Legislation to improve library service in Nevada was discussed at NLA's second annual meeting and at every annual meeting since. A Legislative Committee was formed in 1948, and other committees functioned with various names in the early fifties. In 1954, there was a Federal Relations Committee, in 1955 a Legislative Action Committee, and in 1956, a Legislative Study Committee and these three continued through 1968. In 1969, they were merged into a Legislative Committee, which was called the Government Relations Committee beginning in 1973. The chair of this committee became a two-year appointment in 1991 in order to allow for greater continuity in working with Nevada's biennial Legislature, which meets at the beginning of each odd numbered year. The Government Relations Committee Chair's term begins in even numbered years and is jointly appointed by the president and president-elect.
In the 1950's, much effort was put into changing Nevada's legislation governing the operation of local libraries. During the 1973 session, the committee laid the groundwork for what has become Information Nevada. The Government Relations Committee has been active in passing Nevada's library confidentiality statute (NRS 239.013), improving library funding, and sponsoring a "Library Day" during each legislative session. Lobbyists for NLA have been hired during the 1990's, and although proposals have been made to have NLA endorse individual political candidates, NLA has focused on issues instead.
PURPOSE AND DUTIES
The committee carries out policy in legislative areas as determined by the board of trustees and membership of NLA. The committee provides lobbying and legislative monitoring for the association. The committee chairperson serves as the ALA legislative contact for Nevada. The committee provides procedures for disseminating information to the membership on state and national legislation affecting libraries. The committee drafts for the approval of the board of trustees and the membership the legislative program to be presented at the biennial session of the Nevada State Legislature. Such program is initiated in the year between sessions. The chairperson of this committee registers as a lobbyist for NLA.
1. The chairperson interprets the instructions of the board of trustees to the committee and supervises the committee in its duties.
2. The chairperson submits copy to the Nevada Libraries concerning information relative to the committee's work and sees to it that libraries are apprised of legislation and activities impacting libraries in Nevada. He/she contacts libraries when bills are introduced impacting them and supplies copies to them and prepares press releases, statements and formal testimony.
3. The chairperson works with legislators who have agreed to support the NLA legislative program.
4. The chairperson has authority to act on any legislative matters requiring expedience on bills affecting libraries or intellectual freedom which are before federal or state legislatures, upon approval of the NLA president.
5. The committee will study, evaluate, formulate, and recommend action on state and federal legislative matters pertaining to libraries and intellectual freedom. The intellectual freedom committee chairperson works directly with this committee on intellectual freedom issues.
6. The committee shall submit proposed recommendations to the NLA board of trustees and the NLA membership at large for approval before taking action. After approval of any recommendation, the government relations committee shall initiate appropriate action to ensure the success of the recommendations.
7. The committee will encourage, study and evaluate suggestions from NLA members, committees, or any interested person pertaining to any library legislation.
8. The committee will be informed on significant legislation proposed by other states and Congress.
9. The Chairperson shall coordinate statewide efforts for Nevada’s libraries to contribute to an annual Nevada Libraries Snapshot Day, a promotional event so that all libraries across the state can show what happens in a single day in their libraries. The chairperson is encouraged to form a Snapshot Day Committee, which may include but is not limited to the current NLA President, the NLA Webmaster, and the Administrator of the Nevada State Library and Archives. The Chairperson will work with the Snapshot Day Committee to report and publicize the results of the annual Nevada Libraries Snapshot Day.
1. During the Nevada legislative session, the committee provides to NLA at least once a month and more if necessary, reports on legislation affecting Nevada's libraries. Such reports and requests for action are sent first class mail.
2. At the end of the legislative session the committee will provide a report covering activities and financial expenditures published in the Nevada Libraries.
3. Between sessions of the legislature the committee will make reports to the membership and board of trustees as necessary.
Monitoring the Nevada Legislature
1. Local Libraries
a. Local libraries should find community contacts as advocates of the NLA legislative position and program, as well as a means of channeling to the library information on community views and actions.
b. Advocates should be known to local librarians and be ready to move into action when necessary.
c. Items a. and b., above, should be done and ready no later than December preceding the legislative session. Ideally, this will also include a telephone tree.
d. Local librarians should contact local legislators to apprise them of the fact that an NLA legislative packet will be sent to them. Urge legislators to read it and ask questions. Legislative packets should be approved by the NLA membership at annual convention, and be ready to be sent one week after the elections are held.
e. Local librarians should try to secure from their legislators commitments to advocacy for the NLA legislative program. Local librarians should send to the chairperson names of legislators who will speak for the association and for libraries. This is to be done no later than December preceding the session.