In order to enhance public participation and involvement in the preservation and protection of the state’s historic and archaeological sites and properties, there is created within the Department of State the “Florida Historical Commission.” The commission shall serve in an advisory capacity to the director of the Division of Historical Resources to assist the director in carrying out the purposes, duties, and responsibilities of the division, as specified in this chapter.
(1)(a)1. The commission shall be composed of 11 members. Seven members shall be appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Secretary of State, two members shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, and two members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Of the seven members appointed by the Governor, one member must be a licensed architect who has expertise in historic preservation and architectural history; one member must be a professional historian in the field of American history; one member must be a professional architectural historian; one member must be an archaeologist specializing in the field of prehistory; and one member must be an archaeologist specializing in the historic period. The remaining two members appointed by the Governor and the two members appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively, must be representatives of the general public with demonstrated interest in the preservation of Florida’s historical and archaeological heritage. At least one member of the commission shall be a resident of a county that has a population of 75,000 or fewer.
2. After June 30, 2008, terms of appointment shall begin on January 1 of the year of appointment.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a), the initial members of the commission shall be the members of the Historic Preservation Advisory Council and the National Register of Historic Places Review Board, serving on January 1, 2002, who may serve the remainder of their respective terms. New appointments to the commission shall not be made until the retirement, resignation, removal, or expiration of the terms of the initial members results in fewer than 11 members remaining. As vacancies occur, the first appointments shall be the five professionally designated members appointed by the Governor. The President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor, respectively, shall then alternate appointments until the commission is composed as required herein.
(2) Commission members appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be appointed for 2-year terms. Additionally, these commission members shall serve as the legislative historic preservation advisory body to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate with respect to the collection and preservation of the historic records of both houses of the Legislature. Commission members appointed by the Governor shall be appointed to 4-year terms. A member whose term has expired shall continue to serve on the commission until such time as a replacement is appointed. Vacancies shall be filled for the remainder of the term and by the original appointing authority.
(3) The Governor shall designate a member of the commission as the commission’s presiding officer to serve in that capacity at the pleasure of the Governor. Each year the commission shall select an assistant presiding officer from its membership.
(4) The commission shall meet upon the call of the presiding officer or Secretary of State, which shall occur at least quarterly. Members shall serve without pay, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for their expenses in carrying out their official duties, as provided in s. 112.061.
(5) All action taken by the commission shall be by majority vote of those members present. The director of the division or the director’s designee shall serve without voting rights as secretary to the commission. The division shall provide necessary staff assistance to the commission.
(6) It shall be the responsibility of the commission to provide assistance, advice, and recommendations to the division in:
(a) Establishing priorities for the identification, acquisition, protection, and preservation of historic and archaeological sites and properties.
(b) Establishing criteria for use in assessing the significance of historic and archaeological sites and properties.
(c) Evaluating proposals for awards of special category historic preservation grants-in-aid administered by the division. Pursuant thereto, the commission shall review and evaluate proposals for special category grants and shall make recommendations, including a priority ranking, reflecting such evaluation. In making such evaluation and recommendations, the commission shall, at a minimum, consider the purpose, economic and other public benefit, location, compatibility with statewide historic preservation priorities, and cost of each proposal for special category grant assistance.
(d) Providing an active outreach program to encourage public understanding of and involvement in the preservation of the state’s historic and archaeological sites and properties.
(e) Identifying and expressing public goals for historic preservation and gathering public ideas necessary for the formulation of alternative policies.
(f) Recommending rules relating to the historic preservation programs administered by the division pursuant to this chapter.
(7) It shall be the additional responsibility of the commission to provide such other assistance and advice to the division as required by this chapter and as may be required from time to time in matters pertaining to the protection and preservation of the state’s historic and archaeological sites and properties.
(8) The five members appointed by the Governor from the professions designated in paragraph (1)(a) shall sit as Florida’s National Register Review Board and shall perform the duties of that board established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. If a vacancy exists in one of the five designated seats, the division director shall assign another member of the Florida Historical Commission to serve until the vacancy is filled.
(9) The commission shall provide recommendations to the Department of Management Services on the design and placement of monuments authorized by general law to be placed on the premises of the Capitol Complex pursuant to s. 265.111.