MLA Advocacy - November 30, 2017

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Net Neutrality Rules Impact Us All   

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) must enable access to all legal content and applications regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking specific services or websites. Strong, enforceable rules are critical to the functioning of modern libraries because we rely on the internet to collect, create and disseminate essential online information and services to the public. Libraries and our patrons cannot afford to be relegated to "slow lanes" on the internet.  
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Pai publicly shared his plan to dismantle network neutrality protections approved by the FCC in 2015 and affirmed by the federal appeals court in 2016.  

Strong disapproval from members of Congress (especially from Republicans and those that serve on committees with oversight for the FCC) could force a pause in the December 14 vote to derail net neutrality. Make your voice heard now by emailing your member of Congress to support net neutrality protections. Send an Email

ALA has two resolutions regarding net neutrality: the first affirms net neutrality and the second reaffirms our support

OPEB - Other Post-Employment Benefit Changes Dominating December 

A plan to introduce legislation to reform municipal pension and other post-employment benefit (OPEB) is currently in the works. The issue is expected to dominate discussion in the final three weeks of session this year. Since the bill draft is being finalized, we do not have any details.  

The following link shows a county by county view of the funding. All libraries are encouraged to review their library's funding status at: https://unfundedmichigan.org. Click on the RED INK tab, go to the bottom of the page and select LIBRARIES and then scroll through to find your library.

According to recent research pension plans tend to be better funded than retiree  health care systems. In addition some communities have been aggressive in addressing the problem. The Municipal Employee's Retirement System (MERS), which manages 84 percent of municipal pension plans in the state, states that 73 percent of its members have taken action in the last five years to change benefit levels and lower costs. 
 
Information from the Governor's office states that the proposed reform law will be based on a five-phase process, with phase one containing provisions that apply to all local units of government and the rest of the phases containing a fiscal impact evaluation system to determine, and address, significantly underfunded local pension and retiree health care systems. See this outline from the Governor's office.

A collation of police and fire unions and associations are opposed to the bills. The concern is the legislation will take away benefits for retired municipal firefighters and police officers in cities and local governments that are not properly pre-funding their retiree health care systems or underfunding their pensions.  
 
Library Protection for Narcan Use in Process 
 
MLA has been working on language that will hold libraries harmless when administering life-saving Narcan in the result of a drug overdose at the library. Currently Good Samaritan laws protect individuals from prosecution but as governmental entities libraries could technically be held liable if something went wrong. Our goal is to have libraries treated much like school districts. We are looking to have a bill introduced shortly and do not expect opposition. 

 

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