EveryLibrary Urges Passage of SCA7 in California

EveryLibrary’s mission is to help library communities win at the ballot box.  We are focused on supporting local ballot committees as they plan and run effective campaigns that secure library funding through levies, bonds, and other referendum.  It is about talking to – and persuading – enough voters to ‘Vote Yes’ for the library.  And in California, we’ve identified a major new way to help make that happen.

Today, EveryLibrary is announcing our support for SCA7, a state constitutional amendment in the California Senate and Assembly that would change the threshold for a successful ballot initiative from the current 66% required to pass down to 55% for approval.  In plain terms, if SCA7 eventually passes and is approved as a statewide Proposition it will be 11% easier to pass a library ballot measure in California.  The first step is to get SCA7 passed in the Senate and General Assembly then signed by the Governor.  It would then become a statewide Proposition and require, ironically, a simple majority of Californians to approve it.  This is a big deal for California libraries.

EveryLibrary is starting with a Letter of Support to the main and co-sponsors Sens. Wolk and Leno, and Assembly Member Williams (the full text is below).  On May 8th, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee is set to take up SCA7. EveryLibrary board member Patrick Sweeney will be there to talk with members of the Committee and possibly give testimony.  We see our work on this particular Bill as a natural place for our political action and attention.  If we can help change the threshold from 66% to 55% for California libraries we have done great work to get more Measures like parcel taxes, levies, and bonds to pass.  We’re going to be walking the halls in Sacramento about SCA7.  Please join us.


Senator Lois Wolk
State Capitol
Room 5114
Sacramento, CA.  95814


Dear Senator Wolk,

On behalf of library users around California and across the country, we are writing to thank you for your sponsorship of SCA 7 and to urge its passage in the California State Senate and Assembly.

EveryLibrary recognizes the vital role that public support and voter approval plays in good governance and sound public financing of our libraries.  We also believe strongly that the current 66% threshold in California for voter approval of library ballot measures is unnecessarily burdensome to communities, creating an unintended and unfortunate funding shortfall for library services in certain jurisdictions.  Thank you for identifying this opportunity to put a question before the public to amend the state’s Constitution and bring the threshold for passage of library funding measures in closer alignment with the will of a simple majority of voters.

EveryLibrary is the national organization dedicated to supporting local library ballot measures.  We understand clearly the challenges California libraries face from shortfalls and cuts to state funding for libraries.  Because of recent changes to budget priorities, California libraries are almost exclusively funded by local appropriations.  Federal resources are scarce, and private, foundation, and corporate support are often dedicated to special projects rather than baseline operations. As the funding burden has devolved more and more to local jurisdictions, EveryLibrary believes that a more reasonable mechanism for local consideration of taxing authority is also necessary. Passage of SCA 7 will allow a simple majority of California voters to decide on a Proposition to lower the threshold for passage of library tax measures.  We know that returning library measures to a threshold closer to a simple majority will allow for a more accurate expression of voter intent about local library taxes.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue and for your sponsorship.  We urge passage of SCA 7 by the State Senate and Assembly and look forward to a dialog about the importance of libraries to Californians when it comes before voters as a Proposition.

Best Regards,

John Chrastka
Executive Director


CC: Senator Leno; Assembly Member Williams

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