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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Trust

Florida Legislative Session Week Seven: Advocacy Update

With the May 5 Sine Die just two weeks away, now is the time

for a final push for preservation-friendly advocacy efforts



Advocating for Full Funding of the Historic Preservation Special Category Grant List

Check out our FY2024 Historic Preservation Special Category Grant booklet and explore the 33 statewide projects requesting grant funding.


The Florida Division of Historic Resources Historic Preservation Grant Program provides funding to preserve significant historic and archaeological resources, assist major archaeological excavations or research projects, and assist in the development and fabrication of major museum exhibits that will promote knowledge and appreciation of the history of Florida.


Showing your support for Florida's historic places is easy! Simply reach out to your representatives and share with them how important providing for Florida's history is to you.

  1. Call or email your state representative and senator. Find their contact information here.

  2. If you'd like, copy and paste the preservation grant messaging and ask below.

Click here to view sample messaging and ask to send your state representative.

Florida's historic preservation grant program gives Florida's historic places a future. I am asking you to please support historic places in your community, and statewide, by fully funding theFY2024 Historic Preservation Special Category Grant list.


Over 137 years ago, a Resilient Little Red Schoolhouse was the first oasis of education in southeast Florida and needs help in preserving its educational legacy. A 132-year-old Opera House in Monticello needs structural support to stay standing. Both of these places are on the FY2024 Special Category HistoricPreservation Grantlist, which, if funded, could provide a future for 33 important pieces of Florida's unique history.


Last year, the FY2023 Special Category Historic Preservation Grant list was fully funded and many important pieces of Florida's unique history were finally prioritized and protected. This year, we are asking that funding continues to assist in reviving Florida's most vulnerable places.


​The Florida Division of Historical Resources Historic Preservation Grant program is one of the most significant ways the state protects our irreplaceable historic places, strengthens communities and supports local economies. The purpose of these grants is to provide funding to assist major local, regional and statewide efforts to preserve significant historic and archaeological resources, to assist major archaeological excavations or research projects, and assist in the development and fabrication of major museum exhibits that will promote knowledge and appreciation of the history of Florida.


The Florida Historical Commission reviews and ranks Special Category grants to create the annual list, which is then approved by the Florida Secretary of State before being sent to the legislature to determine funding. ​This year, fully fund the Historic Preservation Special Category Grant list, and give Florida's historic places a future.

 
Act Now: Advocate to Protect Preservation in Coastal Communities

Take action now! Florida is considering legislation that would remove demolition review for historic districts and Main Streets in any flood zone in Florida.

Although the name of the legislation has changed, the concerns for the far-ranging impact of proposed legislation remains. Since the beginning of Session, the Florida Trust team has worked with stakeholders and partners from around the state to seek amendments to House Bill 1317 and Senate Bill 1346, now named the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act.


There are two major concerns with this bill. First, the bill prohibits demolition review of certain historic structures. Second, the legislation restricts communities' ability to provide feedback on new structures built to replace those demolished.


Currently, this legislation would remove demolition review for historic districts and Main Streets in any flood zone in Florida. Demolition review is essential for multiple reasons: to allow the community an opportunity to determine a solution for saving important historic buildings, to provide time to seek flood solutions that work – and could save – a historic building and if preservation is not possible, a demolition review provides an opportunity to research and document a building’s history before it is lost forever. In addition to removing demolition review, the proposed legislation would remove impacted communities' ability to provide feedback on new structures built to replace those demolished.


This week, HB 1317 favorably passed the House Commerce Committee and is now headed to the House Floor. Similarly, SB 1346 favorably passed the Senate Rules Committee on April 19. Discussed at that meeting was an amendment filed by Senator Shevrin Jones which would address concerns raised by the Florida Trust and many other Florida preservationists. While the amendment was not accepted by the bill sponsor, it allowed an important opportunity to discuss concerns, and will hopefully lead to further conversations that could amend the bill and help protect Florida's historic places. Thank you Senator Jones! You can send him a thank you message here: jones.shevrin.web@flsenate.gov.

Also this week, the Florida Trust participated in a webinar hosted by the Miami Design Preservation League to discuss the state legislative session as it relates to historic preservation bills. Preservationists from around the state logged in to the event, and the webinar was a wonderful opportunity for stakeholders to connect on these issues, with a particular focus on SB 1346 / HB 1317.


How you can take action:

Call or email your lawmakers today and ask for amendments to SB 1346 / HB 1317 to allow for exemptions to this no-review-demolition rule for National Register of Historic Places Districts, locally designated historic landmarks and districts and buildings in Florida Main Streets. Find your state representative and senator's contact information here: http://ow.ly/eVAy50NHFHx.


 
Good News! Abandoned and Historic Cemeteries Bill Continues to Move Forward!

Legislation has moved forward that would create the Historic Cemeteries Program within the Division of Historical Resources and provide communities throughout the state with resources for abandoned and forgotten cemeteries.


Senate Bill 430, was reported favorably in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. It will be heard next week, on April 25, in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Please reach out to any member of the committee and share with them the importance of this legislation. In the House, its companion bill, House Bill 49, unanimously passed its third reading on the House floor. This is great news!


Please join me in sharing a huge thank you to House Sponsor Fentrice Driskell and Senate Sponsor Bobby Powell!


 
Taking Important Steps Towards Creating a Florida Historic Tax Credit

This week legislation that would establish a historic tax credit in Florida was reported favorable as part of the Senate Taxation bill by the Senate Finance and Tax Committee (SB 7062). Next up it will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tues., April 25, 2023, at 10 a.m. Please share your support of the Senate Taxation Bill with Chair Doug Broxson.


Please reach out to your local lawmakers, or any you may know, and encourage them to support this bill. The more interest and support it receives from other lawmakers, the more likely it is for a State Historic Tax Credit to be passed. You can find your lawmakers here.

 
Help us Fight for a Florida State Historic Tax Credit by Joining the Florida Tax Credit Alliance!

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation seeks to support historic preservation in communities throughout the state in a way that is scalable, supports communities and protects our invaluable historic assets. Our state has a challenge in accomplishing this work. Currently, Florida is the only state among our neighbors without a state historic tax credit. We want to incentivize preservation-friendly restoration and rehabilitation projects – especially in our Main Streets and underserved rural corridor – and we need your help making that possible.


The Florida Historic Tax Credit Alliance consists of key leaders that help to make a statewide tax credit in Florida a reality. We invite you to join us in this alliance, made up of varying industries, but all with a common goal to preserve our state’s historic resources by making these restoration and preservation projects more accessible within our communities.


We are looking for new members of this alliance to help make a Florida Historic Tax Credit possible. We have set apart three distinguished professional membership levels of $2,000, $5,000 and $10,000 to help support our advocacy efforts in 2023 and into the future.


We hope you will join us in the work ahead – creating a state historic tax credit in Florida and working to protect our history.


Your membership is so important to our work. With a membership with the Florida Trust at any of the above levels, you join our Florida Historic Tax Credit Alliance. We recognize your membership with a thoughtful and intentional array of benefits and privileges, including:


  • Discounted advertising rates in Florida Trust publications

  • Invitations to all Florida Trust events and programs, including the Florida Preservation Conference, events and educational workshops

  • A featured story on your business in the Florida Preservationist Magazine

  • Listing in Florida Preservation Partners online business directory

  • Subscription to the monthly e-newsletter

  • Subscription to our bi-annual Florida Preservationist Magazine


  • All of the above amenities, in addition to:

  • Special membership discounts at Florida Trust events

  • Updates on legislative action that affects historic preservation in Florida as it is taking place

  • Invitation to exclusive Special Legislative Reception and related events


  • All of the above amenities, in addition to:

  • Opportunity for special logo inclusion on legislative update emails and correspondence


 



Read more about Florida Trust legislative initiatives in 2023, learn what the proposed historic tax credit can do for your community and join the Florida Trust!
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