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WiscNet Issues Message on Governor's Partial Veto: Moving Forward

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, July 01, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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WiscNet sends the following message about the Governor's partial veto of the compromise on WiscNet and the UW's broadband grant that was reached in the legislature: Over the past 22 years WiscNet has grown and evolved in response to our members’ needs. We (both the members and the folks that report to work here every day) have come to expect great, innovative advancements from our cooperative on a regular basis. The 2011 Wisconsin Act 32 that was signed into law by Governor Walker on Sunday will not change this. While it does present new challenges (and opportunities) we are committed to moving forward.The law, though not ideal, does not prevent us from operating and despite some inaccurate reports; WiscNet will be around well into the future. As we naviage this new terrain, we will continue to focus on promoting changes that are necessary to make research, education and public service stronger...

Governor Walker's Partial Veto of WiscNet Language: Analysis of Impact Not Completed

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Monday, June 27, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The Office of Governor Scott Walker released the governor's remarks on the state budget and the governor's partial veto of some measures, including the compromise language on WiscNet. It's possible that the partial veto requires the entire legislature to act, rather than just allowing Joint Finance to postpone the effective date of prohibitions on the UW's telecommunications involvement. It's unclear at this point, but UW officials are analyzing the language. Stay tuned for more information as we learn it.Copied directly from the memo: 19.Joint Committee on Finance Authority to Postpone Telecommunications Services ProhibitionSection 1015xThis section defines telecommunications services and third-party entity and, beginning July 1, 2013, prohibits the University of Wisconsin System from becoming a member, shareholder or partner in any third-party entity or other person that offers, resells, or provides telecommunications services to the general public or to any public or private entity unless the third-party entity or other person...

Your Mom Would Remind You to Say Thank You

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 17, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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One of the most important advocacy tasks now before us is to thank members of the legislature for their support of library-related items in the state budget. Even though not everything we wanted is in the budget, libraries are in a better position now than when the governor's budget was introduced earlier this year. There are a number of things to be grateful for:$512,000 in biennial funding was restored for BadgerLink and Newsline for the Blind$183,400 in biennial funding was restored for the Talking Book and Braille LibraryWiscNet will continue for another 2 years, and the UW's federal broadband grant also continues, under a compromise hammered out by UW officials and legislative leadershipPlease thank your legislators today. The Legislative Alert we've created gives you an easy way to do that.When you thank them, make sure to remind legislators that we are pleased with the compromise on WiscNet and we ask that...

Senate Approves Budget 19-14, No Changes to Assembly Version

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 17, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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According to the Wispolitics Budget Blog, the State Senate approved the 2011-13 biennial budget on a 19-14 party line vote at about 10 p.m. last night. There were no successful attempts to amend the budget; therefore, the Assembly version stands....

WiscNet, Broadband Grant Restored by Assembly

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, June 16, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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According to a report by the WisPolitics Budget Blog, the Assembly passed the 2011-13 budget bill on a straight party line vote, modifying Joint Finance provisions that would have eliminated the UW's broadband grant and crippled WiscNet.A memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau describes the motion containing these and many other provisions amending the budget bill. Items #11 through 13 on pages 28-30 of the memo describe the changes related to WiscNet and the UW's involvement in telecommunications issues.First, item #11 deletes the Joint Finance amendment that would have prohibited the UW from accepting the federal broadband grant altogether. The memo says, "Instead, specify that UW-Extension could not commit any funds to facilities under this project to which such funds were not committed prior to June 15, 2011, unless approved by the Joint Committee on Finance."Item #12 essentially restores WiscNet operations but requires the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a financial...

WLA Letter to Legislators About WiscNet

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, June 09, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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Your response to WLA's legislative alert has been tremendous. In addition to getting the word out to library supporters, WLA has also sent this letter to all legislators and Governor Walker, outlining our support for WiscNet and broadband expansion. A similar letter has been sent to several newspapers; we encourage you to add your own story (e.g., how much would Internet cost for your organization if WiscNet goes away?) and contact your local paper with this information.On Friday, June 3, the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance passed Motion 489 that would eliminate WiscNet as a department or office within the UW-Madison Department of Information Technology and eliminate $1.4 million in funding for WiscNet for 2012-13. The motion would also require the UW to return federal grant money that has already been awarded for a broadband expansion project, apparently because of concerns that that this project competes with BadgerNet.We respectfully ask...

End of WiscNet? Joint Finance Eliminates UW-Madison WiscNet Office in DoIT

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Monday, June 06, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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TAKE ACTION: WLA's Legislative Alert In addition to requiring the return of federal broadband funds, the Omnibus University of Wisconsin System motion passed Friday (Motion 489) by the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance included the following provision:"Specify that WiscNet could no longer be a department or office within the UW-Madison Division of Information Technology beginning on July 1, 2012, and delete $1,400,000 PR from the UW System related to WiscNet in 2012-13. Require the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a program audit and a financial audit of the Board of Regents' use of telecommunication services and relationship with WiscNet."The note in the motion indicates under current law, the Board of Regents is prohibited from providing telecommunication services that are available from a private telecommunications carrier to the general public or any other public or private entity. Currently, WiscNet services more than 450 public and private research, education and government organizations....
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  • Anonymous says #
    How ironic. Telephone companies weren't even on the playing field in the early 90's, so why do we suddenly need to level the playi...

Joint Finance Passes Omnibus UW System Motion: No to Separate UW-Madison, Broadband Funds

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Saturday, June 04, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The Joint Finance Committee tonight passed an Omnibus Motion on the University of Wisconsin System that includes, among other items, the decision to not spin UW-Madison off as a separate public entity and prohibits the system from providing telecommunications services and accepting federal broadband funds. The latter would stop a project underway to expand broadband through Community Area Networks (CANs) to about 80 libraries and schools, among other entities, and return millions to the federal government.WLA pushed for acceptance of an earlier broadband grant of more than $23 million that would have expanded BadgerNet for more than 450 schools and libraries. The state returned that grant earlier this year after the Department of Administration was unable to negotiate an agreement between telecommunications providers and the National Telecommunication and Information Administration. The UW System grant had remained as an opportunity to add capacity for a smaller number of schools and libraries. It...

Joint Finance Reduces Cuts to Municipalities; Eliminates Emergency Services MOE

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Friday, June 03, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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On June 2, the state legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted to eliminate the emergency services maintenance of effort funding requirement and restored some of the shared revenue cuts for counties and municipalities.Omnibus Motion 450, passed on vote of 11-4, provided a net reduction in shared revenue payments of $76,750,000, rather than the reduction of $96,000,000 proposed by Governor Walker. The committee also eliminated the requirement that counties and municipalities maintain their level of spending for emergency services at the 2009 level. This emergency services maintenance of effort law was passed in the prior biennium.Note that the governor had eliminated maintenance of effort funding for public libraries in his budget proposal. Efforts to restore MOE for public libraries have not been successful to date....

Joint Finance Restores Funding to Talking Book & Braille Library, State Law Library

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, June 02, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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The state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) is scheduled to meet again today and tomorrow to complete its work on the 2011-13 state budget.On May 26, JFC approved one-time funding of $41,000 to the State Law Library for the purchase of West's National Law Reporter System on CD-ROM. On May 27, the committee also voted 16-0 to restore $183,400 for the Talking Book and Braille Library for the biennium. In action in May 3, the committee voted 16-0 to restore $512,000 to BadgerLink.(Restoration of funding refers to changes to the governor's budget proposal, which proposed 10% cuts to all library-related programs in the first year of the biennium.) Although the State Law Library allocation was provided from general purpose revenue (GPR), other library-related funding is provided via the Universal Service Funds, or SEG funding. Thus far, funding has not been restored for public library systems or the remaining statewide resource...

Action Alert: Please Contact Republican Lawmakers About State Budget

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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Thanks to previous efforts of library supporters like you, Joint Finance Committee recently restored funding for BadgerLink, but pending cuts to public library system aids, statewide resource contracts and maintenance of effort funding for public libraries will be destructive to library service in Wisconsin.Please click here to take action to urge Republican legislators to restore library funding in the 2011-13 state biennial budget! Note that we are targeting ONLY Republican members of the state legislature. If your legislator is not a member of the majority party, they will not need a contact at this time. Therefore, once you type in your zip code and click to send your message, it will select only targeted legislators. You'll also be able to search for phone numbers of your legislators. Click on "Elected Officials" to get more detailed information about each. We encourage you to follow up your email with a personal phone call....

The State Budget and Wisconsin Libraries - Presentations by Ron McCabe Available

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in WLA News
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To promote understanding and advocacy, Ron McCabe is now available for public presentations on "The State Budget and Wisconsin Libraries."   Presentations are free to libraries and other sponsoring groups in Wisconsin.  No honorarium or travel reimbursement is requested.Ron's nonpartisan presentation will describe the role that libraries play in expanding educational opportunities and the impact of the proposed 2011-2013 Wisconsin State Budget on this important work. Ron McCabe is Director of McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, President-elect of the Wisconsin Library Association, and author of /Civic Librarianship: Renewing the Social Mission of the Public Library/.  He has lectured on public library development throughout the nation and has served as a consultant to American Library Association presidents Sarah Long and Nancy Kranich.To schedule a public presentation, see the presentation flyer at http://www.mcmillanlibrary.org/library/budget_libraries.pdf...

Details on Joint Finance Actions on May 3

Posted by Lisa Strand
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on Wednesday, May 04, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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On Tuesday, May 3, the Joint Finance Committee held an executive session on, among other issues, library-related budget matters. Here's more detail on the motions and votes affecting libraries; options voted on refer to Paper #562 from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. They are presented in the order in which they were acted upon by the committee.Motions on Maintenance of Effort:-        Option A. 3 to delete the provision in the budget bill that would eliminate MOE; failed on a split vote of 8-8.-        In favor: Sen. Olsen, Sen. Harsdorf, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Jauch, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Nygren, Rep. Grigsby and Rep. Shilling-        Opposed: Sen. Darling, Sen. Leibham, Sen. Grothman, Sen. Hopper, Rep. Vos, Rep. LeMahieu, Rep. Strachota and Rep. Kleefisch-        Motion #91 (MOE compromise) failed on a split vote of 8-8.-        In favor: Sen. Olsen, Sen. Harsdorf, Sen. Taylor, Sen. Jauch, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Nygren, Rep. Grigsby and Rep. Shilling-        Opposed: Sen....

Joint Finance Committee Restores BadgerLink Funding

Posted by Lisa Strand
Lisa Strand
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on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 in State Legislation/Initiatives
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Members of the state legislature's Joint Committee on Finance today voted 16-0 to restore $512,000 in funding to BadgerLink that had been cut in Governor Walker's budget proposal. Motions to retain public library maintenance of effort (MOE) funding requirements or to allow MOE reductions of up to 10 percent (for this biennium only) failed on an 8-8 vote. Motions to restore all library-related funding failed on votes of 5-10 and 6-11. Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Sen. Robert Jauch (D-Poplar), Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Dan Meyer (R-Eagle River) and Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) where among those who spoke in favor of libraries. If you live in the district of a finance committee member, please take a moment to send your thanks for the restoration of BadgerLink funding. And, a big thank you to all the library supporters who sent emails to Governor Walker or legislators...
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  • Lisa Strand says #
    My apologies; I was focused on votes that passed or were astoundingly close, but I should have mentioned that there were two faile...
  • Lisa Strand says #
    It's not over yet!
  • Anonymous says #
    The proposed cuts to system funding are a significant problem, too. It is dissapointing you singled out MOE as you did.