Senate Committee Approves Reauthorization of IMLS

Category: Advocacy Alert
Photo of the U.S. Capitol building DC, Photo by E.Neely

Advocacy Alert – November 30, 2018

Senate HELP Committee Approves Reauthorization of IMLS

Great news! The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee on Nov. 29 unanimously approved S. 3530, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary federal agency responsible for helping museums connect people to information and ideas. Its Office of Museum Services (OMS) supports all types of museums in their work to educate students, preserve and digitize collections, and connect with their communities. Next steps include passage by the full Senate and House and then on to the president for his signature.

What is Reauthorization and What’s Happening Now?

IMLS has been regularly reauthorized by Congress with broad support, most recently in 2010 with a funding authorization of $38.6 million for OMS. On September 28, 2018, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced S. 3530, The Museum and Library Services Act of 2018. Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Will Hurd (R-TX), David McKinley (R-WV) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) introduced an identical companion bill, H.R. 6988. Both bills were introduced with the strong support of the Alliance and fellow museum associations.

The Museum and Library Services Act of 2018 contains a number of provisions specifically supported by the museum field and would reauthorize the agency for six years. Of great interest to the museum community, the legislation would formally authorize a 21st Century Museum Professional Program, to improve the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of museum professionals, especially those from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.

What You Can Do Now

If your senator is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee listed below, please take a moment to thank them for approving the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018 (and for cosponsoring the bill, too, if indicated with an asterisk below).

Use our Legislator Directory to find your legislators and their contact information.

Majority

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair
  • Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)*
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)*
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

Minority

  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)*
  • Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)*
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)*
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)*
  • Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)*
  • Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)*

Bill Cosponsors not on the Committee: In addition, the following senators, who are not on the committee but who cosponsored the bill, deserve your thanks: Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) – lead sponsor; cosponsors alphabetical by state: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE); Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD); Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Sen. Angus King (I-ME); Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN); Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS); Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT); Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Suggested Message:

Thank you for ***[approving, if on the Committee and/or cosponsoring, if applicable]*** the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018, S. 3530, which reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), during the recent Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee consideration. As you know, IMLS is the primary federal agency responsible for helping museums connect people to information and ideas. Its Office of Museum Services (OMS) supports all types of museums–from art museums to zoos, and more–in their work to educate students, preserve and digitize collections, and connect with their communities. [Please feel free to include information about IMLS and your museum. How has IMLS helped your museum? Have you received a grant? Have you received information that helped you do your job? Have you participated in MAP or CAP? What has the lasting impact been on your museum?]

Help make sure all senators are prepared to support S. 3530 if and when it is considered by the full Senate. Use our template to contact your senators today.

Your continued advocacy is building the support needed in Congress to repeat the success we had in passing the MLSA into law in 2010 – when it passed unanimously on the Senate floor and by voice vote in the House of Representatives following that year’s mid-term elections. Yesterday’s unanimous committee approval is a big step in that direction. Stay tuned and thank you for your advocacy for museums!

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