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New bill to abolish Alabama Historic Commission – What is your opinion?

What are your thoughts about the bills?

This letter was emailed to me and I thought I’d share it with AP readers.  While, I don’t usually post political items on this website, I thought I’d post the following letter to inform readers of bilsl pending in the Alabama Legislature in regard to Alabama’s historical preservation.  I have not included the attachment links mentioned in the letter,  but I have included links to read the bill, check its status and find out more information.


Click on the links in the letter to read more about the bills and learn their status.

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: 5/14/2015 3:32:14 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: HB 584 – A Train Wreck in the Making

Dear Members and Friends of the ACPA:

You may already be aware that a bill has been introduced to the Alabama House of Representatives to abolish the Alabama Historic Commission (AHC) and transfer most – but not all – of its responsibilities and holdings to the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).

If you are a citizen of Alabama, I urge you to read the attached documents and take action as you see fit. In my humble opinion, the bill, HB 584, is a train wreck for historical preservation if passed as currently worded. If you read the bill, and a link to the bill is provided in one of the attachments, I believe you’ll agree with  me that little thought was given to drafting the bill other than a “find and replace” approach to amending the Code of Alabama. When you look at the bill on Allison, note the link to “Fiscal Notes Description” where the Ways and Means Committee reports that implementation will result in savings of: an undetermined amount; cost to the two absorbing departments: an undetermined amount; in other words, they were unable to determine how much this would save or even cost the State if enacted. It does note that the AHC’s expenditures for FY2014 were $8.5 million, of which only $2.1 came from appropriated funds, meaning the rest must have come from grants, fees or other sources of revenue. The bill states NOTHING about transferring staff positions other than the State Historic Preservation Office and State Archaeologists titles to ADAH. Those staff positions not addressed developed about 75% of the operating capitol. Enough of my synopsis.

Please find attached:

  1. An Alabama Trust email that addresses two bills:
  2.  HB 214 which would extend historic tax credit. I haven’t seen where this benefits those of us in cemetery preservation but it certainly supports preservation of other historic and buildings.
  3. HB 584. This provides a link to a May 11 Alabama Public Television interviewing ADAH Director Steve Murray – the interview starts 9 minutes into the show. This show takes place shortly after the ADAH board met that morning to evaluate the impact of the bill and what actions should be taken.
  4. An email from AHC’s Frank White with further attachments of the AHC’s analysis of the bill and a Map of Historical Sites and their proposed disposition.

I’ve heard nothing from the folks at ADCNR and while I agree with the assessments both AHC and ADAH make above, both appear to be taking a “we’re good public servants and we can fix this if you give us enough time” approach to talks with the legislature. I believe the bill should die in the House or in the Senate if it passes the House. If required for appeasement, introduce a bill to form a study commission to make recommendations to the Legislature next year. Again, HB 584 is a train wreck waiting to happen and costs decreases or increases are unknown. If you agree, please contact you state representative and/or senator.

I thank you for your time,

Ted Urquhart

President

Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance, Inc. (ACPA)

 

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Exploration: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 1)See best-selling books by Donna R Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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19 comments

  1. Sharon Norris

    I think we need to trim the paychecks of our employees, the elected officials who are supposed to be working for us. Someone needs to save our rich history and preserve it for future generations

    1. Patti Finney

      So agree with you!!!

  2. Sheila Watkins Bell

    I sure hope folks in Alabama will take action on these proposed changes. Please contact your legislator,,,

  3. Jean Moore Sanderson

    Please this commission does not need to be abolished. There are some wonderful areas which need refurbishing (Union Springs, AL) for example, lovely old town (train wreck) with beautiful homes and the town is rich with history and in bad repair. There is so much history in this state, so many lovely homes, we need to keep this commission.

  4. Anita Scroggins

    Bad idea, if you don’t know your history you will be doomed to repeat it.

  5. Delia Ogden-Herring

    That would be a HUGE mistake

  6. This article may be misleading. I think they want to merge 2 institutions into 1 that have very similar roles. So, that being said one or the other would be cut.

  7. Kenneth H. Haughton

    While y’al are at it you can put my Selma back like it was

  8. Scott Smith

    Those who forget History…

  9. Georgia Sechrest

    The commission should be saved. There is so much history, homes, old towns, factories, etc. we need to save/revitalize. Keep the commission.

  10. Joe Domnanovich

    Is abolish & merge the same thing?

  11. Greg Creech

    This commission has done nothing for decades but try to destroy, undermine, abolish and remove the funding from every Confederate monument, park and historical site in the state. They have even tried to take funding from the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, money that was set aside for this particular place long ago and which does not affect their other oversights at all. Let ’em die as far as I’m concerned.

  12. Donald Wheeles

    I think it is another stupid move by our elected legislature.

  13. Sandy Richards

    HELL NO!!! our history is part of who we are!!!

  14. Gibbs Corwin Davis

    Someone hopes to benefit somehow.

  15. Joyce N Billy Lambert

    Trim the government body, no automatic raises. “Pay your own way” leave history ALONE!!

  16. Tim Abney

    The role of the historic commission and the archives department are very different.The proposed disbanding of the historic commission is another example of politicians abusing their role to punish a person or group of people because the sponsoring politician(s) has a personal vendetta against some person(s).

  17. To all those who refuse to learn the past, they are condemned to repeat mistakes in the future.

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