UPDATE ON LATEST SENATE STIMULUS BILL: Saturday, 4:05 p.m.
The Senate has just finished a unique Saturday session with numerous floor statements from senators on both sides of the aisle. There has been no action on the floor since late last night. Good news: From what we can discern without being able to confirm specific language with Senate staffers, amendment 501 was DEFEATED last night. This amendment would have cut, from among other programs, $200 million in funding for libraries and community colleges for broadband deployment.
THANK YOU – library advocates. You all generated at least 1,000 calls/messages to senators to help save this funding. It was a tremendous effort in a very few hours – and it helped!
Unfortunately, it appears that there have been very troublesome changes to the education/library provisions in the bill. Without being able to obtain the actual language, we cannot confirm with any detail, what specific pieces were cut or eliminated.
Supporters – there is still much to do. We now need to generate more messages to ALL senators on the overall library, education and broadband provisions. We ask library supporters to continue to contact each of their senators (email, calls or faxes) between now and Tuesday. Watch here at District Dispatch and other news reports to see if the scheduled vote or other provisions change within the next couple of days.)
NEW MESSAGE FOR LIBRARY ADVOCATES TO ALL SENATORS: Keep all library, education and broadband provisions in the stimulus bill.
* Broadband is necessary to level the playing field in all communities and for people of all economic backgrounds and will spur economic recovery and promote new jobs.
* Libraries provide the public with unique, necessary and affordable information and online services related to job and career development, databases and other online information, and computer literacy training to help people apply for jobs and utilize e-government services, which are now often exclusively online.
* Libraries support local small businesses, distance learning and community development.
* Libraries are often the ONLY no-fee access to the internet in local communities – especially in rural areas.
* Where libraries have access to broadband, communities benefit because the public has access to the applications and services needed to function in the modern knowledge economy.
* The important library and broadband provisions of the stimulus bill can:
- create jobs to build out fiber and other broadband infrastructure;
- create jobs for manufacturers and others to supply broadband technology;
- create new markets for affordable broadband;
- stimulate jobs in libraries, education and other community entities that will then also help the public find jobs, develop employment skills, etc.