Advocacy Alert: Jan. 30, 2009

Washington Wire: Legislative Update

  • House Passes Economic Recovery Act with Zoo and Aquarium Exclusion; Senate Bill to Be Considered Next Week

  • Advocacy Day Deadlines Approaching!

  • FREE Advocacy Webinar Planned for February 10!

  • State Budgets Under Attack; State Advocacy Tools Now Available

House Passes Economic Recovery Act with Zoo and Aquarium Exclusion; Senate Bill to Be Considered Next Week 

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, an $819 billion economic stimulus package this week. The bill, which passed along party lines, included a provision specifically excluding zoos and aquariums from receiving any funds—directly or indirectly—from the bill. In response, museum advocates from around the country sent more than 1,200 letters to Congress urging the deletion of this provision. Fortunately, the Senate version of the bill does NOT contain the provision. The Senate bill, S. 336 , will be considered next week.

"This has been a watershed moment for the museum field," said AAM President Ford Bell. "The kind of unity and collaboration put forth by a range of national, state, and regional museum organizations in response to this misguided provision has been a great testament to the impact of the museum community when we work together."

Following passage of the Senate bill, differences between the House and Senate bills will be worked out in a Conference Committee.

The language in the House bill, "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool," would prevent local governments from investing any stimulus funds in community infrastructure projects that involve zoos or aquariums.

Read the letter that AAM's President Ford Bell sent to the House Appropriations Committee and send one to your own representatives in Congress.

Advocacy Day Deadlines Approaching! 

HOTEL DEADLINE: Feb. 2 
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Feb. 6

Museums Advocacy Day is coming soon—Feb. 23–24—and the hotel block has now been extended to Monday, Feb. 2. (This is the only extension that will be made for this hotel block!)  The headquarters hotel for Museums Advocacy Day is the Washington Marriott , 1221 22nd Street, NW, in Washington, D.C. Please call 800-228-9290 or 202-872-1500 and ask for the special American Association of Museums rate ($224 per night).

Registration is free, but required, and participants must register by Feb. 6. 

FREE Advocacy Webinar Planned for February 10!

As we prepare to descend on Washington, D.C., for Museums Advocacy Day in late February, AAM will be hosting a pre-conference webinar for the entire museum field on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. (ET).

Whether you're attending Museums Advocacy Day in person, wondering how you can participate even if you can't come to Washington, D.C., or just want to become a better advocate, this is the session for you. AAM Government Relations staff and an outside expert will outline the details of Museums Advocacy Day and will share a few "insider" secrets for effective communication with elected officials. We'll discuss federal policy issues that may impact museums across the country—and what we can do to ensure that our representatives are ready to take positive action on our behalf.

State Budgets Under Attack; State Advocacy Tools Now Available 

One result of the recent economic downturn has been state budgets being squeezed. To help the museum community weigh in on the state level, AAM's Advocacy website now includes state legislator information, including every state legislator, his or her photo, a basic bio, committee assignments, and office locations and contact information. Just enter your zip code to find out who represents you on the state and federal level.