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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Trust

Week Four of Legislative Session Roundup & Advocacy Day Update

This week, Florida Trust Board Members & preservation advocates met in Tallahassee for the

annual Florida Trust Legislative Day and Reception!

On Tuesday, March 28, the Florida Trust team spent hours walking the Capitol to advocate for the Florida Trust's 2023 legislative goals.

The day was full of meetings with Florida senators and representatives. The legislators, both Democrats and Republicans, enthusiastically discussed the Florida Trust's legislative aims and were receptive to our concerns.

Many of the legislators shared their own passions for Florida's history and their interest in preservation efforts within their own districts. The individual connections that our state lawmakers make to preservation are crucial for the protection and advancement of Florida's history and heritage.

Tying together Franklin County baked oysters and preservation!

Later that evening - and despite the rain! - the Florida Trust hosted its Annual Legislative Reception at the Florida Trust House. At the event Florida Trust's board members, preservationists and Florida law makers connected more personally while enjoying the tastes of Florida's most notable cuisines. Each menu item came from an area of Florida's unique culture, and also reflected historic preservation grants that - if funded - would protect historic places in that area.

The Florida Trust Advocacy team thanking SB 288 Sponsor Senator Nick DiCeglie. From top (left to right): James Lindberg, David Salay, Matthew Gultanoff, Daniel Ciraldo, Sarah Smith, Mackennah Tarmey, Yasmin Khan-Hohensee, Mark Tarmey, Mercedes Harrold, Melissa Wyllie, Laura Lee Corbett, Linda Stevenson, Sen. DiCeglie, Christine Dalton, Jenny Wolfe and Mark Zubaly

Thank you to our board members, preservation advocates and volunteers for their time and commitment to protecting Florida's history and heritage! Our advocacy day and reception would not have been possible without you! Also, a big thank you to other organizations from around the state that have helped us advocate this year; like 1000 Friends of Florida and the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, and to all of those in the Coalition for Florida's Historic Places. A special big thank you to James Lindberg, senior policy director at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for joining us in our conversations with lawmakers, and providing important context to the impact of state historic tax credits.


Protect Florida's Abandoned Cemeteries

On March 31, House Bill 49, Abandoned and Historic Cemeteries, moved favorably through its third committee hearing in the State Affairs Committee. Next, it will be placed on the House calendar to be voted on by the House of Representatives.

The legislation has had strong support from lawmakers at all its committee stops, and the Florida Trust appreciates and thanks all those who spoke in support and shared their stories.

“When I visit the graves of my parents, I see others that are just completely forgotten, and that is one of the saddest things. That somebody would be on this earth and have all the experiences, and then be forgotten. And then to have a whole cemetery forgotten, of people – faces, names, lives – is even worse,” said Rep. Michael Caruso, vice chair of the State Affairs Committee.

Rep. Caruso speaking in favor of HB 49

The companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 430, is waiting to be put on the Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development. Please reach out to Senator Ed Hooper, the committee chair, and ask him to put this bill on the agenda!


Creating a State Historic Tax Credit

Melissa Wyllie, Florida Trust CEO & President, and Jenny Wolfe, Board President, speaking with House Bill 499 Sponsor Representative Stark

House Bill 499, The Main Street Historic Tourism and Revitalization Act, was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee and is still currently awaiting action. On Tuesday, we met with the bill's sponsor, Representative Stark, to discuss the bill as well as its companion bill SB 288, which has been reported favorable by both the Senate Commerce and Tourism and Finance and Tax Committees.

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.


Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures

House Bill 1317, the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act, was voted on favorably at its second stop at the Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee. As part of our Advocacy Day, we met with bill sponsor Rep. Roach and shared our concerns for potential impacts for historic places throughout the state.

In the House, the bill is now referred to the Commerce Committee where it is waiting to be put on the agenda. We will continue working with our partners to seek amendments to the bill that will protect Florida's historic places.

The companion bill, Senate Bill 1346, passed its first committee stop Wednesday, March 22, at the Community Affairs Committee, by a vote of eight yeas and one nay. It is now waiting to be put on the Committee on Environmental and Natural Resource's agenda.


FY2024 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, to assist major archaeological excavations or research projects and to 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.

  3. Or,​ share this one-pager with information on preservation grants

Click here to view the preservation grant 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 the FY2024 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 Historic Preservation Grant list, 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.


Highlights From This Week

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