Week Eight of Florida's Legislative Session
Updated: May 5
The countdown for the Florida Legislature has begun, there is only one more week of regular session left!
The FY2024 Historic Preservation Special Category Grant List
is fully funded!
The Florida Constitution requires the Legislature to develop and pass an annual state budget, the General Appropriations Act (SB S2502/HB 5003). Throughout session, the Florida Senate and House work individually to create a budget proposal. Near the end of each legislative session, Joint Budget Conference Committees are formed to negotiate the differences between the House and Senates proposed budget bills. Issues that cannot be agreed upon by each chamber's committees are sent to the House and Senate Appropriation Committee chairs who continue to negotiate the budget. Once agreed upon, the budget is filed as the "Conference Committee Report" to be approved by the governor.
The current proposed budget fully funds the FY2024 Historic Preservation Special Category Grants! Both the Senate and House proposed budgets provide full funding to the Florida Division of Historic Resources Historic Preservation Grant Program. The final step is for the governor to approve the finalized proposed budget.
We are thrilled that the legislature fully funded the grants for a second year and we hope this trend continues. These grants will 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. Thank you to all of those who helped advocate for funding these important grants!
Check out our FY2024 Historic Preservation Special Category Grant booklet and explore the 33 statewide projects that will receive funding.
Abandoned and Historic Cemeteries Bill Nears the Finish Line!
This week, Senate Bill 430, unanimously passed its last committee stop at the Senate Appropriations Committee! Appropriations committee member Senator Ingoglia expressed concern about how abandoned cemeteries should be dealt with when found under private property and covered by new construction. The bill's sponsor, Senator Bobby Powell explained that the concern is not a characteristic of the bill as the legislation is intended to facilitate research towards abandoned and neglected cemeteries, rather than to reclaim or infringe on property interests. Despite his concern, Senator Ingoglia voted in favor of the bill and said the following,
"The thought that someone could bulldozer over our history to the point where it’s hard to locate that history is sad. Having said that, when we eventually find an abandoned cemetery, we must contemplate what that process is going to look like. This (legislation) is a great first step."
After its success in the Appropriations committee, Senate Bill 430 was placed on the calendar to receive its second reading. In the House, its companion bill, House Bill 49, unanimously passed its third reading on the House floor and is waiting for its companion bill in the senate. Please join us in sharing a huge thank you to House Sponsor Fentrice Driskell and Senate Sponsor Bobby Powell!
Inching Closer Towards Implementing a Florida Historic Tax Credit
In addition to the Abandoned and Historic Cemeteries bill, on April 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted on a piece of legislation that would establish a historic tax credit in Florida. The Senate Taxation bill, SB 7062, was reported favorable by the committee! To read more about the $1.2 billion Senate Tax Package and its inclusion of the Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act, click here.
It is important that we keep this momentum going, 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.
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
The Resiliency and Safe Structures Act
The battle to protect Florida's historic commercial and coastal areas continues. On Friday April 28, SB 1346 was read for the third and final time. Prior to the reading, Senator Avila proposed a strike- all amendment that adds a variety of exemptions to the bill including: structures within a municipality that has a total population of less than 10,000 as of 2020 and structures located in a municipality within where there at least three buildings that were in existence on February 22, 1821. None of the exemptions pertain to Miami Beach or other south Florida coastal communities. The amendment was adopted and the bill was reported favorably.
This week, HB 1317 headed to the House Floor and received its first reading. The house bill was added to the House's Daily Calendar to be read for a second time on Friday, April 28. Per Rule 10.18, after the 55th day of a regular session (April 30), no House bills on second reading may be taken up and considered by the House.
If approved, these bills will threaten some of Florida's and the nation's most historic coastal communities, including Key West, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, and Pensacola. Florida's historic districts are irreplaceable architectural, historical, and community treasures. Private property owners have invested in the rehabilitation of historic buildings in these districts and helped revitalize local economies. For decades, preservation organizations, commission members, architects, developers, and city staff have helped plan and implement successful developmental projects in historic districts.
Unless amended to exempt local historic landmarks, districts, and National Register of Historic Places districts, the Florida Trust joins preservation partners in opposing House Bill 1317 and Senate Bill 1346, which will imperil the proven success of Florida's coastal historic districts.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is the latest organization to share its concern about two bills pending in the Florida legislature, HB 1317 and SB 1346.
"If passed as written, these bills could lead to demolition of historic structures and construction of oversized and inappropriate replacement buildings in Florida’s coastal historic districts, including treasured areas of Key West, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, and Pensacola."
Please take a moment and urge your state legislators to protect Florida’s coastal historic districts! Here's an easy way to reach out. On April 26, the Miami-Herald published an article, "As Florida Legislature looks to gut historic preservation, Ocean Drive demolition possible," that further discusses the implications of these bills. Click here to read the article.
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!