About Cultural Heritage Partners

Marion Werkheiser is an attorney with Cultural Heritage Partners, which serves as the government affairs consultant to the Society for Historical Archaeology.

SHA’s INVITE YOUR LAWMAKER DAY IS AUGUST 20!

Congress’ summer recess is underway! August is a great time to invite federal, state and local lawmakers to visit sites and projects, and to learn about the importance of cultural heritage education and preservation. It is also a chance for us to advocate for SHPO/THPO offices, social sciences funding, and NHPA’s Section 106 and upcoming 50th anniversary in 2016.

This summer, SHA is holding its first annual Invite Your Lawmakers Day on August 20, 2014. Please invite lawmakers –  and the press – to visit nearby sites and digs, and learn why archaeology matters.

We have prepared a sample email to use if you are asked to submit a written request:

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Dear Representative ___________/Senator ___________,

I am your constituent, and I would like to invite you to [visit my site, come see my facility] on August 20, 2014, which the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) has designated as its first annual Invite Your Lawmaker Day.

I own/work for  [company/school name]. My company does ____[describe your firm or department in 1 sentence]_____. [Company name] employs __[X]__ number of people in the district/ state.

I am an active member of SHA, the largest organization in the world dedicated to the archaeological study of the modern world and the third largest anthropological organization in the United States. Members come from a dozen countries, and most are professional archaeologists who teach, work in museums or consulting firms, or have government posts. The SHA and its members strongly support the protection of cultural and historical resources and sites around the nation.

I hope that you will be able to visit on August 20. If you have any questions or would prefer a different date, please reach me at ___[provide best method for contacting you]___. Thank you.

Best regards,

[Your signature block]

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A 1-pager about SHA to hand out during lawmaker visits is available at: http://tinyurl.com/oooptsg.

If you missed Cultural Heritage Partners’ webinar providing tips and guidance for summer recess visits, the slides are available at: http://tinyurl.com/p9vjfkj.

SHA Storms the Hill!

The government affairs update in May included a long list of issues being pursued and monitored by SHA and its government relations counsel Cultural Heritage Partners. To ensure that key members of Congress know about SHA and its priorities, President Charlie Ewen, President-Elect Joe Joseph, and Eden Burgess of Cultural Heritage Partners went to the Hill for a full day of meetings on June 20. The group visited six Congressional offices to discuss National Science Foundation funding and the FIRST Act, the Military LAND Act, MAP-21 reauthorization, and the value of archaeological research and education. Check out Charlie in front of the Capitol!

As a follow-up, the SHA board plans to schedule a webinar, hosted by Cultural Heritage Partners, on Tuesday, July 22 at noon ET to prepare members for SHA’s first annual Invite Your Lawmakers Day. Congress members typically spend the August recess (August 2 to September 7) in their home states and districts, providing the perfect opportunity for visits to your projects. SHA will be encouraging its members to invite local, state and federal lawmakers –  and the press – to visit nearby sites and digs and learn why archaeology matters. SHA’s Invite Your Lawmakers Day is tentatively set for August 20, 2014  (confirmation forthcoming).

Please watch for an invitation to the Cultural Heritage Partners webinar, and for announcements for SHA’s Invite Your Lawmakers Day. Contact Eden Burgess with any questions in the meantime – eden@culturalheritagepartners.com or 703-965-5380.

A Very Busy May for Governmental Affairs

May was an eventful month for the Society for Historical Archeology’s Governmental Affairs Committee and SHA’s government affairs counsel, Cultural Heritage Partners. A number of proposals were introduced and discussed in both houses of Congress. While these changes are intended to make aspects of historic preservation easier and more efficient, they fall woefully short in the eyes of the archeological community and can endanger historic preservation.

  • Section 1303 of the “MAP-21 Reauthorization Act,” which is the reauthorization of the current transportation legislation, proposes to use the Section 106 process as a means to fulfill some of the current requirements of Section 4(f) of the transportation act.  The goal is to reduce what is perceived as duplication between Section 106 and Section 4(f).
  • The Military LAND Act (Section 2816 in NDAA, H.R. 4435) would amend the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) by allowing any federal agency that manages property to block or revoke the listing of a historic property on the National Register of Historic Places, as a National Historic Landmark or on the World Heritage List by invoking “reasons of national security.”
  • The FIRST Act (H.R. 4186) would create of a new level of review at the National Science Foundation to determine if research is worthy of federal funding and “in the national interest.” The House also amended the appropriations bill for NSF to include a provision shifting millions of dollars from social sciences to physical sciences.
  • NPS is considering a proposal to amend the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) to include “landscapes” as a property type and “landscape architecture” as an area of significance. SHA sent a letter to Stephanie Toothman stating its reasons for opposing the proposal, and will meet with her in June.

SHA has submitted several letters addressing the proposals, explaining why they damage historic preservation, or are ineffective or simply unnecessary. SHA does not stand alone in its opposition. The American Cultural Resources Association joined with SHA against the proposed changes to Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act. The Department of Defense provided testimony on the Military LAND Act, stating that it is unwanted and unnecessary; the Preservation Partners are also opposing Section 2816 in the NDAA (formerly the Military LAND Act).

SHA and Cultural Heritage Partners are working to avoid these potentially expensive and unnecessary changes. We want to keep Congress from fixing what isn’t broken.