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 Stewart 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. 35 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, 62 63 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 64 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.