AD HOC LEGISLATIVE ISSUES COMMITTEE REPORT - October 2001
Al Tonetti, Committee Chair
Federal Legislative Issues
House Select Committee to Study the Effectiveness of Ohio's Historical Programs and Partnerships
Eight members of the Ohio House of Representatives have been appointed by House Speaker Larry Householder to a House Select Committee to Study the Effectiveness of Ohio's Historical Programs and Partnerships. The purpose of Select Committees is to ensure that tax-funded programs are administered efficiently and effectively and that the intended objectives of publicly funded programs are achieved. The mission of this Select Committee includes examining how to strengthen the public-private partnership between the State of Ohio and the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), a private, not-for-profit institution that manages historical sites for the State of Ohio; developing long-term funding solutions to protect historic sites; examining how OHS spends funds on historic sites; and examining detailed budget and management plans for each of the historic sites before OHS receives additional state funds. OHS is scheduled to receive approximately $32 million in state funds over the two-year budget that began in July 2001.
The eight appointed Representatives are Chair, Kerry Metzger (R-New Philadelphia), Nancy Hollister (R-Marietta), Larry Flowers (R-Canal Winchester), Tom Raga (R-Mason), James Hoops (R-Napoleon), Dixie Allen (D-Dayton), Sylvester Patton (D-Youngstown), and Ray Miller (D-Columbus). The Committee is to prepare a report for Speaker Householder by February 15, 2002. The Select Committee is scheduled to begin hearings in October. The hearing agenda is being developed. The Ohio Archaeological Council will receive notices about the hearing schedule and other information pertinent to the Select Committee's charge as it becomes available. For further information about the Select Committee contact Representative Metzger's office at 77 South High Street, 11th Floor, Columbus, OH 43266-0603, telephone (614) 466-1695.
Senate Bill 83, Revision of Surface and In-Stream Mining Law
On May 22, 2001, S.B. 83 was passed by the Senate and forwarded to the House for consideration, where it was assigned to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. No hearings on the bill have been scheduled, though it is likely that the bill will receive consideration this session. Existing legislation does not allow the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to consider the presence of archaeological sites when issuing permits to mine non-coal minerals. S.B. 83 does not change this situation. The Ohio Archaeological Council may submit testimony to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on this issue.
House Concurrent Resolution 5, Recognizing the Saponi Nation
This Resolution, to recognize the efforts of the Saponi (American Indian) Nation to keep their culture alive, was introduced on January 31, 2001 and assigned to the State Government Committee. No action has been taken on the Resolution.
Due to the tragic events of September 11, Congress is focusing on responding to these events. Fiscal Year 2002 (October 2001-September 2002) appropriations were to be completed by the end of September, but the events of September 11 have changed Congress' priorities. There are a number of bills in Congress with implications for the archaeological community.
HR 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, establishes a separate fund to be administered by the Land and Water Conservation Fund for conservation, wildlife, recreation, and historic preservation projects. Each year through 2015, $150 million would be provided to the states for historic preservation projects.
HR 2646, the Farm Bill, includes a provision that would make archaeological sites eligible for the Farmland Protection Program, which promotes good environmental practices on farmland to protect habitat and natural resource protection. The provision allows a voluntary program that would use conservation easements to take land containing important archaeological sites out of production and in turn compensate the farmer for the conservation of the archaeological sites.
HR 2114, the National Monuments Fairness Act, amends the Antiquities Act and curtails the President's ability to designate National Monuments.
HR 2388, establishes criteria and a mechanism for the designation and support of National Heritage Areas.
HR 2420/S 329, the Peopling of America Theme Study Act, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a National Historic Landmark theme study relating to the peopling of America.
HR 1882, the Cultural Heritage Assistance Partnership Act, establishes National Park Service program to provide information, technical assistance, awards, and small grants to states, tribes, local governments, and non-profit groups for projects relating to historic preservation.
Two Parts of the Section 106 Regulations Invalidated
On September 19, the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia invalidated sections 800.4(d)(2) and 800.5(c)(3) of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP) Section 106 regulations. The court upheld the rest of the regulations. The rules had been challenged by the wireless telecommunications and mining industries. Section 800.4(d)(2) requires a federal agency to continue the Section 106 process at the ACHP's request if the ACHP objects to the agency's determination that there are no historic properties present in an undertaking or that historic properties will not be affected by the undertaking. Section 800.5(c)(3) grants the ACHP the authority to review an agency finding of no adverse effects when a State Historic Preservation Officer, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer or consulting party disagrees with the finding. The court ruled that these two sections violated the plain language of the National Historic Preservation Act in that they were substantive rather than procedural rules. Information about this ruling can be found at the ACHP's web site, www.achp.gov.