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MLA Advocacy - August 22, 2019

Free Narcan Prescription for Public Libraries

Pictured left to right: Larry Neal, Director, Clinton-Macomb Public Library; Kristin Shelley, Director, East Lansing Public Library; Bob DeVries, GCSI; Debbie Mikula, Executive Director, Michigan Library Association; Governor Gretchen Whitmer; Audrey Wojno; Senator Paul Wojno; Connie Platte and Bill Drake, Senator Wojno staff members. Front and center: Abby DeVries.

We are still celebrating the huge victory for our libraries and librarians with the passage of the Narcan bill package this past June. This new legislation provides liability protection for libraries when providing the life-saving opioid antidote naloxone, common brand name Narcan, to an overdosing patron. Recently, Governor Whitmer invited MLA and others to a ceremonial bill signing. MLA’s advocacy efforts have again been recognized with this signed, sealed and delivered legislation. But it doesn’t stop there.

As the Narcan bills came into effect in late June, MLA was also working with Emergent BioSolutions, the only provider of Narcan nasal spray in the country, to provide a free nasal prescription for this life-saving opioid antidote for our public libraries. (Emergent BioSolutions already provides Narcan to Michigan schools and colleges/universities.) Emergent is offering an opt-in program for public libraries interested in receiving two doses that have a two-year shelf life. Once these expire and/or are used, Emergent will provide Narcan for the low price of $75 which is over 60% off the full price. An easy and quick process has been put into place for this standing order, and all public libraries have to do is fill in the form linked here and return to Emergent who will fill it within a week. (For libraries that represent more than one branch, you only need to indicate how many sites you have and all will get a prescription.) With each prescription, Emergent also provides a one page, easy-to-use instruction sheet and this short video is available to you to show your staff in what to do in case of emergency. Questions can be forwarded to our Emergent contact, Kashfi Viveros at [email protected].

Trial Court Funding Commission Update

The MLA Legislative Committee took up discussion at its June meeting on the Trial Court Funding Commission Report, which calls for a switch from penal fine driven funding to state funding in order to avoid assessing prejudiced costs on defendants, that in turn pay for court costs. As the report calls for the ending of Michigan's constitutionally-mandated penal fine revenue for libraries, it was agreed that the MLA Legislative Committee would not recommend supporting it.

As directed by the MLA Board, Ryan Wieber, last year’s Chair of the Legislative Committee, wrote a short but direct note to the House Democratic Policy staff, indicating that while MLA supports a fix to the courts’ revenue stream, until there is a viable, long-term plan that guarantees a funding replacement for libraries, we do not support a plan that removes State Constitution-mandated penal fine funding for public libraries.

Related…A few weeks ago, Clare Membiela at the Library of Michigan indicated that there was some movement to continue to fund courts as they have done in the past (at least for the time being) as referenced in the Detroit Free Press article linked below.

For now, MLA’s Legislative Committee will continue to monitor and report back to you in a timely fashion with any updates.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/07/11/michigan-supreme-court-local-court-cost-scheme-stand/39674699/

State of Michigan Budget Update

We are staying appraised of the State of Michigan Budget situation, but as of now, no budget compromise has been reached. The Governor and the Republican leadership have until the end of September to pass a budget or risk a government shutdown. When lawmakers return to Lansing the week of August 26, they will have approximately five weeks to approve a budget. Funding for the roads – both the amount needed, and the source, has been the roadblock to finishing the budget. While both sides have been working behind the scenes and discussions have taken place, no negotiations have taken place to outline details of the framework.

Both the House and the Senate are proposing significant budget cuts across the board to funnel more money towards roads. Despite this, we have been able to keep State Aid to Libraries funded at the current level in both the House and Senate proposed budgets. We'll keep working for a small increase, but this year anything that is not a spending cut should be considered a win.

Similarly, the Michigan E-Library has no change in funding in the House version of the budget. The Senate has proposed a very small increase in funding to the E-Library.

We'll know a lot more once the budget is finalized. Stay tuned for more updates.

National Library Advocacy is Important Too!

With members of Congress on recess this summer, it is the perfect time to invite your federal legislators to visit your library and let them see for themselves all the ways libraries bring value to their communities.

As you may have heard in the news, the Trump administration appears to be moving forward with a budget deal, after weeks of negotiations between congressional leaders and White House officials. The agreement currently includes increased or level funding for most domestic and defense programs. In May, the House included significant increases in their funding, countering the administration’s call to eliminate many of these programs. While work still needs to be done to secure passage of the final appropriations, this week’s announcement is an important step and lessens the likelihood of a government shutdown.

With this development in mind, this August is a crucial time to invite your legislative leadership into your facilities to experience firsthand what the library has to offer. Get them into your spaces, show them what you are doing, and what you can do with more resources.

Read more at AmericanLibrairesMagazine.org.

 

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