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Ten librarians from WVLS and NWLS attended the fourth public hearing on the state budget conducted by the legislative Joint Committee on Finance at Spooner High School on April 18, 2017. Thorp Public Library Director Julie Beloungy testified in support of a modest increase of $1.5 million to public library system aids in 2017-2019 budget.

(Pictured Right) Thorp Public Library Director Julie Beloungy and Kris Adams Wendt from WVLS.

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal for 2017-19 was introduced to the legislature in February as twin finance bills AB64 and SB30 and assigned to the powerful Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) where the legislative review process begins. The JFC committee of 16 legislators consists of 8 each from the senate and assembly (12 from the majority party and 4 from the minority party). Senator Tom Tiffany (12th District) and Representative Mary Felzkowski (35th District) are members of JFC.

JFC member Mary Felzkowski

(At far right) JFC member Rep. Mary Felzkowski (35th District).

JFC Sen Tom Tiffany

(At far left) JFC member Sen. Tom Tiffany (12th District).

JFC hearings were scheduled in Platteville, West Allis and Berlin the week of April 3, as well as Spooner, Ellsworth and Marinette the week of April 18. The Wisconsin Library Association’s Library Development & Legislation Committee organized groups of library advocates to attend all six hearings.

RepresentingWVLS and NWLS in Spooner on April 18 were:

  • Julie Beloungy, Thorp Public Library Director (our speaker)
  • Jocelyn Ford, NWLS Trustee/Washburn Co. Supervisor
  • Molly Lank-Jones, Hayward Public Library Director
  • Sandy Mackie, NWLS Trustee
  • Sherry Machones, NWLS Director, WLA Legislative Committee
  • Patti Meyer, Larsen Family Library Director (Webster)
  • Marla Sepnafski, WVLS Director
  • Michael Sheehan, NWLS Assistant Director
  • Amy Stormberg, Shell Lake Public Library Director
  • Kris Adams Wendt, WVLS Youth and Inclusive Services, WLA Legislative Committee

Listen to the Wisconsin Library Association Legislative Committee Library testimony beginning at the 50 minute mark. Here are the links to the letter on which Julie Beloungy’s 3-minute testimony was based, as well as the joint WVLS/NWLS summary document.

You can help!

Using Julie’s testimony and the summary document as a guide, please share your library’s stories with your State Senator and Assembly Representative. Legislators who are not members of the Joint Finance Committee are assigned as “buddies” to JFC members and encouraged to communicate the concerns of their constituents to the JFC table. JFC members will be getting down to the serious decision making that crafts the legislative version of the budget in the coming weeks. Please add your voice!

Which Legislators represent what libraries? Find contact information for your Legislators in the WVLS Libraries and Legislators by County contact resource.

Spooner Citizens waiting to testify.

Citizens waiting to testify.

Submitted by Kris Adams Wendt.