CALL TO ACTION: House Appropriations Committee Hearing Set for State Library & Archives

The next hearing on the Texas State Library and Archive’s Commission’s budget for the 2015-2017 biennium will take place next week on Monday, February 16. This is a hearing of the House Finance Committee. I don’t have an agenda for the meeting yet, so I don’t have any clue what order the agencies will present in.

Budget hearings are an interesting process. Often, advocates find themselves listening through hours of testimony, as there is no guaranteed time for agency presentations or public testimony.  Changes in scheduling are common. That being said, it is incredibly important to have advocates who are committed. Nothing is more powerful than persuasive testimony!

If the hearing is broadcast, the link will be available on the day at http://www.house.state.tx.us/video-audio/committee-broadcasts/. Expect hours and HOURS of poor audio and video.

The current TSLAC Legislative Appropriation Request is available at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/budget/fy1617/index.html. There is a synopsis available from the Texas Library Association at http://www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/84th_Library_Budget_Issues.pdf. You should note that though many of the requests for new funding (exceptional items) are directed toward the State Archives, the Texas Library Association is focused on two that will benefit libraries statewide. That is why your support for the archival priorities is essential!

TSLAC, like all agencies, was directed to prepare an option for a 10% budget cut. Note that while the library services division would feel the greatest impact in terms of dollars, other divisions will feel the impacts in loss of staff. If a 10% across-the-board cut is made, 7.0 FTEs in archives plus 1 FTE in State and Local Records Management would be eliminated.

If your representative serves on the Appropriations Committee, I urge you to contact him or her to express your support:

Representative Trent Ashby; Trent.Ashby@house.state.tx.; 512-463-0508

Representative Cecil Bell; Cecil.Bell@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0650

Representative Greg Bonnen; Greg.Bonnen@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0729

Representative Cindy Burkett; Cindy.Burkett@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0464

Representative Giovanni Capriglione; Giovanni.Capriglione@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0690

Representative Sarah Davis; Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0389

Representative Dawnna Dukes; Dawnna.Dukes@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0506

Representative Helen Giddings; Helen.Giddings@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0953

Representative Larry Gonzales; Larry.Gonzales@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0670

Representative Donna Howard; Donna.Howard@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0631

Representative Bryan Hughes; Bryan.Hughes@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0271

Representative Linda Koop; Linda.Koop@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0454

Representative Oscar Longoria; Oscar.Longoria@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0645

Representative Marisa Marquez; Marisa.Marquez@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0638

Representative Ruth Jones McClendon; RuthJones.McClendon@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0708

Representative Borris Miles; Borris.Miles@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0518

Representative Rick Miller; Rick.Miller@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0710

Representative Sergio Munoz; Sergio.Munoz@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0704

Representative John Otto; John.Otto@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0570

Representative Dade Phelan; Dade.Phelan@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0706

Representative Four Price; Four.Price@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0470

Representative John Raney; John.Raney@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0698

Representative Justin Rodriguez; Justin.Rodriguez@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0669

Representative J.D. Sheffield; J.D.Sheffield@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0628

Representative Sylvester Turner; Sylvester.Turner@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0554

Representative Gary VanDeaver; Gary.VanDeaver@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0576

Representative Armando Walle; Armando.Walle@house.state.tx.us; 512-463-0490

 
If you don’t know who your representative is, you can go to http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx and enter your address to find out! Even if your representative isn’t on the Appropriations Committee, it is important to communicate with them about the importance of TSLAC, especially as the budget process moves forward.

 

The equivalent in the Senate is the Senate Finance Committee; their hearing was last week. You can still communicate with them to express your support for archives, though. Here’s the list of members:

 

District 1: Senator Kevin Eltife; 512-463-0101; Kevin.Eltife@senate.state.tx.us

District 3: Senator Robert Nichols; 512-463-0103; Robert.Nichols@senate.state.tx.us

District 5: Senator Charles Schwertner; 512-463-0105; Charles.Schwertner@senate.state.tx.us

District 7: Senator Paul Bettencourt; 512-463-0107; Paul.Bettencourt@senate.state.tx.us

District 9: Senator Kelly Hancock; 512-463-0109; Kelly.Hancock@senate.state.tx.us

District 11: Senator Larry Taylor; 512-463-0111; Larry.Taylor@senate.state.tx.us

District 12: Senator Jane Nelson; 512-463-0112; Jane.Nelson@senate.state.tx.us

District 14: Senator Kirk Watson; 512-463-0114; Kirk.Watson@senate.state.tx.us

District 15: Senator John Whitmire; 512-463-0115; John.Whitmire@senate.state.tx.us

District 17: Senator Joan Huffman; 512-463-0117; Joan.Huffman@senate.state.tx.us

District 18: Senator Lois Kolkhorst; 512-463-0118; Lois.Kolkhorst@senate.state.tx.us

District 19: Senator Carlos Uresti; 512-463-0119; Carlos.Uresti@senate.state.tx.us

District 20: Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa; 512-463-0120; Juan.Hinojosa@senate.state.tx.us

District 23: Senator Royce West; 512-463-0123; Royce.West@senate.state.tx.us

District 31: Senator Kel Seliger ; 512-463-0131; Kel.Seliger@senate.state.tx.us);
Some tips for contacting your senator or representative:

 

If you are calling the office, ask to speak to the staff person working on Appropriations or Finance. When you get that person, introduce yourself, tell them you are a constituent, and tell them you are calling to ask for the Representative or Senator’s support of funding for the state archives. Mention that the TSLAC Appropriations Committee hearing is set for Monday Feb. 16, and you want to speak to them concerning the importance of funding the agency’s exceptional items requests. Be specific about which exceptional items you support and explain how they will benefit you and other constituents. Ask if s/he has any questions and thank them. It’s that easy!

 

TLA has an Advocacy Primer available at http://www.txla.org/advocacy-how-to that provides a lot of useful guidance.

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