Florida Senate - 2020                       CS for CS for SB 220
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Governmental Oversight
       and Accountability; and Senators Cruz, Gibson, Rouson, Book, and
       576-04556-20                                           2020220c2
    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; requiring
   32         the department to create, place, and maintain
   33         memorials at certain sites, subject to legislative
   34         appropriation; providing an effective date.
   36         WHEREAS, until the conclusion of the Civil War, millions of
   37  African Americans in the United States, including Florida, were
   38  enslaved, and
   39         WHEREAS, following the end of slavery, African Americans
   40  continued to be subject to various discriminatory practices,
   41  including restrictions on burying the dead which resulted in
   42  segregated cemeteries and burial grounds, and
   43         WHEREAS, unlike predominantly white cemeteries and burial
   44  grounds, African-American cemeteries and burial grounds were not
   45  subject to regulations and recordkeeping necessary to protect
   46  the dignity of the deceased, and
   47         WHEREAS, as a result, many abandoned African-American
   48  cemeteries and burial grounds have been inadvertently discovered
   49  following years of disrepair and neglect when land is being
   50  redeveloped or has been sold, and
   51         WHEREAS, to this day, abandoned African-American cemeteries
   52  throughout this state continue to be uncovered, as evidenced by
   53  recent reports regarding the former Zion Cemetery site in the
   54  Tampa Heights neighborhood and the former Ridgewood Cemetery on
   55  the grounds of C. Leon King High School, both in the City of
   56  Tampa, and
   57         WHEREAS, the State of Florida recognizes its obligation to
   58  identify and properly record abandoned African-American
   59  cemeteries and burial grounds in order to preserve history,
   60  better inform development decisions, and ensure dignity and
   61  respect for the deceased, NOW, THEREFORE,
   63  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   65         Section 1. (1) The Task Force on Abandoned African-American
   66  Cemeteries, a task force as defined in s. 20.03(8), Florida
   67  Statutes, is created adjunct to the Department of State for the
   68  express purpose of studying the extent to which unmarked or
   69  abandoned African-American cemeteries and burial grounds exist
   70  throughout the state and developing and recommending strategies
   71  for identifying and recording cemeteries and burial grounds
   72  while also preserving local history and ensuring dignity and
   73  respect for the deceased. Except as otherwise provided in this
   74  section, the task force shall operate in a manner consistent
   75  with s. 20.052, Florida Statutes. The department shall provide
   76  administrative and staff support relating to the functions of
   77  the task force.
   78         (2) The task force is composed of the following members:
   79         (a) The Secretary of State, or his or her designee, who
   80  shall serve as chair.
   81         (b) A representative of the Bureau of Archaeological
   82  Research of the Division of Historical Resources, appointed by
   83  the Secretary of State.
   84         (c) One person nominated by the President of the Florida
   85  State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement
   86  of Colored People and appointed by the Secretary of State.
   87         (d) One representative of the Florida Council of Churches,
   88  nominated by the executive director of the council and appointed
   89  by the Secretary of State.
   90         (e) One representative of the Florida African American
   91  Heritage Preservation Network, nominated by the executive
   92  director of the network and appointed by the Secretary of State.
   93         (f) One representative of the Florida Public Archaeology
   94  Network, appointed by the Secretary of State.
   95         (g) One representative of the cemetery industry, appointed
   96  by the Secretary of State.
   97         (h) One member of the Senate, appointed by the President of
   98  the Senate.
   99         (i) One member of the House of Representatives, appointed
  100  by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  101         (j) One elected official from a local government, appointed
  102  by the Secretary of State.
  103         (3) The task force shall hold its first meeting by August
  104  1, 2020. The task force may meet as many times as it deems
  105  necessary to complete the duties prescribed in this section.
  106         (4) The task force shall:
  107         (a) Review the findings and recommendations made by the
  108  Task Force on Abandoned and Neglected Cemeteries created
  109  pursuant to chapter 98-268, Laws of Florida, and any legislative
  110  or administrative action that was taken in response to the task
  111  force’s findings and recommendations.
  112         (b) Examine the adequacy of current practices regarding the
  113  preservation of unmarked and abandoned African-American
  114  cemeteries and burial grounds and identify any challenges unique
  115  to African-American cemeteries and burial grounds.
  116         (c) Identify locations of unmarked and abandoned African
  117  American cemeteries and burial grounds throughout the state and
  118  propose strategies, including any proposed legislation, for the
  119  preservation and evaluation of such sites.
  120         (d) Make recommendations regarding standards for the
  121  creation, placement, and maintenance of a memorial at any
  122  identified locations of unmarked and abandoned African-American
  123  cemetery or burial ground throughout the state.
  124         (5) By March 1, 2021, the task force shall submit a report
  125  detailing its findings and recommendations to the Governor, the
  126  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  127  Representatives, the Minority Leader of the Senate, and the
  128  Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
  129         (6) This section expires July 1, 2021.
  130         Section 2. (1)(a) Upon receiving consent of the property
  131  owners at the former Zion Cemetery site in Tampa, the Department
  132  of State shall partner with the University of South Florida, the
  133  Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and the Zion
  134  Cemetery Archaeological Committee formed under the auspices of
  135  the Tampa Housing Authority, to continue an investigation to
  136  determine how many graves remain at the site.
  137         (b) Any historical resource, record, archive, artifact,
  138  public research, or medical record that is recovered through the
  139  course of the investigation by the University of South Florida
  140  or the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University shall
  141  remain in the custody of either university for archiving and
  142  preservation until the Department of State requests custody of
  143  such resource, record, archive, artifact, public research, or
  144  medical record.
  145         (2)(a) The Department of State shall contract with the
  146  University of South Florida and the Florida Agricultural and
  147  Mechanical University for the identification and location of
  148  eligible next of kin of those buried at the site.
  149         (b) No later than January 1, 2021, the universities shall
  150  provide the Department of State with a list of possible
  151  descendants of those buried at the site and, to the extent
  152  possible, their contact information.
  153         (c) For any identification of next of kin occurring on or
  154  after January 1, 2021, the universities must provide contact
  155  information of the next of kin to the Department of State.
  156         Section 3. The Division of Historical Resources of the
  157  Department of State shall ensure that any abandoned African
  158  American cemetery identified by the Task Force on Abandoned
  159  African-American Cemeteries is listed in the Florida Master Site
  160  File. Upon such a cemetery’s listing in the Florida Master Site
  161  File and in lieu of the normal application process for
  162  historical markers, the division must seek placement of an
  163  Official Florida Historical Marker at a site so long as the
  164  approval of the owner of the property where the marker will be
  165  placed has been obtained. A person or an organization affiliated
  166  with an abandoned cemetery may assist the division in
  167  researching the history of such a site in the preparation of a
  168  historical marker’s creation and placement. The costs for the
  169  creation and placement of a historical marker authorized
  170  pursuant to this section shall be borne by the division.
  171         Section 4. Subject to specific appropriation, the
  172  Department of State shall create, place, and maintain a memorial
  173  at the site of the former Zion Cemetery in Tampa and at the site
  174  of the former Ridgewood Cemetery at C. Leon King High School in
  175  Tampa.
  176         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.