Preservation Maryland is on track to have one of its busiest legislative sessions in recent history, with the organization championing several key bills and testifying on dozens of other important pieces of legislation.

90 days of legislative advocacy

Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding testifies beside bill sponsor, Sen. Bill Ferguson, on historic tax credits, 2019.

Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding testifies beside bill sponsor, Sen. Bill Ferguson, on historic tax credits, 2019.

Since the start of the 2019 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 [SB656/HB1162]

Would reauthorize until 2024; increase funding to the large commercial component of the program to $20 million (from current appropriation of $9 million); establish a simpler process for small residential redevelopment; make the credit transferable; create two pilot programs for agricultural structures & mid-century modern buildings; provides an additional 5% for projects in Opportunity Zones; increase the residential per project cap to $75,000 (from $50,000) & renames the credit the Historic Revitalization Credit.

Opportunity Zone Enhancement Program [SB581]

Would create incentives for state tax credits within opportunity zones in exchange for increased transparency and community engagement. Would positively impact the state historic tax credit.

A study to facilitate the adaptive reuse of current and formerly owned historic state and federal properties [SB741]

Initially, this bill would have created a waiver process for historic easements. After thoughtful conversation with the bill sponsor, developers and the Maryland Historical Trust, the bill was amended with language provided, in part, by Preservation Maryland to instead authorize a necessary study to address the challenge of reusing large campuses of historic structures.

Agritourism Expansion Legislation [SB99]

Provides necessary exemptions for properties engaged in agritourism in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, Kent, Prince Georges and St. Mary’s County. Potentially meaningful impact for historic properties as it would provide a new source of revenue for rehab of historic properties in agricultural areas.

Marriage License Funding for Washington County Historical Society [SB141]

Following a precedent set in several other counties, $10 of every marriage license would be provided to the Washington County Historical Society to support their efforts. Draft legislation was provided and advocated for by Preservation Maryland.

Maryland Arts and Culture Capital Grant Program [HB1391]

Would establish a new capital grants program for cultural, artistic and historic institutions in the state. A potentially powerful new tool for museums and preservation organizations.

Commission on the Development of a Solar Blueprint for Maryland [SB744]

Would establish a commission, with input from Smart Growth Maryland, on establishing a statewide plan for where solar facilities should be constructed in Maryland. The legislation comes in response to several high-profile proposals to construct solar facilities on prime farmland, cultural landscapes and densely forested areas.

Comprehensive Flood Management Program [SB269/HB428]

Would establish mandatory grant funding to assist local jurisdictions with infrastructure repairs, debris removal, and emergency protection work associated with a flood event. This legislation could provide meaningful support for historic Ellicott City and other communities grappling with the impact of intense weather events.

Glen Dale Hospital Adaptive Reuse Legislation [HB662]

Would lift the onerous restrictions on redevelopment of Glen Dale Hospital (a Preservation Maryland Six-to-Fix project) that only allow for Continuing Care Retirement Center (CCRC) which has been proven by a recent study to be unfeasible from a market perspective.

In addition to testifying on specific legislation, the organization has also been active in the budget process on several key issues:

  • Supporting: full funding of Program Open Space and opposition to a proposed $25 million cut to land preservation funding
  • Supporting: full funding of the Maryland Heritage Area program & Maryland Historical Trust’s grant programs.
  • Advocating for increased funding to the state historic tax credit, which remains at just $9 million annually.

smart growth maryland legislative advocacy

Smart Growth Maryland, a program of Preservation Maryland, has also been extremely active in Annapolis and has provided testimony and support for the following pieces of legislation:

Local consent for toll road construction [SB442/HB102]

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.

Establishment of Smart Growth Investment Fund [SB3/HB117]

Would appropriate $7 million to create an investment fund to incentivize smart growth projects throughout the state.

Planning & Design funding for Southern Maryland Rapid Transit [SB845]

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.

Preservation Maryland Director of Advocacy, Elly Cowan (R) testifies beside bill sponsor, Del. Brooke Lierman (L) on local consent for toll roads.

Preservation Maryland Director of Advocacy, Elly Cowan (R) testifies beside bill sponsor, Del. Brooke Lierman (L) on local consent for toll roads.

bond bills provide direct funding to dozens of preservation projects

Legislative Bond Initiatives (formerly known as Bond Bills) also have the potential to positively impact a wide array of preservation projects around the state. Some of the bond projects Preservation Maryland is supporting include:

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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