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MLA Advocacy - May 23, 2019

Interior image of the Michigan State Capitol Dome

Senate Passes Narcan Bills

Senate Bills 200, 282 and 283 passed unanimously in the Senate Wednesday morning. These bills are tie-barred to House Bill 4367, which would provide liability protection for libraries when providing the life-saving opioid antidote naloxone, common brand name Narcan, to an overdosing patron. In March, the Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 4366 and 4367 on a 106 to 0 vote. These original bills were amended by senators to expand the reach to limit liability for additional municipalities and entities along with libraries.

Last week, the bills were expanded in committee to the now four-bill package HB 4367, SB 200, SB 282 and SB 283. The bills were substituted and unanimously supported by committee members for floor action. On Wednesday morning, Senate Bills 200, 282 and 283 passed unanimously in the Senate and will now head to the House. We expect the Senate will pass HB 4367 which will head back to the House for concurrence. The bills will need to pass in the House before heading to the Governor's desk.

Library of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education and MLA have been working together to see this protection added for our libraries. In the United States, it is reported that a person dies of an opioid overdose every thirteen minutes. While they happen everywhere, it's been impossible to miss the stories of overdoses happening in the restrooms and parking lots of public libraries especially in New York, Philadelphia and Denver. There, librarians have administered life-saving Narcan on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

Unfortunately, libraries across the country have become a common site for opioid and heroin overdoses. Libraries throughout Michigan have been the sites of overdoses in recent years. Luckily in those cases, law enforcement officers responded quickly enough to administer Narcan before it was too late. Those libraries now train staff and stock the Narcan kits as do many libraries across the state.

Libraries, however, do not have immunity for any liability situations that could arise from providing this life-saving treatment. As a result, library attorneys are often recommending that libraries not stock the treatment. These bills would allow libraries and library employees or agents to purchase, possess, distribute or administer in good faith an opioid antagonist without possible subject to criminal prosecution. The law would provide immunity to libraries similar to that provided to public schools.

MLA Supports Coalition for Michigan School Libraries and HB 4392 4393 and 439

In March, Michigan House of Representatives State Reps. and former teachers Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) and Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), along with Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) introduced a package of bills aimed at addressing the state's ongoing literacy crisis by requiring staffed libraries in every public school in the state. The three-bill package would ensure every student access not only to a school library, but to a certified librarian or media specialist trained to improve literacy, foster a love of learning, and help identify and correct problems before they become significant obstacles to reading. HB 4392, 4393 and 4394 were referred to the House Education Committee.

The coalition for Michigan school libraries, led by MAME (Michigan Association for Media in Education), includes Michigan Reading Association (MRA), the Michigan Parent Teacher Association, the Michigan Academic Library Association (Mi-ALA), the Michigan Cooperative Directors Association (MCDA), and the Michigan Council for Teachers of English (MCTE) as well as MLA.

MAME reported that they met with the Michigan Department of Education to talk about support for equitable access to effective school libraries for all students in Michigan. The Michigan Education Association (MEA) has since presented a resolution supporting school libraries staffed by certified school librarians. Additionally, the Michigan Department of Education sent a memo on April 25th to all school districts to announce the availability of the Effective School Library Toolkit for Administrators. The toolkit is intended to provide school district administrators and MDE field services personnel with information about the components of an effective school library program in order to expand Michigan students' access to such programs.

MLA supports HB 4392, 4393 and 4394 and the coalition for Michigan school libraries. Please take a moment to send an email to your Michigan Representative. EveryLibrary has made it easy to do so at this link: https://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/3billsmichigan

If you have not done so already, please send an email or letter from your organization to the House Education Committee Chairperson, Pamela Hornberger at [email protected] to request a hearing on these bills.

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