Scavello, Scarnati Introduce Measure To Modernize PA History Code, Preserve Items

(HARRISBURG)Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) today introduced legislation to update laws governing Pennsylvania historic preservation.

The legislation, introduced as Senate Bill 178, will amend Title 37 (Historical & Museums) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.  This legislation has several key provisions to update and modernize the History Code.

“Preservation of historical items, properties such as buildings, landscapes and other components of historical significance is essential. Pennsylvania has a rich and vibrant history and we must do all we can to ensure that our heritage is preserved for future generations,” Scavello said.

“I am pleased to join Senator Scavello in introducing this important initiative to improve the way we preserve history for future generations,” Scarnati said.  “This legislation will ensure that more state residents have access to historic documents and public records and will take a needed step to bring our policies and procedures up to date.”

Key provisions of the measure include:

  • Adding definitions for Archival Records, the State Archives and State Archivist.
  • Removing language on the operation of the Conservation Center which the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) no longer operates.
  • Modernizing the sale and disposition of property as well as adding language on abandoned property on loan to the PHMC.
  • Including language that the State Archives shall be the official repository for the permanent and historically valuable public records of the Commonwealth.
  • Adding a new section on the protection and recovery of historical Commonwealth and local government records.
  • Opening access to older public records after 75 years, unless specifically prohibited by law.
  • Removing from Title 37 certain historical properties that the PHMC either has transferred or sold to other entities.

CONTACTS: Kate Eckhart – Senator Scarnati (717) 787-7084

Christine Zubeck – Senator Scavello (717) 787-6123