Finding your legislators
Here’s how you find your legislators:
- If you know your legislative district, click here.
- If you don’t, click here. Put your address in the search bar and click “Find.” You’ll get something like the image below. You’re interested in your Legislative District.
- Once you’ve got that, go back to Step 1.
Send an email
The first step to getting your voice heard is sending an email. This is your opportunity to send some solid, facts and references to your legislators. These people have many different interests and issues commanding their attention, so it is up to you to be the expert. Be smart, concise, and formal. Here are some tips for formatting, tone, and organizing your content. And here is what you should say about HB 2379. And here are some links you might consider including.
Make a phone call
Sending an email is not enough. Follow it up with a phone call. Your legislators get a lot of email. Talking with them over the phone will make it more likely that they will read the message you sent. This also humanizes the interaction. You have your facts; you know what to say. Here is how you should say it.
Jenny Gubernick (Pima County Public Library) put together this really cool interactive fiction piece called “Save Our AZ Libraries (a cautionary tale)” centering on HB2379. Check it out.
This is a really cool way to get word out about an issue. Not only is it engaging, it’s also highly affecting. It tells you what’s happening, how to deal with it, and what will happen to you, whichever decision you decide to make. It’s pretty amazing.
Here’s the deal: Representative Justin Olson has introduced this bill into the House of Representatives that will drastically cut the funding of library districts in Arizona.
This bill seeks to change the tax levies so that they cannot flex with community need. At present, the Board of Supervisors can set the tax levy each year up to $0.20 per every $100 of property tax. The limits on this levy is self-imposed and allows the districts to increase or decrease the levy as needed. The proposed bill will create a uniform limit for the entire state.
This is an especially horrible time for this action. The two largest library districts in the state, Maricopa County Library District (full disclosure: this is my employer) and the Pima County Library District (full disclosure: I like them), in an effort to save tax payers money, voluntarily lowered the tax levy this year to reduce the accumulated tax fund balance. This year’s levy is too atypical to base a long-term standard upon.
Library districts need to adapt to the needs of their communities. A one-size-fits-all tax levy simply will not work. The library districts in Arizona have never been accused of abusing their authority, and, what’s more, they provide valuable service to all of the libraries in their geographic areas.
If this bill passes, it will have this effect on the Maricopa County Library District:
- Elimination of 64 full-time positions (goodbye staff)
- Nearly 200 hours per week of library services will be cut (goodbye convenient hours)
- All programming will be eliminated (goodbye storytime)
- Half of the electronic resources made available across the County will be eliminated (goodbye research)
- District libraries will have to cut 33% from materials budgets (goodbye books)
And that’s just in one district. Now multiply that by all the districts in the state.
Contact your legislators (find them at www.azleg.gov) and ask them to vote down this bill.
- Ask your library advocates, friends and staff to email your Representatives by Monday, February 3rd, at 5:00pm. Click for legislative contact info: House
Here are some HB2379 Talking Points created by the AzLA for you to use when you talk to your legislators.
Here is a document that tells you exactly what the ramifications of this bill would be for Maricopa County (Prepared by Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget).