Your Congress in Action: A New Series

03/17/2020 5:23 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

Your Congress in Action is a new series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. This information is sourced from the Coalition for American Heritage, news articles, and more. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

  • Congress is working on a COVID-19 relief package, which will likely be the first of many. One issue of particular interest to CRM firms is that the bill that passed the House this weekend includes provisions requiring small businesses to give up to 12 weeks of paid leave to their employees (see our previous post for more on this version of the bill). Many firms are concerned about having enough operating cash to fund such paid leave up front. The Senate is currently crafting its own stimulus package with the paid leave solution still a point of contention.
  • The Senate is poised to quickly pass the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) to address deferred maintenance at America’s national parks and provide full, permanent funding of $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  • The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has implemented a coronavirus continuity of operations plan. They do not envision any changes in managing project reviews and the deadlines in the Section 106 process as set forth in 36 C.F.R. Part 800 will remain the same, with one exception in certain extraordinary circumstances. The Section 106 deadlines for a State or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO/THPOs) response will be considered tolled while, due to the coronavirus outbreak, an office is closed or work conditions are such that the SHPOs/THPOs are unable to carry out their Section 106 duties. More information on ACHP operations during the COVID-19 response is available here
  • President Trump announced his intent to appoint Meridian, Idaho Mayor Robert Eugene Simison as the Mayor Member on ACHP. He has served as Meridian mayor since January 2020 and previously was the chief of staff to the mayor since 2007. From 1997 to 2007, Simison was a staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. UPDATE: The President has also announced his intent to appoint Florida architect Rick Gonzalez to be an Expert Member of the ACHP. Gonzalez is CEO of REG Architects in Palm Beach, Florida and is known for his historic preservation work in the West Palm Beach area.
  • New and notable bills: 
    • H.R. 5990 - Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act: Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) reintroduced the Bronzeville–Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act, which would create a National Heritage Area to provide funding and national recognition to the significant contributions made to the City of Chicago by the African-American Community.
    • H.R. 6234 - To designate the Castner Range in the state of Texas, to establish the Castner Range National Monument, and for other purposes.: Introduced by Representative Victoria Escobar (D-TX) on March 12, this bill would make the Castner Range in West Texas, which has evidence of human habitation going back 10,000 years, into a national monument. 

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