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Capitol Update

Advocacy Report: February 2014 from Mike Neppl, Director of Government Relations and AdvocacyMike Neppl

New Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver recently appointed Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., (I – Sag Harbor) as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology. Mr. Thiele was first elected to the New York State Assembly from the 2nd Assembly District in 1995. The 2nd Assembly District includes the Town of East Hampton, the Town of Southampton, and the southeastern portion of the Town of Brookhaven.

With Assemblyman Thiele’s appointment, NYLA has gained an excellent partner that understands the issues facing the library community. Commenting on his appointment, Assemblyman Thiele said, “New York State’s libraries and library systems are a vital part of our educational infrastructure. We must ensure communities throughout New York State are anchored by vibrant public libraries, our children have access to school libraries staffed by certified school library media specialists and our university students are trained in the best research methods by qualified librarians. I am excited to lead on these issues that are key to creating an educated workforce that will help grow our state’s economy.”

Prior to his election to the Assembly, Mr. Thiele served as Supervisor in the Town of Southampton, a Suffolk County legislator and as Southampton Town Attorney. Assemblyman Thiele is a graduate of Southampton College and Albany Law School. NYLA and its members congratulate Assemblyman Thiele on his new leadership position!

New York State Budget Update

Governor Cuomo’s proposed FY 2014-2015 Executive Budget was released on January 21st, and allocated $81.6M in Library Aid (more information in the Executive Director’s report). This amounts to a $4M cut from last year’s enacted budget, and pins library aid around 1997 levels. NYLA immediately undertook an advocacy campaign aimed at the Governor that has drawn over 2500 participants through our Online Advocacy Center. The Governor issues both 21-day and 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget. The 21-day amendments were released on February 11, but were only technical corrections; 30-day amendments will likely be released February 21st. NYLA has pivoted our advocacy efforts to the legislature, and we urge you to visit the Online Advocacy Center and make your voice heard!

2014 Legislative Agenda

The NYLA Legislative Committee met on January 29th to finalize our 2014 legislative priorities. Please familiarize yourself with these, and check out the talking points under the Advocacy Tools tab on the NYLA website for more information.

Library Advocacy Day is Wednesday, February 26th!

NYLA’s 2014 Library Advocacy Day will feature a number of exciting changes this year to maximize our impact and visibility, including a march from the Legislative Office Building to the State Capitol and a Legislative Reception from 5p-6p at the Albany Hilton. This event is complimentary and open to all of our advocates. Please visit the Library Advocacy Day tab on the NYLA website for additional details.

Michael Neppl
Director of Government Relations & Advocacy/General Counsel
518-432-6952 Ext. 102