355: Legislation Committee

General Duties

1. The Legislation Committee shall keep the membership informed about state and national library legislation and encourage the enactment of beneficial library legislation. The Committee shall prepare a legislative agenda for approval by the Executive Board and shall coordinate N.M.L.A.’s activities during Library Legislative Day. (Bylaws, Article XVII, Section 7)

2. One member of the Committee shall be the Federal Relations Coordinator, designated by the President. The Federal Relations Coordinator may be a member of the committee other than one of
the co-chairs. The Federal Relations Coordinator shall be a member of the American Library Association, and will be the state contact person for the A.L.A. Washington Office. (Bylaws, Article XVII, Section 7 B)

3. The Committee shall be composed of a cross-section of the membership of N.M.L.A. However, there is no formal requirement for structural representation, as it is important to have interested Committee members who can attend meetings and actively participate in the Committee’s activities. When legislative programs reflect specific interests of library constituencies, representation from the interested group may be requested on an ad hoc basis. Although geographical areas are not important per se, as practical matter it is important to have Committee members in the Santa Fe area who can participate in political activities and can attend appropriate legislative meetings. In coordination with the Intellectual Freedom Committee, the Legislation Committee should identify possible legislative advocates (lobbyists) to assist with Association priorities.

4. The Committee should maintain a current work plan and revise it as necessary during the year.

5. The Committee chair should become familiar with the Bylaws and with the Procedural Handbook pages on standing committees (PH 300). The chair should maintain a copy of the Procedural Handbook in good order, consulting the chair of the Bylaws & Procedures Committee about anything in it that may seem to be insufficient, inconsistent or incorrect. The Handbook should be correct and up-to-date when it is passed on to the succeeding chair.

Calendar of Specific Duties

The Committee should meet at the N.M.L.A. Annual Conference to organize the committee, review and up-date the work plan, and to determine its budget request for submission to the Treasurer.

This is the time when individual libraries, friends and trustees in the districts of key legislators should be contacted and assisted with the development of plans for inviting the legislator to speak at a function at the library. Contact people should be encouraged to make appointments to talk in general about library needs and specifically about the needs of the libraries within a legislator’s district. The Committee should review legislative initiatives and prepare recommendations for the September Executive Board meeting. The Committee in coordination with the State Librarian should set the date of Library Legislation Day for the following year, and it should be announced in the September Newsletter.

When library-related bills are to be presented to the legislature, the Committee assists in drafting legislation. Before the session key legislators should be contacted both with regard to the introduction of bills and for the discussion of money bills. Local librarians and others should be encouraged to contact their legislator about upcoming issues. The Committee plans and prepares for Library Legislation Day. These activities should be reported at the January Executive Board meeting and in the Newsletter.

This period is primarily devoted to the legislative session. The chair maintains daily contact with the N.M.L.A. lobbyist and together with the President they decide on strategy and tactics on significant issues that arise. Committee members should attend hearings on library related bills, coordinate expert testimony where required, and generally track pertinent legislation. Library Legislation Day is held.

The chair should prepare for A.L.A. Legislative Day in Washington, D.C, and attend or identify an NMLA representative to attend. The annual report should be prepared including both pertinent state and federal legislation as well as N.M.L.A.’s activities during the session. If possible, the report should be distributed to the Executive Board members prior to their annual conference meeting. This report also appears in the post-conference issue of the Newsletter. Legislators receiving awards should be contacted for appearance at the annual conference, if possible it helps to discuss the audience with them and sometimes to suggest a particular topic. Presentations of the legislators at the annual conference should be written up for the Newsletter