Legislative Alerts

The Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation (ATHP) monitors federal and state public policies and legislative concerns that impact preservation both negatively and positively. For current legislation pending at the federal and state levels please read on.

Federal Legislation

Bill: H.R. 7 - American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act
Status: Pending

Synopsis
Historic preservation is under fire in the U. S. House of Representatives. This week, it is expected that the House of Representatives will consider its transportation reauthorization bill - the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7). This bill puts preservation on the chopping block with a provision that eliminates historic preservation activities from eligibility within the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program, one of the most successful preservation programs in existence. The TE program has helped restore historic bridges and depots, reuse railroad corridors and revitalize historic downtowns nationwide. Elimination of these uses under TE would threaten important projects that create jobs and improve communities' quality of life.

Information

  • For National Trust for Historic Preservation position, please click here.
  • For projects impacted by passage of H.R. 7, please click here.

Action

  • Contact your member of Congress, ask them to support the Petri/Blumenauer Amendment which will keep historic preservation uses eligible in the Transportation Enhancements program by clicking here.
  • For example of letter to send to Senators Sessions and/or Shelby, click here.

State Legislation

HB140, a bill to provide state income tax credits for the rehabilitation, preservation, and development of historic structures, is on the Alabama House special order calendar for Tuesday, April 2. Please contact your local representatives via telephone or email to encourage them to vote "Yes" on HB140.

Template email to Representatives and instructions: Click Here.

Template letter to editor: Click Here.

Copy of HB140: Click Here.

Statement on the economic impact of historic preservation: Click Here.


Bill:

H.B. 54 - Underwater Cultural Resources Recovery Act
Status: Died - Did not come up for a vote

S.B. 81- Underwater Cultural Resources Recovery Act
Status: Died - Did not come up for a vote

COMMENTS ON H.B. 54-81 - click here.

URGENT
The Rules Committee will meet April 4. Please call the Senators on this committee and leave a message with their secretary stating your name, where you live, that you oppose HB54, and that you ask them to please vote "NO" on HB54. For the contact list, click here.

Synopsis
Pending before Alabama senate is bill SB 81 - The Underwater Cultural Resources Recovery bill. If passed, this bill will amend the current Underwater Cultural Resources Recovery Act of 2006 by redefining cultural resources as artifacts found at identified shipwrecks only. This change in definition will make lawful the removal of cultural artifacts (Civil War rifles, Native American pottery and other artifacts, etc.) from public waterways by private entities without prior approval and permit by the Alabama Historical Commission.

The current Underwater Cultural Resources Recovery Act 2006 allows for permitted removal in order to ensure those doing underwater excavations know the correct processes for preserving historic artifacts. Also under current law, artifacts removed from Alabama's public waterways are the property of the State of Alabama. Note: Cultural resources recovered from privately owned land or waterways are the property of the owner of the land or water. HB 54, which passed, and SB 51 allows recovery of artifacts for private ownership held in personal collections and/or commercial purposes, such as selling the items to a third party.

By unanimous vote of the board of directors, January 20, 2012, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation opposed the passage of HB 54 and SB 81.

Information

  • HB:54: Alabama Cultural Resources Underwater Recovery Act with Amendments, click here.
  • According to the National Park Service, every state in the Union requires, prior to the excavation of submerged archaeological sites and resources located on state property, a permit from a state agency or board. In most cases, states explicitly claim title to any and all recovered materials. For details, visit here.
  • To view amendments to HB54 - Click here for Amendment One - Click here for Amendment Two
  • To view SB 81, click here.
  • For ATHP position letter, click here.
  • From reality television, pop culture sees scavenging for historical artifacts as entertainment. For more information, click here.

Action

  • For Op-Ed piece for local news media, click here.
  • For Talking Points, click here.
  • To contact the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and urge them to have a public hearing on SB 81, click here.

Three bills that can provide incentives benefiting the development of historic city centers are now making their way through the Alabama Legislature.

Bill:

HB 271 - Historic Rehabilitation and Preservation Tax Credit Act
Status: Pending - Alabama House Ways and Means Education Committee

HB 271 came before the committee on Wednesday, Feb 29.

Synopsis
A Historic Rehabilitation and Preservation Tax Credit Act to apply to Class 1, 2 and 3 municipalities in a downtown core area, central business district or registered historic district and would authorize a state income tax credit for the rehabilitation and redevelopment of certain historic structures. This bill will mirror the existing Federal Income Tax Credit statute.

House Bill 271 will stimulate private investment in renovation of older buildings and historic structures in Birmingham and Alabama's other major cities. This bill would authorize a 10 percent tax credit for renovation of buildings built before 1939, which will benefit Birmingham's older neighborhoods. The bill will also provide a 25 percent tax credit for renovation of owner-occupied homes and businesses in Birmingham's numerous historic districts, as well as individually designated historic strucutres.

Information

  • For copy of HB 271, click here.
  • For HB 271 Position Paper, click here.
  • Analysis of Historic District Tax Credits, click here.
  • For Talking Points about Preservation and Economic Impact, click here.
  • For example of op-ed piece, click here.
  • Historic Huntsville Foundation Position on Tax Credits Promoting Preservation, click here.

Action

  • To let Committee Chair Jay Love know you support this bill, email jlove32376@aol.com.
  • To let your legislator know you support this bill, click here.
Bill:

HB 257 - Alabama New Markets Development Act
Status: Pending

Synopsis
An Alabama New Markets Development Act will establish an income tax credit for businesses or persons for investments in businesses in low income communities. The eligible investment area should be defined to mirror the Federal New Markets Tax Credit geography. The Business Council of Alabama supports passage of HB 257.

House Bill 257, the New Markets Development Act, also has potential to create jobs and attract private investment in Birmingham and other major cities. This bill, which provides tax credits for investment in low-income communities, could be combined with federal New Market Tax Credits to provide powerful incentives for major projects.

Information

  • For copy of HB 257 Bill, click here.
  • For copy of HB 257 Position Paper, click here.
  • Analysis of New Market Tax Credits, click here.
  • For example of op-ed piece, click here.
  • Historic Huntsville Foundation Position on Tax Credits Promoting Preservation, click here.

Action

  • To contact your legislator or senator and voice your support, click here for contact information.
Bill:

HB 142 - Cultural Districts Sales Tax Exemption Act
Status: Pending

Synopsis
If passed, the Cultural Districts Sales Tax Exemption Act would provide a sales tax exemption for works of art produced and sold by artists who live and work in a cultural district.

Cultural districts in cities and towns would be encouraged by House Bill 142. Districts would be designated by the Alabama Council on the Arts in cooperation with city governments. The work of artists who live and work in these districts would be exempt from sales taxes.

Information

  • For Cultural District Tax Credit Position Paper, click here.
  • Analysis of Cultural District Tax Credit Legislation, click here.
  • For example of op-ed piece, click here.
  • Historic Huntsville Foundation Position on Tax Credits Promoting Preservation, click here.

Action

  • To contact your state representative and voice support for HB 142, click here for contact information for your legislator or senator.