The pieces of legislation highlighted here were passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Engler. Trustees should familiarize themselves with the general provisions of these Public Acts as they make policy decisions and pursue funding for library operations.
Public Act 248 of 1999 (HB 4177) became effective on March 10, 2000. The act has amended the General Property Tax Act to require more information on the ballots proposing a millage increase. A ballot proposing a millage increase now must include all of the following: the millage rate proposed to be authorized; the estimated amount of the revenue that would be collected in the first year that the millage was authorized and levied; the duration of the millage in years; a clear statement of the purpose of the millage; and a clear statement indicating whether the millage is a renewal of a previously authorized millage or the authorization of a new, additional millage. Additional information is also required for bond proposals. Trustees will notice that former ballot language will no longer be sufficient to meet the new requirements. As always, legal counsel will be able to advise the trustees at the time ballot language is prepared.
Public Acts 93-98 of 2000 (HB 4927-4932) were signed by Governor Engler on May 15, 2000 with immediate effect. These acts amend various parts of the Vehicle Code to redirect fines for violations of various truck ordinances. The fines will be split with local municipalities where the violations are committed. Thirty percent (30%) of the fines will be deposited in the county library fund for distribution to public libraries along with other penal fines. Several years ago, some public libraries witnessed the loss of some penal fine revenues when local units of government were authorized to enact the Vehicle Code as local ordinances. These acts may cause an increase in penal fine distribution in selected counties around the state.
Public Act 99 of 2000 (SB 956) was signed by Governor Engler on May 19, 2000. The act amends the City, Village and Township Libraries Act, PA 164 of 1877. City council may, by ordinance, change the number of members on the library board to not less than 5 or more than 8. The term of office may be not less than 2 years or more than 5 years. Cities that experience a growth in population may wish to use this provision to effect better representation of the citizenry. It may be easier to find residents willing to serve on the library board if the term of office is less than 5 years. This act took effect on May 15, 2000.
Public Act 212 of 2000(SB 936) effective October 1, 2000, was signed by Governor Engler on June 26, 2000. This amendment to the Library Privacy Act requires local library boards to adopt and enforce a policy that restricts minors from Internet access to obscene or sexually explicit matter harmful to minors. The new section of the act requires filtering software or some system or method designed to prevent a minor from viewing objectionable material be used. Libraries established by community college districts, colleges or universities are exempt from this new requirement, as are private libraries open to the public.