Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 18, Number 32, September 11, 2015 →
Congress Returns From Recess
Congress returned from the August recess this week and faces difficult deadlines. Lawmakers have limited time to pass the remaining appropriations bills before the September 30th deadline and face the potential for another government shutdown on October 1st. Thus far Interior Appropriations bills have passed the full committee in the House and Senate. In the House, a scheduled floor vote on the Interior Appropriations bill was postponed at the last minute. Overall, the House has passed 6 of the 12 appropriations bills, while the Senate has yet to pass any appropriations bills. With only 12 legislative days in September, lawmakers will likely try to pass a short-term budget extension or continuing resolution to avoid another government shutdown. This essentially keeps funding levels the same as last year for a short period to keep the government open.
Congress also faces another deadline important to preservationists; the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) need to be reauthorized by September 30th. In the House, HPF reauthorization (H.R 2817) and LWCF reauthorization (H.R 1814) have been introduced and referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, but have yet to receive a hearing. Just before the August recess, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the Senate Energy Policy Modernization Act ( S. 2012), which included permanent reauthorization of the HPF and LWCF. LWCF reauthorization was also introduced as S. 338 in the Senate, but waits consideration in committee. Stand alone HPF reauthorization has yet to be introduced in the Senate. Preservation Action urges Congress to take quick action to reauthorize the HPF and LWCF in a timely manner, both of which are incredibly successful programs and enjoy bi-partisan support.
With multiple deadlines fast approaching and limited legislative days remaining, Congress will be very busy over the next several weeks.
As always, Preservation Action will be your voice on the Hill and will continue to bring you the very latest as the as these important deadlines approach!
PRISM Act Passes House Natural Resources Committee
The Preservation Research at Institutions Serving Minorities or PRISM Act (H.R 1541) passed the House Natural Resources Committee this week and now moves to the full House for consideration. The PRISM Act, which was introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) in March, would amend the National Historic Preservation Act to provide Hispanic Serving Institutions with access to a grant program that encourages students to engage in historic and cultural projects. Hispanic Serving Institutions refers to universities and colleges with at least 25% enrollment of Hispanic students. Similar grant programs are already available for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and non-tribal colleges with a high enrollment of Native Americans or Native Hawaiians.
The PRISM Act was among seven bills marked-up by the House Natural Resources Committee this week. During consideration, Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) offered an amendment that expands the bill to include Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander serving institutions to the list of eligible institutions. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote. Companion legislation in the Senate, awaits consideration by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Preservation Action praises the work of Rep. Grijalva in introducing this important legislation, and Rep. Bordallo for her amendment expanding the program to Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander serving institutions, creating a more inclusive program.
North Carolina Moves One Step Closer to Restoring Historic Tax Credits
In North Carolina, legislators are working out differences between the House and Senate state budget in conference committee. One of the differences to be decided is the restoration of North Carolina’s historic tax credit program. The committee is expected to release a draft of the state budget by September 18th. The North Carolina House voted overwhelmingly earlier in the year, to restore the historic tax credit program that sunset at the end of 2014. In the Senate, historic tax credit legislation has stalled, as Senate leaders have refused to bring it up for a vote. However, supporters of North Carolina’s historic tax credit have reasons to be optimistic; House leaders recently cited restoring the tax credit as their number one budget priority. In addition, a majority of lawmakers on the budget conference committee have expressed support for restoring historic tax credits.
After the conference committee releases their budget, the budget will need be approved by both the House and Senate before being signed by the Governor. North Carolina Governor, Pat McCrory has been a strong supporter of restoring the historic tax credit. He cited it as a priority in his state of the state address and continues to tout the program at rallies across the state. Preservation Action will continue to follow the tax credit issue in North Carolina over the coming weeks. If you haven’t already check out historictaxcredits.org and sign the petition to express your support for restoring the NC historic tax credit!
Save the Date!
“Party for Preservation: Craft Beer at the Brewmaster’s Castle”
Thursday, November 5, 2015 6-8pm. Preservation Action Fundraising Kickoff for Anniversary Advocacy Initiatives
Join us for an extraordinary evening at the famous Heurich House in the DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington D.C to support vital historic preservation advocacy and welcome Preservation Action’s new leadership, former Congressman Russ Carnahan and former Judge Debra Carnahan. The event will coincide with the National Preservation Conference held in Washington D.C Nov. 3-6. Please save the date and stay tuned for more information!
Washington Post: “Historic Preservation Doesn’t Have a Long History in the U.S.“
Stories From Around the States
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