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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Trust

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Good News on SB 1146 & SB284, African-American cemeteries and St. John's County

Recognizing the adoption of House Resolution 8081 marking the 200th Anniversary of St. Johns County with Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Rep. Cyndi Stevenson

Good news! Senate Bill 1146, with alarming language about administrative demolition permits for residential buildings in hazard zones, was heard on the Senate floor last night. Without debate, the sponsor proposed that the companion House bill (HB401) be substituted for the Senate’s bill. This companion House bill is the version with language the Florida Trust worked to include to protect the work of preservation in the state. It does not contain the same language regarding demolitions as SB 1146, and swiftly resolved concerns that historic preservation ordinances for demolition review were being preempted by state legislation.

In a subsequent amendment, the co-sponsor proposed the language from Senate Bill 284, the Building Design Bill we were previously tracking, be added to the same bill which was similarly adopted. Because of our previous efforts and the support of our constituents, historic buildings and districts, community redevelopment areas and areas subject to architectural review are exempted from the regulations.

We are grateful for the Senate’s recognition of the positive benefits of historic preservation and design review processes taking place at the local level. The session is not over, and we will continue to alert you of any wins or threats that may affect Florida’s historic communities during the remaining weeks.

Also, the House passed HB 37 an abandoned cemeteries bill that would create an African-American cemetery task force. Companion legislation SB 222 continues to work through the committee process.

Finally, yesterday the Florida Trust joined St. Johns County Representative Cyndi Stevenson and preservationists from St. Johns County in recognizing the adoption of House Resolution 8081. The resolution recognizes the 200 anniversary of St. John’s County and sets July 21, 2021, as the official date of the anniversary.

Let us know how we can help you connect with your legislators or ask us questions about these bills.

Want to follow the legislative process more closely?

1. Know your legislators! You can find your Florida House representative and Florida Senator by typing your address in this website. On the return page you will see your Florida Senator and a link to your Florida Representative as well as links to your legislators in the U.S. House and Senate.

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3. Work with your Regional Councils! Being a part of your Florida Trust Regional Council is a great way to connect on legislative actions happening locally and at the state level that impact historic preservation. Find your region.

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