Endowment Challenge Legislation Passes House

(Stock Photo).
(Stock Photo).

The director of the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library has been keeping an eye on legislation that would affect the state library system. Sheridan Media’s Hannah Stepenoff spoke with him and has the story.

Legislation that proposes a change in the matching structure of Wyoming Public Library Endowment Challenge has recently passed its third reading in the Wyoming House of Representatives during the current legislative session. The bill is being co-sponsored by Rep. Rosie Berger, of Big Horn, and Sen. Bruce Burns, of Sheridan.

The challenge, which originally passed as legislation in 2008, outlined an incentive structure to distribute an $18 million state library endowment fund among all 23 county libraries through a matching system. Each library is tasked to raise a certain amount of funds to receive a match from the endowment in return. The counties are divided into three categories by their specific valuation to determine matching funds they will receive from the state, if they reach their goal.

Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library Director Cameron Duff said the bill, HB76, would allow libraries that have already met their goals to “pledge” their own funds to help other counties. Though, he said, no money will actually leave the county who pledges the funds.The challenge is set to expire in 2016, he said, but an amendment to the bill, if passed, would allow the state to extend that deadline to 2020.

He said Sheridan County has already met its goal of around $350,000 raised, and is a 2-to-1 county, meaning for every dollar the county raised, the state matched $2. Only three other counties have made their fundraising goals and have subsequently received matching funds, he said, but many are close.

According to Duff, who visited Cheyenne recently to check on the legislation, the bill still has a way to go.

We will keep you updated on the legislation as it works its way through the Senate.


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