Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 16, Number 44, November 8, 2013 →

Biggert-Waters: Preservation Action Needs You to Contact Your Members of Congress

If your member has not already signed on as supporter of the amendment to fix flood insurance reform legislation known as Biggert-Waters, contact them today. 

Preservation Action members brought to our attention that, as a result of legislation passed in the last Congress known as Biggert-Waters, there are significant increases in flood insurance rates set to take effect for many residents in coastal areas. As a result of hearing from our members, Preservation Action staff worked with a national coalition to temporarily halt these hikes until FEMA completes the studies it is required by Biggert-Waters to do.

We are very happy to report that a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the House have reached an agreement that will help owners of historic properties in flood-prone areas that have been facing severe hikes in their flood insurance rates. 

We need our members to take immediate action to contact your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor this important bill. Specifically, the bill does the following:

  • Imposes a delay likely to total four years for the most vulnerable properties, by delaying implementation of rate increases until two years after FEMA completes an affordability study, which was mandated in Biggert-Waters but not undertaken. FEMA has estimated it will take 2 years to complete the affordability study. It would then take up to an additional 2 years for FEMA to submit an affordability framework to Congress and for Congress to review the framework. This means rate increases would be delayed for 4 years in total. The delay applies to: primary, non-repetitive loss residences that are currently grandfathered; all properties sold after July 6, 2012; and all properties that purchased a new policy after July 6, 2012.
  • Requires FEMA to propose an affordability framework that addresses the identified affordability issues within 18 months after the completion of the study and provides 6 months for Congressional review.
  • Protects the so-called “basement exception,” which allows the lowest proofed opening in a home to be used for determining flood insurance rates.
  • Requires FEMA to certify that the agency has fully adopted a modernized risk-based approach to analyzing flood risk.

 

If your Representative would like to cosponsor the legislation, please have them contact Richard Hoffmann in Rep. Grimm’s office at richard.hoffman@mail.house.gov, Lisa Lederberger with the Committee on Financial Services at lisa.lederberger@mail.house.gov, or Zach Butterworth in Rep. Richmond’s office at zach.butterworth@mail.house.gov.

As of this post, the current co-sponsors include the following House members:

Andrews, Robert
Boustany, Charles
Brown, Corrine
Buchanan, Vern
Carney, John
Cassidy, Bill
Castor, Kathy
Cleaver, Emmanuel
Cramer, Kevin
Crowley, Joseph
Culberson, John
Davis, Rodney
Deutch, Ted
Diaz-Balart, Mario
Ellison, Keith
Ellmers, Renee
Enyart, William
Frankel, Lois
Garamendi, John
Garcia, Joe
Green, Gene
Grimm, Michael
Hinojosa, Reuben
Jackson Lee, Shelia
Jeffries, Hakeem
Jones, Walter
Keating, William
King, Peter
Lacy Clay, William
Langevin, James
LoBiondo, Frank
Lynch, Stephen
Maloney, Carolyn
Matsui, Doris
McCarthy, Carolyn
McIntyre, Mike
McNerney, Jerry
Meeks, Gregory
Moore, Gwen
Murphy, Patrick
Nadler, Jerrold
Nugent, Richard
Olson, Pete
Palazzo, Steven
Pascrell, Bill
Perlmutter, Ed
Pingree, Chelie
Richmond, Cedric
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana
Scalise, Steve
Schakowsky, Jan
Scott, Bobby
Scott, David
Stockman, Steve
Thompson, Glenn
Tierney, John
Tsongas, Niki
Velazquez, Nydia
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Waters, Maxine
Welch, Peter
Whitfield, Ed
Wilson, Frederica
Vela, Filemon

For an official list, see this Thomas entry →

NPS Recommends Adding Cesar Chavez Park Including Sites in California and Arizona

At the end of last month, the National Park Service recommended to Congress the creation of a historic park to honor Cesar Chavez, a key figure in the farm labor movement. The recommendation comes after a study, commissioned by Congress in 2008, to review the sites that are significant to Chavez’s life and the farm labor movement. “César Chávez was at the epicenter of some of the most significant achievements of the Civil Rights and labor movements in our nation’s history and through his leadership, farmworkers achieved unprecedented labor, political and social gains,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said. “Recognizing these sites associated with his leadership of the United Farm Workers as part of a national historical park will ensure that his contributions to the Civil Rights movement will be preserved and shared as an inspiration for future generations.”

The sites that the Park Service recommended include:

• Forty Acres national Landmark—Delano, CA;
• Filipino community Hall—Delano, CA;
• Cesar Chavez National Monument at Nuestra Senora de la Paz—Keene, CA;
• the Santa Rita Center—Phoenix, AZ, and
• the route of the 1966 Delano to Sacramento march.

To read the full release from the National Park Service, click here.

Budget Committees Set Next Joint Meeting

Under terms of the deal reached in Congress to increase the debt-ceiling and fund the government through January 15, 2013, the House and Senate Budget Committees are tasked with designing a budget that will carry the government through the rest of the year. The two Chairs, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), along with the conference committee members met for the first time over breakfast on October 30th to begin hashing out a deal. The conference committee, totaling 29 members, plans to meet again on November 13, 2013. They face a December 15th deadline of designing a plan that can pass both houses of Congress. Preservation Action is monitoring the Budget Committee discussions and their impact on funding of the Historic Preservation Fund.

Coburn Releases Report Critical of National Parks & National Heritage Areas

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report last week entitled “PARKED! How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities are Trashing Our National Treasures.” You can read the report here.

We’re Back from the Crossroads of America, Indianapolis

Our staff and many board members participated in the National Preservation Conference last week in Indianapolis; it was a great opportunity for everyone to meet our new President Darlene Taylor, staff John LaRue and Meagan Baco presented on legislative and advocacy projects, and we hosted a great auction for the Preservation Action Foundation with Indiana Landmarks. Read our recap here.

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