OAC Govt. Affairs Committee Report to Members, September 29, 2017
Al Tonetti, Chair
Ohio Assoc. of Nonprofit Organizations: We are participating in monthly legislative call updates. As a membership benefit, we spoke with an attorney about the Board’s electronic meeting and voting procedures. They need to be revised again to comply with Ohio law. We are drafting a related amendment to the Code of Regulations that members will vote on before or at the spring membership meeting. This does not apply to Committee business because Committee work is advisory to the Board, which has the corporate/legal authority. Also, OANO is monitoring Congress’ tax revision proposals for impacts to non-profit organizations.
Call Before You Dig/Ohio Utility Protection Service: Al continues to attend monthly OUPS meetings. The Public Utilities Commission is not going to require a $25 registration fee in 2018. The Ohio Utility Damage Prevention Coalition (OAC is a member) will likely meet later this year to discuss possible revisions to Ohio’s call before dig law regarding removing the local government exemption, the size and scope of large project dig tickets, a dig ticket’s expiration, the call/wait notification period, and excavation marking standards.
Human burial places: The joint OHC/SHPO/OAC Board effort was reinvigorated after a lull last winter and spring while meeting with State Representatives Scherer and Seitz. Both suggested we continue to work on this effort. The immediate need is to finish drafting the language for a bill and meet with key stakeholders. We received generally positive feedback from Federally recognized tribes through Stacey Halfmoon’s (OHC tribal liaison) efforts and look forward to more direct communication over the next few months. This summer we met with the President of the Archaeological Society of Ohio. We invited the ASO to join our working group and they accepted, and to today’s symposium on consulting with Native Americans. Al met with the Ohio state coroner’s association, who gave very positive feedback. He requested a list of contacts used for disposal of human remains that are/believed to be Native American and not under jurisdiction of coroners, and other entities used for disposal such as universities, museums, etc. He also requested data on how often coroners get involved in cases that end up not under their jurisdiction. This information is necessary to demonstrate the need for such legislation. They will reply after their 9/27 annual meeting. We are scheduling a meeting with other key stakeholders such as the Ohio Farm Bureau and real estate developers who will have concerns about property rights and the requirement to acquire permits to, and associated costs for, disturbing human burial places. Cultivated land will be exempt from the permit to disturb requirement.
We need to have a draft bill ready very early in 2018, and find legislators willing to sponsor the bill and get it drafted by the Legislative Service Commission. 2018 is last year of the biennial legislative cycle. We would like to have the bill ready for Statehood Day on March 1, 2018 so participants can speak with their legislators about the bill. Our next group meeting will be Oct. 10 at SHPO to finish drafting the bill. Al requests that members contact him ASAP about their experiences with the discovery of human burial places. We must demonstrate the need to revise Ohio law concerning this issue.
SHPO/Dept. of Administrative Services mtg. on disposal of state land: This spring, the DAS removed the disposal of land in Ross County where known archaeological and human burial sites exist (e. g., Kramer Mound and Village, and Shriver Circle) from the biennial budget bill. SHPO and DAS met in early August to discuss related issues. There will be a follow-up meeting this fall to discuss how to avoid such issues in the future. The OAC and the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy brought this matter to DAS and SHPOs attention last spring.
Trump executive order on national monuments: Interior Secretary Zinke’s report has been submitted to the President. Despite overwhelming public support for national monument designations by Presidents, Zinke is focusing on opponent’s efforts to rescind or reduce the areas of some Bush and Obama-era designations in order to maintain and increase multiple uses such as grazing, timber harvesting, mining, hunting, fishing, and motorized recreation.
Historic Preservation Fund: The House version of the FY 2018 budget would increase funds proposed to be cut by the President by $5.5 million, restoring the HPF to FY17 enacted levels. The House Interior Appropriations bill now includes the following levels of funding for the HPF:
• SHPOs: $47.925 million
• THPOs: $10.485 million
• Civil Rights Grants: $13 million
• Save America's Treasures Grants: $5 million
• HBCU Preservation Program: $4 million
• Underserved Communities Grants: $500,000
The Senate has yet to release an FY18 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The government will operate under FY2017 spending levels through mid-December. By that time, Congress and the White House will have to do one of two things: reach an agreement on overall spending levels for the next four or five years, and that raises the debt limit and contains an omnibus appropriations bill for FY2018; or give up on a new budget deal for now and simply extend FY2017 spending levels through FY2018.
Section 106 consultations:
• Judge Barker House (USACE project, Washington County, archaeology at NRHP-listed building) Ongoing consultation on conducting archaeological investigations, and a memorandum of agreement/MOA concerning the likely demolition of the building.
• Buckeye Lake (USACE project, Fairfield and Licking counties, historical/shipwreck archaeology). Al attended June 19 consulting party mtg. The MOA was redrafted to include stipulations for 5-year duration, monitoring of Black Diamond shipwreck reburial in the lake, and presentation at 2018 OAC mtg. It will be circulated for signing in early October. The OAC is a concurring party. The Buckeye Lake Historical Society is an invited signatory.
• Maumee River Bridge (USACE/ODOT project, Henry County, prehistoric archaeology). The MOA has been executed. Data recovery will occur at site 33HY167 (Late Archaic and Middle Woodland through Late Prehistoric site). The Miami Tribe is an invited signatory; the OAC and Eastern Shawnee Tribe are concurring parties. The MOA includes preparation of an article for unspecified peer-review journal. The OAC will request an article be submitted for our Journal of Ohio Archaeology.
• Stuart Station MOA amendments (USACE project, Adams County, prehistoric archaeology on multiple sites with human burials). Amendments to the original MOA were executed. The OAC is a concurring party. The Absentee Shawnee, Delaware, Eastern Shawnee, Keeweenaw Bay Indian Community, Miami, Pokagon Band Potawatomi, Seneca, and Shawnee tribes are invited signatories.