The Budget Bill (HB 76) was passed by both houses, but with some differences between them. A Conference Committee os 3 Senators and 3 Representatives was set up to work through the differences. The Senate Bill included an additional $300,000 for the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA). The House bill included only the Governor's request of $603,000 for GCA. We sent nearly 800 messages to the Conference Committee in support of increased arts funding!
LATEST NEWS: On Tuesday night (March 31), the new Budget Bill was passed by both houses of the state legislature. The bill included the $300,000 increase for the GCA, for a total allocation of $900,000 - this is a 50% increase!! [-] less
It is a crucial time in Washington for arts education. The Every Child Achieves Act, the bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was recently passed through the Senate education committee by a unanimous vote. The long-awaited and bipartisan bill will soon be considered on the Senate floor.
Coming off the heels of Arts Advocacy Day on March 23-24, arts advocates know the Senate has been keeping this work close at hand, while embarking on series of hearings to help inform the drafting of the bill-including this one (at left) in February, taking witness testimony on role of innovation. The bill passed through the Senate education committee markup during which 29 amendments out of the proposed 60 were adopted.
The bill was negotiated by two new key committee leaders: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking member.
The good news is that the most critical concern we've had is addressed in the legislation - it still retains a definition of "core academic subjects," which include the arts and adds music, and helps to enable additional policy support in the legislation. The Federal after-school program was not included in the draft bill, but was fortunately added into the legislation during the Senate education committee's markup. However, the key Arts In Education program at the U.S. Department of Education is not mentioned.
There are a number of direct ways your senators can help ensure the arts are taught in school and accessible to every child, but they need to hear from you.
We urge you to take two minutes now to write to your senators to make sure they remember that the arts are essential and a part of a complete education. We've prepared a customizable message that you can send directly to their office.
Thank you for your support of the arts.
Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member, play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today-it's free and easy to join.
Let us know if you have questions. Email us at email@example.com, write us on our Facebook page, give us a call, or visit us on our Encourage Creativity page. We will also continue to keep you updated on the progress of this comprehensive legislation. As you recall, the House released their bill and debated it on the House floor in February, but hasn't voted on it yet. Its committee chairman, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), has stated a vote could also occur in the coming weeks. [-] less
Earlier this week, Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch sent letters of congratulations to each new member stating, "Our country is facing many fiscal and social challenges and a dizzying array of legislative to-do lists, ranging from reauthorizing the expired Elementary and Secondary Education Act to challenging telecommunications reform and far-reaching tax policy reform impacting charitable giving, among other issues and changes in store. You chose to serve at a critical time. I want to assure you that the nonprofit arts community stands ready to help you meet these challenges."
Please join our CEO and take a few minutes to write your new Member of Congress to urge them to join the Congressional Arts Caucus, the Congressional STEAM Caucus, or the Senate Cultural Caucus and support the arts. Will you write to them today? [-] less
As Congress and the President struggled with addressing federal budget deficits, the deduction has been discussed as one possible way to increase revenue by either capping the value of the deduction to the taxpayer, reforming it or by elimination of the benefit.
Tax reform continues to be one of the issues that Congress is working on this year. Please take the opportunity to urge your member of Congress to preserve charitable incentives.
For further information on the arts and tax reform, please refer to our Issue Brief in the Congressional Arts Handbook. [-] less