Advocacy Alert: Dec. 14, 2010

House Approves IMLS Reauthorization, Bills Awaits President's Signature

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved S. 3984, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, by a voice vote. The bill reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the next five years.

"The Institute of Museum and Library Services is a vital agency that supports museums of all types in all communities," said AAM President Ford W. Bell. "The fact that Congress has now unanimously approved its reauthorization is a tremendous victory for the museum field. I am especially proud that more than 1,000 advocates from across the museum field have used www.speakupformuseums.org in recent weeks to urge Congress to pass this bill. It is a true testament to what is achievable when we work together."

S. 3984 was first introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and was cosponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The bill passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on Dec. 7. The bill was then considered on Dec. 14 by the House under the "Suspension of the Rules," a type of rule that is usually reserved for non-controversial bills, and approved by a voice vote.

For many months, AAM has been working in coalition with representatives from national, regional, and state organizations—including AAMD, AASLH, ACM, APGA, ASTC, AZA, NEMA, MPMA, CAM, MANY, FAM, VAM, MAA, TAM and representatives of the Federal-State Partnership Coalition—first within the museum field to reach a field-wide consensus on the proposal, then with numerous offices on Capitol Hill toward passage of a bill.

Recent AAM Advocacy Alerts have detailed the movement of this bipartisan bill which would reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The bill contains several provisions proposed by the museum field, including enhanced support for conservation and preservation, emergency preparedness and response, and building statewide capacity. The bill also specifically supports efforts at the state level to leverage museum resources, including statewide needs assessments and the development of state plans to improve and maximize museum services throughout the state.