included the expansion of the technology allotment and expanded the scope of instructional materials. The language of the bill was added to the Senate version of HB 2, the large education reform bill. However, the Legislature did not pass either HB 2 or HB 4.


The Texas House of Representatives and Senate have adjourned until January 9, 2007. However, there is much speculation that the Governor may call a special legislative session to once again attempt to address school finance and taxing reform. Budget issues, as well as the progress of the appeals process in the court case involving numerous school districts against the state, will all play a factor determining if and when a special session will be called.

The Texas Library Association will work closely with the school community and the higher education community is formulating a strategy to address the issue of telecommunications discounts. Additional information will be posted on Texline as it becomes available.


While the full Legislature did not pass many broad initiatives, library issues succeeded on many fronts. This achievement was a result of a combined effort. Librarians, library supporters, friends, trustees, lay representatives, educators, administrators, and supportive legislators worked hard to see library needs met. The Texas Library Association offers its deep thanks to the following individuals.


For support of school database access: Rep. Dan Branch and Sen. Todd Staples. Also, Sen. Rodney Ellis, Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, Rep. Mike Veasey, Rep. David Leibowitz, Rep. Al Edwards, Rep. Dwayne Bohac, Rep. Dan Flynn, Rep. Dennis Bonnen, and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.

For support of funding for library programs at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission: Rep. Jose Menendez, Rep. Jim Pitts, Sen. Kip Averitt, Sen. Judith Zaffirni, Sen. Tommy Williams, Representative Sylvester Turner, Senator Bob Deuell, Sen. Steve Ogden, Sen. Robert Duncan, Rep. Warren Chisum, Rep. Joe Pickett, Rep. Peggy Hamric, Rep. Leo Berman, and all members of the Appropriations and Finance Committees.

For support and sponsorship of other library-related legislation and issues: Rep. Dianne Delisi, Rep. Bob Hunter, Rep. Larry Phillips, Rep. Harold Dutton, Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, and Sen. Troy Fraser.

If your legislator is any one of these lists, please contact him/her and offer your thanks!

Library supporters who testified and participated in hearings on library issues:

Julie Todaro, Susan Mann, Sandy Pickett, Janice Richardson, Carlyn Gray, Elizabeth Polk, MaryFaye Randolph, Steve Brown, James Stewart, Mike Cline, Suzanne Abbott, Gene Rollins, Bob Gaines, and Martha Doty Freeman. Additionally, we offer our thanks to all TLA Legislative Day delegate leaders, delegates, and the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas. We are also grateful to all TLA members who contacted their legislators throughout the year in support of library issues.


TLA-Texline is an irregular publication of the Texas Library Association mailed directly to members interested in legislative and governmental issues affecting libraries. To subscribe or to offer comments or suggestions, contact Gloria Meraz, Director of Communications, Texas Library Association,

Previous issues of TLA-Texline are available on the TLA Web page at