Legislative Update Jan 4, 2019

Now that the mid-term elections are over, both the US Congress and the PA General Assembly are reorganizing. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Dem) has just been named Speaker of the US House and now committee assignments will begin. In our state legislature, leadership positions have been decided but committees not yet finalized. The PA House and Senate Education and Appropriations Committees will be most important for PSLA members as we push to have companion bills in both the House and Senate to ensure certified school librarians in every public school during.

Although the PA House and Senate remain in Republican control as the majority party, there have been many changes (see below) due to elections and recent redistricting.  

Go to the PA General Assembly site to lookup who represents both your home address and that of your school (https://www.legis.state.pa.us/). Scroll down to “Find My Legislator” and enter your addresses.

In coming months PSLA will engage in a vigorous campaign to support school library legislation. Know who represents you!

Pennsylvania 2018 Mid-Term Election Results

  • Pennsylvania Governor (unchanged) – Tom Wolf (Dem)

  • Pennsylvania General Assembly

PA House (N= 203): 110 Rep 93 Dem (prior to election 120 Rep - 79 Dem)

PA Senate (N=50): 29 Rep 21 Dem (prior to election 33 Rep - 16 Dem)

For list of PA State Senators, go to http://www.pasen.gov/

For PA State Representatives, go to http://www.house.state.pa.us/

Pennsylvania Legislative References

List of PA Senate Officers and Leadership https://www.legis.statde.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/senate/officers.cfm

List of PA House Officers and Leadership - https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/house/officers.cfm


The Democratic Party now is the majority party in the US House of Representative while the Senate continues to be in Republican control.  Pennsylvania’s two Senators remain unchanged –Sen. Toomey (R) and Sen. Casey (Dem). However, there are significant changes in the US House members representing PA-- prior to the election, 12 Rep - 6 Dem; after the election, 9 Rep 9 Dem. Women won four of the U.S. House seats for Pennsylvania, breaking up what had been an all-male delegation. All four women are Democrats and will represent parts of southeastern PA.


HB740 and SB1269 (dropped in July 2018 by Senator John Blake) both “died” at the end of the 2016-2018 Legislative Session. These companion bills would have authorized (but not funded) one certified school library per public school. Kevin Harley, Quantum Communications, and Rep. Mark Longietti are working to have these bills reintroduced as the new legislative session gets underway.  Introduction of these bills is not likely to happen before mid-February due to the General Assembly’s reorganization.


The reauthorization of IMLS passed both US House and Senate (December 19) that ensures federal funding through 2025 (https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/museum-and-library-services-act-passes/). However, until the final 2019 federal budget is passed and the government shutdown ended, we will not know if the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program (formerly part of the IMLS reauthorization) will be funded and at what level. The IAL program funds school library resources for impoverished schools. The level of LSTA funding also depends on the final federal budget. Stay tuned!
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