Proposed Changes to Discus

The South Carolina House of Representatives members have rejected the Senate’s version of the budget for the South Carolina State Library, and have submitted an amendment to control the type of materials that are purchased for DISCUS, this means that the budget will go to a conference committee for discussion. Differences in recommendations will now be decided by the budget conference committee: 3 appointed House of Representatives members and 3 appointed Senate members. The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee are always members of the budget conference committee. 

Earlier in the session (March, 2016) House of Representative member, Leon Stravinakis put forth a proviso (section 27, amendment #9) dictating specific requirements for Discus, mandating the use of Wikipedia instead of Discus, and the reduction of Discus resources.

 "The State Library is prohibited from using appropriated funds to license reference products where the same information is easily found in free online products such as Wikipedia and shall not license databases of articles from mainstream newspapers and magazines since these can almost always be accessed free online and are easily discovered through Internet search engines such as Google, etc.”  

A link to the complete proviso is provided below along with the South Carolina State Library’s rebuttal. That proviso was deleted. However, the amendment to the Senate’s version of the budget was introduced last week and includes limiting the type of videos that can be purchased, which in effect would mean that fewer videos could be included in Discus. The amendment also dictates the design and functioning of Discus, and limits the content of Discus. 

“No purchased State Library online database may contain more than 20% of content (primary source document or index information) that is available for free on the internet.” 

The complete amendment is also included in the link along with additional information from the South Carolina State Library.

The Senate version of the budget does not include any language regarding Discus, allowing the South Carolina State Library to continue to provide Discus resources in the current format, and to make updates and upgrades as appropriate. We obviously do not want to limit the resources available in Discus to schools, teachers, students, libraries, parents, and citizens. Concerned people should begin communicating today with members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  Encourage and request their active support of the Senate version for the South Carolina State Library’s budget.

In order for an item to be adopted by the budget conference committee it requires 2 out of 3 votes from each side, 2 House conferee votes and 2 Senate conferee votes. It is critical that members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives be contacted today in order to secure their agreement to support the Senate version of the State Library’s budget. If you are unable to speak with them directly, please leave a detailed message explaining why you are calling, your concerns and that you would like a return call.  

The House of Representatives have appointed the following members to serve on the budget conference committee:  

Representative Brian White, Chairman House Ways & Means Committee; (R) District 6, Anderson 
Columbia Address: 525 Blatt Bldg., Columbia, SC 29201   
Business Phone: (803) 734-3144 or (803) 260-4025
Home Address: Po Box 970, Anderson, SC 29622

Representative Bill Herbkersman, Sub-committee Chairman; (R) District 118, Beaufort
Columbia Address: 308B Blatt Bldg., Columbia, SC 29201
Business Phone:(803) 734-3063; (843) 757-7900 or (843) 757-5424
Home Address: 896 May River Road, Bluffton, SC 29910-5833

Representative Lonnie Hosey, (D) District 91, Barnwell
Columbia Address: 404B Blatt Bldg., Columbia, SC 29201
Business Phone: (803) 734-2829 or (803) 259-1178
Home Address: Po Box 423, Barnwell, SC 29812

The Senate has appointed the following members to serve on the budget conference committee:

Senator Hugh Leatherman, Sub-Committee Chair; (R) District 31, Florence
Columbia Address: 111 Gressette Bldg., Columbia, SC 29201
Business Phone: (803)212-6640 or (843) 662-0388
Home Address: PO Box 1817 Pineland Ave, Florence, SC 29501

Senator Vincent Sheheen, (D), District 27, Kershaw
Columbia Address: 504 Gressette Bldg., Columbia, SC 29201
Business Phone: (803)212-6032 or (803) 432-4391
Home Address: PO Drawer 10, Camden, SC 29021

Senator Tom Davis, (R), District 46, Beaufort
Columbia Address: 602 Gressette Bldg., Columbia, SC 29201
Business Phone: (803) 212-6008 or (843) 252-8583
Home Address: PO Drawer 1107, Beaufort, SC 29901

For a full list of House of Representatives and Senate members with their contact information go to:  Members will be back in Columbia today and will begin meeting in the next day. Thank you in advance for your support.

Leesa M. Aiken

South Carolina State Library
803-734-8668 office / 803-338-0861 cell