Orchestra Testifies Before Congress, and More Policy Updates

March 18, 2015

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President Urges U.S. Congress to Support FY16 NEA Funding

Washington, D.C. - Today Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President & CEO Melia Tourangeau testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to call for increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Speaking on behalf of both the orchestra and opera fields, Ms. Tourangeau described the local impact of federal arts funding, saying, "The NEA grants competitively awarded to our organization have inspired and enabled us to create unique an enduring works, generate new community partnerships, and boost the civic vitality of our community." Today's hearing marks the beginning of Congressional consideration of the NEA's FY16 funding level. NEA grants to more than 116 orchestras in the most recent funding cycle support arts education for children and adults, expand public access to performances, preserve great classical works, and nurture the creative endeavors of contemporary classical musicians, composers, and conductors. A webcast of the hearing is available on the House Appropriations Committee website, and the written testimony is posted online as well.

Speak Up for the NEA on Behalf of Your Orchestra

Friendlier Skies for Musicians

New rules requiring airlines to accept musical instruments on flights are now officially in effect!  As of March 6, airlines are required to comply with musical instrument rules enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Details on how these policy improvements came about and what they mean for traveling musicians are in "Friendlier Skies for Musicians," an article appearing in the spring issue of the League's SYMPHONY magazine. Major airlines continue to consider how to implement the new rules and are just beginning to train front-line flight crews and agents. See our up-to-date tips for how to navigate the new environment for air travel, and stay tuned! The League is working in partnership with the American Federation of Musicians and other national music organizations to craft ongoing guidance for traveling musicians.
 
Visit the League's Aviation Information Center

Extended Tax Debates Roll On

Despite a clear record of growing bipartisan support for immediately reinstating charitable giving incentives that expired last year, the fate of the IRA Charitable Rollover in 2015 remains uncertain. On February 12, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 279-137 in favor of reinstating and making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover and the tax deductibility of donations of food inventory and land conservation easements, all of which expired at the end of 2014. Whether the measure moves forward soon or languishes to face another short-term extension at year's end depends upon how motivated the Administration and Congressional leaders are to put aside partisan disagreements over paying for the measure. Orchestras continue to speak up, joining the broader nonprofit community to describe the urgent need to reactivate policies that result in new and increased charitable giving.
 
Tell Congress Why Charitable Giving Matters

Speak Up for Music Education

Hundreds of orchestra advocates across the U.S. have weighed in with Congress, asking policy leaders to address extreme inequities in access to arts education in our nation's schools. The Senate is drafting a fresh proposal to re-write the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and the House has suspended consideration of its bill - HR 5 - amid disagreements within House majority members about how to shape the federal government's role in public education.  This means the next few months present a great opportunity to make your voice heard as lawmakers consider big questions, like: How do we define core subjects of learning? What is the future of funding for afterschool and out of school learning time? What expectations should be set for states to publicly account for student access to arts education in schools? While the debates continue in D.C., your local schools and states are also making policy decisions that will impact the future of the arts in your community. Visit our Music Education policy center to learn how to stay engaged to support music education at home, and keep those letters coming to Congress!
 
Visit the League's Education Policy Information Center