Florida Senate - 2020                              CS for SB 220
       By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Senators Cruz, Gibson, and Rouson
       585-02004-20                                           2020220c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to abandoned cemeteries; creating the
    3         Task Force on Abandoned African-American Cemeteries;
    4         specifying the purpose of the task force; requiring
    5         the Department of State to provide administrative and
    6         staff support; specifying the composition of the task
    7         force; providing meeting requirements; prescribing
    8         duties of the task force; requiring the task force to
    9         submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature by
   10         a specified date; providing for expiration of the task
   11         force; requiring the department to partner with
   12         specified entities to undertake an investigation of
   13         the former Zion Cemetery site; specifying custody of
   14         certain historical resources, records, archives,
   15         artifacts, research, and medical records; requiring
   16         the department to contract with the University of
   17         South Florida and the Florida Agricultural and
   18         Mechanical University for the identification and
   19         location of eligible next of kin; requiring the
   20         universities to provide certain information regarding
   21         descendants to the department by a specified date;
   22         directing the Division of Historical Resources of the
   23         department to ensure the listing of certain cemeteries
   24         in the Florida Master Site File; requiring the
   25         division to seek placement of historical markers at
   26         certain abandoned cemeteries, subject to certain
   27         limitations; authorizing certain persons and
   28         organizations to assist the division in researching
   29         the history of such cemeteries; specifying that costs
   30         associated with the creation and placement of such
   31         historical markers be borne by the division; providing
   32         appropriations; providing an effective date.
   34         WHEREAS, until the conclusion of the Civil War, millions of
   35  African Americans in the United States, including Florida, were
   36  enslaved, and
   37         WHEREAS, following the end of slavery, African Americans
   38  continued to be subject to various discriminatory practices,
   39  including restrictions on burying the dead which resulted in
   40  segregated cemeteries and burial grounds, and
   41         WHEREAS, unlike predominantly white cemeteries and burial
   42  grounds, African-American cemeteries and burial grounds were not
   43  subject to regulations and recordkeeping necessary to protect
   44  the dignity of the deceased, and
   45         WHEREAS, as a result, many abandoned African-American
   46  cemeteries and burial grounds have been inadvertently discovered
   47  following years of disrepair and neglect when land is being
   48  redeveloped or has been sold, and
   49         WHEREAS, to this day, abandoned African-American cemeteries
   50  throughout this state continue to be uncovered, as evidenced by
   51  recent reports regarding the former Zion Cemetery site in the
   52  Tampa Heights neighborhood and the former Ridgewood Cemetery on
   53  the grounds of C. Leon King High School, both in the City of
   54  Tampa, and
   55         WHEREAS, the State of Florida recognizes its obligation to
   56  identify and properly record abandoned African-American
   57  cemeteries and burial grounds in order to preserve history,
   58  better inform development decisions, and ensure dignity and
   59  respect for the deceased, NOW, THEREFORE,
   61  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   63         Section 1. (1) The Task Force on Abandoned African-American
   64  Cemeteries, a task force as defined in s. 20.03(8), Florida
   65  Statutes, is created adjunct to the Department of State for the
   66  express purpose of studying the extent to which unmarked or
   67  abandoned African-American cemeteries and burial grounds exist
   68  throughout the state and developing and recommending strategies
   69  for identifying and recording cemeteries and burial grounds
   70  while also preserving local history and ensuring dignity and
   71  respect for the deceased. Except as otherwise provided in this
   72  section, the task force shall operate in a manner consistent
   73  with s. 20.052, Florida Statutes. The department shall provide
   74  administrative and staff support relating to the functions of
   75  the task force.
   76         (2) The task force is composed of the following members:
   77         (a) The Secretary of State, or his or her designee, who
   78  shall serve as chair.
   79         (b) A representative of the Bureau of Archaeological
   80  Research of the Division of Historical Resources, appointed by
   81  the Secretary of State.
   82         (c) One person nominated by the President of the Florida
   83  State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement
   84  of Colored People and appointed by the Secretary of State.
   85         (d) One representative of the Florida Council of Churches,
   86  nominated by the executive director of the council and appointed
   87  by the Secretary of State.
   88         (e) One representative of the Florida African American
   89  Heritage Preservation Network, nominated by the executive
   90  director of the network and appointed by the Secretary of State.
   91         (f) One representative of the Florida Public Archaeology
   92  Network, appointed by the Secretary of State.
   93         (g) One representative of the cemetery industry, appointed
   94  by the Secretary of State.
   95         (3) The task force shall hold its first meeting by August
   96  1, 2020. The task force may meet as many times as it deems
   97  necessary to complete the duties prescribed in this section.
   98         (4) The task force shall:
   99         (a) Review the findings and recommendations made by the
  100  Task Force on Abandoned and Neglected Cemeteries created
  101  pursuant to chapter 98-268, Laws of Florida, and any legislative
  102  or administrative action that was taken in response to the task
  103  force’s findings and recommendations.
  104         (b) Examine the adequacy of current practices regarding the
  105  preservation of unmarked and abandoned African-American
  106  cemeteries and burial grounds and identify any challenges unique
  107  to African-American cemeteries and burial grounds.
  108         (c) Identify locations of unmarked and abandoned African
  109  American cemeteries and burial grounds throughout the state and
  110  propose strategies, including any proposed legislation, for the
  111  preservation and evaluation of such sites.
  112         (d) Make recommendations regarding the creation, placement,
  113  and maintenance of a memorial at the sites of the former Zion
  114  Cemetery and the former Ridgewood Cemetery in Tampa.
  115         (5) By March 1, 2021, the task force shall submit a report
  116  detailing its findings and recommendations to the Governor, the
  117  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  118  Representatives, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and the
  119  Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
  120         (6) This section expires July 1, 2021.
  121         Section 2. (1)(a) Upon receiving consent of the property
  122  owners at the former Zion Cemetery site in Tampa, the Department
  123  of State shall partner with the University of South Florida, the
  124  Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and the Zion
  125  Cemetery Archaeological Committee formed under the auspices of
  126  the Tampa Housing Authority, to continue an investigation to
  127  determine how many graves remain at the site.
  128         (b) Any historical resource, record, archive, artifact,
  129  public research, or medical record that is recovered through the
  130  course of the investigation by the University of South Florida
  131  or the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University shall
  132  remain in the custody of either university for archiving and
  133  preservation until the Department of State requests custody of
  134  such resource, record, archive, artifact, public research, or
  135  medical record.
  136         (2)(a) The Department of State shall contract with the
  137  University of South Florida and the Florida Agricultural and
  138  Mechanical University for the identification and location of
  139  eligible next of kin of those buried at the site.
  140         (b) No later than January 1, 2021, the universities shall
  141  provide the Department of State with a list of possible
  142  descendants of those buried at the site and, to the extent
  143  possible, their contact information.
  144         (c) For any identification of next of kin occurring on or
  145  after January 1, 2021, the universities must provide contact
  146  information of the next of kin to the Department of State.
  147         Section 3. The Division of Historical Resources of the
  148  Department of State shall ensure that any abandoned African
  149  American cemetery identified by the Task Force on Abandoned
  150  African-American Cemeteries is listed in the Florida Master Site
  151  File. Upon such a cemetery’s listing in the Florida Master Site
  152  File and in lieu of the normal application process for
  153  historical markers, the division must seek placement of an
  154  Official Florida Historical Marker at a site so long as the
  155  approval of the owner of the property where the marker will be
  156  placed has been obtained. A person or an organization affiliated
  157  with an abandoned cemetery may assist the division in
  158  researching the history of such a site in the preparation of a
  159  historical marker’s creation and placement. The costs for the
  160  creation and placement of a historical marker authorized
  161  pursuant to this section shall be borne by the division.
  162         Section 4. For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the sum of
  163  $100,000 in nonrecurring funds is appropriated from the General
  164  Revenue Fund to the Department of State for the purpose of
  165  implementing this act. Of such sum, $50,000 shall be allocated
  166  for the creation, placement, and maintenance of a memorial at
  167  the site of the former Zion Cemetery in Tampa, and $50,000 shall
  168  be allocated for the creation, placement, and maintenance of a
  169  memorial at the site of the former Ridgewood Cemetery at C. Leon
  170  King High School in Tampa.
  171         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.