Week 1: Florida’s Legislative Session 2024 Begins!

Despite challenging weather, the Florida Legislative Session began this Wednesday with each lawmaker receiving a Florida Trust coaster in their new offices. The coasters feature the skylight from the Historic Florida Capitol and remind us how close we came to losing that historic building to demolition. This story truly undermines the importance and value of historic preservation.

We’re kicking off the 2024 Florida Legislative Session with three strategic priorities aimed at safeguarding our state’s historic resources:

  1. Asking lawmakers to fully fund the FY25 Historic Preservation grant program
  2. Advocating for the creation of a Florida historic tax credit
  3. Seeking to amend the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act

And through it all we will be engaging with lawmakers to build recognition of the value of historic preservation in communities throughout the state. Stay engaged with preservation this Session through our live updates, weekly Advocacy Newsletters, advocacy webinars and more! Advocacy Newsletters are only sent to those on on the Advocacy Distribution list. Let us know if you’d like to be on the list. You can make a difference!

Bok Tower, one of the sites that received Special Category Grant Funds during FY2024.

1. Fully Fund the FY2025 Historic Preservation Special Category Grant List

We support the full funding of the FY2025 Historic Preservation Special Category Grant list.

The Florida’s Division of Historical Resources Historic Preservation Grant program is crucial in safeguarding our historic sites, fostering community resilience and bolstering local economies. These grants are instrumental in supporting significant local, regional and statewide initiatives aimed at preserving historic and archaeological treasures, aiding major archaeological research endeavors and facilitating the development of noteworthy museum exhibits that illuminate Florida’s rich history. The Florida Historical Commission meticulously evaluates and ranks Special Category grants to compile the annual list, which is then reviewed and approved by the Florida Secretary of State before being submitted to the legislature for funding. Explore the grant list for more details.

2. Establish a Florida Historic Tax Credit

We advocate for the establishment of a state historic tax credit in Florida.

State historic tax credits have a proven track record of rejuvenating historical sites and fostering economic development, and a Florida historic tax credit would become a crucial preservation tool for our state.

The Legislative Session has just begun, and we’re already on track: Senator DiCeglie and Representative Barnaby filed Senate Bill 1166 and House Bill 1183, respectively, marking a pivotal first step toward implementing the tax credit.

The bills introduce the Main Street Historical Tourism and Revitalization Act, aiming to establish a state tax credit to revitalize Florida Main Street communities, promote heritage tourism, generate well-paying jobs and revive vacant or underused historic structures.

Should this legislation pass, Florida will join 37 other states in offering this valuable incentive to restore historic buildings, stimulate private investment and bolster local economies. It’s well-documented that a state historic tax credit attracts more federal investment into rehabilitation projects and enhances community resilience.

The proposed credit would cover up to 20 percent of eligible costs for renovating a certified historic structure. Additionally, the Main Street Historical Tourism and Revitalization Act proposes a 30 percent tax credit for eligible costs within the official boundaries on an active, certified Florida Main Street community.

3. Amend the Safe Structures and Revitalization Act

Miami Beach’s National Register Historic Districts could be severly impacted without a bill amendment. Photo: Miami Design Preservation League

The Resiliency and Safe Structures Act, which aims to address issues related to property owners and developers dealing with non-conforming or unsafe structures, has been reintroduced by Representative Roach (House Bill 1647) and Senator Avila (Senate Bill 1526). The Florida Trust plans to engage with stakeholders to amend bill language so it not only keeps communities safe, but also retains historic character vital to our communities.

The potential consequences for historic resources in Florida are substantial. The Florida Trust expresses concern that, as written, the bill may create missed opportunities for demolition mitigation. Demolition could negatively affect tourism, Main Street vitality and business development.

Stay tuned for updates on our advocacy efforts as the bill progresses through the legislative process. Don’t forget to sign up for our advocacy newsletter to receive weekly briefings during Session!

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