2023 -- H 5095

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     STATE OF RHODE ISLAND

IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2023

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A N   A C T

RELATING TO LIBRARIES -- STATE AID TO LIBRARIES

     

     Introduced By: Representatives Morales, Baginski, Vella-Wilkinson, Carson, Speakman,
Henries, Chippendale, Potter, Tanzi, and Felix

     Date Introduced: January 12, 2023

     Referred To: House Finance

     It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

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     SECTION 1. Section 29-6-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 29-6 entitled "State Aid to

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Libraries" is hereby amended to read as follows:

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     29-6-2. Public library services.

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     (a) The general assembly makes the following findings:

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     (1) The Constitution of the State of Rhode Island Article XII of Education, Section 1 states

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that it "shall be the duty of the general assembly to promote public schools and public libraries, and

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to adopt all means which it may deem necessary and proper to secure to the people the advantages

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and opportunities of education and public library services."

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     (2) Free public libraries are essential to the general enlightenment of citizens in a

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democracy;

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     (3) Free public libraries provide for the cultural, educational, informational, and research

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needs of all citizens;

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     (4) Free public libraries are an integral part of the educational system at all levels and a

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source for vocational information and continued learning following the period of formal education;

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     (5) It is the responsibility of government at all levels to provide adequate financial support

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for all free public libraries;

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     (6) Throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, public libraries across Rhode Island

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have adopted creative strategies to support their communities through daily virtual programming,

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free audiobook subscriptions, takeaway activity bags for youth, curbside book pick-ups, printing

 

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services, and limited indoor browsing.

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     (b) For each city or town, the state's share to support local public library services shall be

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equal to at least twenty-five percent (25%) of both the amount appropriated and expended in the

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second preceding fiscal year by the city or town from local tax revenues and funds from the public

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library's private endowment that supplement the municipal appropriation; provided, however, the

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state in any year shall not be obligated to match any amount from the endowment that exceeds six

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percent (6%) of the three-year (3) average market value, calculated at the end of the calendar year,

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of the investments in the endowment. The amount of the grant payable to each municipality in any

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year in accordance with this section shall be reduced proportionately in the event that the total of

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those grants in any year exceeds the amount appropriated that year for the purposes of this section.

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     (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, in fiscal year 2024, the

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state shall pay each city and town a fixed twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount appropriated

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and expended by the city or town in the second preceding fiscal year from local tax revenues and

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from the public library's private endowment that supplement the municipal appropriation for public

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library services. The state may supplement funds from the American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal

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Recovery Funds.

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     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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EXPLANATION

BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

OF

A N   A C T

RELATING TO LIBRARIES -- STATE AID TO LIBRARIES

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     This act would require that the state‚Äôs share to support public library services in fiscal year

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2024 be fixed at twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount appropriated and expended by the city

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or town in the second preceding fiscal year, utilizing funds from the general fund supplemented by

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the American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

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     This act would take effect upon passage.

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