2020 Legislative Update: Preservation Maryland Weighs in on Dozens of Bills

02/26/2020
By Elly Colmers Cowan

Preservation Maryland is in the midst of one of its busiest legislative sessions, with the organization championing several key bills and testifying on many other important pieces of legislation.

90 days of legislative advocacy

Sponsor Del. Stephanie Smith (center) with Dir. of Advocacy Elly Cowan and the historic tax credit panel after hearing on HB862.

Sponsor Del. Stephanie Smith (center) with Dir. of Advocacy Elly Cowan and the historic tax credit panel after hearing on HB862.

Since the start of the 2020 session of the Maryland General Assembly, Preservation Maryland has provided written or oral testimony on the following pieces of legislation:

Historic Tax Credit Updates & Funding Increase [SB978/HB862]

Would reauthorize until 2028; increase funding to the large commercial component of the program to $15 million in FY2022 (from current appropriation of $9 million) followed by a stepped increase in funding to reach $30 million in FY2025; and make the credit transferable.

Clean Energy Loan Program Expansion [SB722]

Expands Maryland’s current clean energy loan program (MD C-PACE) to include resiliency and environmental remediation projects.

Allowing Resident Curators to Utilize the Residential Historic Tax Credit[HB640]

This bill would allow participants of the Department of Natural Resources’ Resident Curatorship program to access the residential historic tax credit.

Rehabilitations of Common Elements in Condominiums [HB759]

Would expand the Small Commercial Tax Credit program to include common elements of historic condominium or co-op buildings, such as the lobby, facade, or roof.

Common Forms and Requirement for State Grants [SB630/HB1539]

Would create the Maryland Efficient Grant Application Council to develop and implement a standardized application based on the federal Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Guidance as a common grants policy for state gran-making entities. There are serious concerns that several of the requirements of the Uniform Guidance would exclude smaller and/or newer non-profits who would not have the capacity or meet certain conditions, potentially negatively affecting many preservation, heritage, and history organizations.

Land Acquisition [SB148/HB125]

Would require the Board of Public Works to provide the Legislative Policy Committee with a justification for any acquisition of real property worth at least $500,000 and a cots benefit analysis. If enacted, the proposed legislation would go a long way to ensure that acquisition and disposal of state property receive the necessary level of review and consideration, including the potential land swap in which the state of Maryland would acquire 512 acres of Oxon Cove National Park in Prince George’s County in exchange for 2,841 acres of State-owned parkland in Frederick and Washington counties, including a portion of South Mountain Battlefield.

Local Consent for Toll Road Construction [SB229/HB292]

Would extend an authority currently only granted to eastern shore counties, which would require that local governments approve of state toll roads before their construction in their jurisdictions. Toll roads have the potential to significantly impact growth patterns — and historic resources, making this legislation a priority for the smart growth and preservation community alike.

Land Use and Vehicle Miles Traveled Work Group [HB351]

Establishes the Land Use and Vehicle Miles Traveled Workgroup, on which Smart Growth Maryland will serve, to develop a State strategy that identifies State and local land use policies, business incentives, and transportation policies.

Planning & Design funding for Southern Maryland Rapid Transit [SB105/HB205]

Southern Maryland and Charles County, in particular, has some of the worst traffic in the nation. This legislation would finally fund the planning and design of the long-anticipated southern Maryland Rapid Transit system. Smart Growth Maryland’s work in Charles County has long advocated for this critical transportation system.

Clean Buildings Jobs Act of 2020  [HB1490]

Buildings use 42% of the nation’s energy, much of which is wasted through inefficient design and operation. This legislation sets rules and goals to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and increase jobs in the building sector. It also establishes a Building Energy Performance Task Force, of which Preservation Maryland would be a member.

Preservation Maryland Executive Director, Nicholas Redding (second from L) testifies beside bill sponsor, Sen. Katie Fry Hester (L) on historic tax credits

Preservation Maryland Executive Director, Nicholas Redding (second from L) testifies beside bill sponsor, Sen. Katie Fry Hester (L) on historic tax credits.In addition to testifying on specific legislation, the organization has also been active in the budget process on several key issues:

ADVOCACY REQUIRES YOUR SUPPORT

Staying engaged over the entire 90-day session requires dedication, partnerships and significant financial resources. Preservation Maryland is dependent on donor contributions to keep us on the ground in Annapolis making the case for preservation. Please consider making a gift to our advocacy fund to help support our work in Annapolis.

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Elly Colmers Cowan · Director of Advocacy

Elly Cowan is here to get you involved in historic preservation, smart growth, and community development by becoming an advocate with us.

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