Advocacy Alert: Aug. 31

Congress Heads Back to Capitol Hill with Plenty of Work Left to Do

Members of Congress had an especially long summer recess this year, which was no doubt filled with constituent meetings, town halls, political conventions, and maybe even some actual relaxation. Many legislators also made time to participate in the fifth annual field-wide “Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week.” Thank you to all the museums that have joined this effort!
 
Next week, legislators head back to Capitol Hill with a full to-do list for the fall, which could include action on criminal justice reform, school nutrition programs, Zika virus response, and passing a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open. While Congress has not yet enacted any of the 12 annual appropriations bills into law, the House and Senate have each completed some work on their Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding proposals.
 
See how the FY 2017 bills compare to FY 2016 current funding for some programs impacting museums:
 
 Agency/Program  FY 2016 Current  FY 2017 House  FY 2017 Senate
 IMLS Office of Museum Services  $31.3 million  $31.3 million  $31.9 million
 National Endowment for the Humanities  $147.9 million  $149.8 million  $148.4 million
 National Endowment for the Arts  $147.9 million  $149.8 million  $148.4 million
 NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning  $62.5 million  TBD  $62.5 million
 Smithsonian Institution  $840 million  $863 million  $860 million
 State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices  $56.9 million  $58.9 million  $57.9 million
 Civil Rights Movement sites  $8 million  $11 million  $10 million
 Save America’s Treasures  unfunded  $5 million  unfunded
 National Park Service Operations  $2.370 billion  $2.435 billion  $2.406 billion
 
Considering that the total allowable funding for FY 2017 domestic spending is essentially frozen at current levels, the numerous small increases for museum-related programs are an encouraging start. However, none of these totals have been finalized and could all be altered significantly in year-end negotiations. Do your legislators know where you stand on issues affecting museums? Tell them today.

New Overtime Regulations Effective December 1

As the Alliance has reported previously, new federal overtime regulations go into effect on December 1, with the potential for significant impact on museums and those who work with them. Though legislation has been introduced in Congress to change these regulations, it is unlikely to gather the support necessary to override an expected presidential veto. Our partners at the National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector have compiled helpful resources to assist nonprofits in preparing for these new requirements.