Feb 12, 2005, 12:18 PM
Hb2078 emails needed before Monday to defeat this bill.
I stuck just about everything in this email. emails; bill; summary; my letter; impact ;etc ...
Read what you need to write an email to your senators on this committee before Monday when they review it. It is v. important to defeat this bill.
Please send an email to the committee working on the bill now. There are addresses below and also a sample letter I wrote. I always write too much so a short one is better.
Be sure to ask them how they will vote but give them good reason to vote no.
1. salary too high, $96000 vs $41000 average.
2. position duties not defined.
3. duties same as director. duplicate job or person so waste.
4. job is really director to form a new section at DHR and this will be expensive.
so send it back to get a real description of duties so we know what it is about and drop the salary to the average salary.
Whatever reason they use is fine with me. I just want to provide them with a good reason to stop this bill.
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Here is what I sent. You should write a shorter note.
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to you about Bill 2078. I am opposed to this bill as it was originally written but also in its present form. The original intent of the bill's authors as it was described in COVA meeting notes was to hinder "the looting and collecting/sale of artifacts." Ms. Van Landingham also confirmed this in a letter. The minutes also mention advocating for a state archaeologist and contacting Van Landingham to promote state action. Ms. Van Landingham also said the bill came about from contacts with archaeologists.
Even though the bill was amended to remove the sections that would make hobby metal detecting in Virginia illegal the position for a person to work against my hobby was not removed. So now there will be a state employee to pursue the same restrictions that were removed from the bill. The APVA website has already stated that it is the intention of those involved to seek the same legislation in the next session. I do not want the state to pay a person to "act as the point person" to destroy my hobby.
When the bill was first written the duties of the state archaeologist were partially outlined. Now the duties are the same as the Director of DHR. This is a duplication of effort or at least employees. We should not hire two people to do the same job. This is a waste of taxpayer's money. At a minimum I think the authors should be required to list the duties of the new State Archaeologist. How can anyone write a justification for a paid position in state government when the duties of the position are not specified? If you want to know what COVA's view of the duties for this position are I included a section of their meeting minutes taken from the COVA website at the bottom. It sounds very expensive to me.
On the issue of salary I did a little research on the internet and found the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) within the Department of Labor had a figure for the average salary of an archaeologist working for the State of Virginia. This figure for 2003 was $42,480. The data used by BLS was submitted by employers of VA state archaeologists, in this case the state of Virginia. The position in the bill for a state archaeologist was funded at a level of $96,039. Of course this figure includes benefits but at more than double the salary of the average state archaeologist, it may be too high.
Some thought that because the way the original bill and summary were written this was a bill to establish a new director at DHR. They thought the use of the term "state archaeologist" was an error or only meant that the person must be a qualified archaeologist. Now the duties of the new position are the same as the DHR director. This view also appears to be supported by the high salary for the position. Could this higher salary support establishing another section or hiring additional employees to work under the "state archaeologist"? Perhaps, I am wrong and most of this money is for overhead and not salary. I cannot tell because there is no description for the duties of the new "state archaeologist" nor is the figure broken down in the impact statement.
Please before you vote ask for a description of the duties for this new position. Assisting the Director of DHR with her duties is not sufficient. Please before you vote examine the salary for this position and see that it is not excessive. If COVA is planning to establish another section at DHR it will be expensive.
In the same document they mention paying for easements. I believe other localities have tried this and stopped because it was too expensive. Why even start in Virginia?
Also the way these organization run together bothers me. Past organization officers are state employees, state employees are organization members, funding seem flexible enough to be transferred between groups. I am not saying I know of any illegal activities but when past COVA officers are passing out funds to COVA I wonder if this is free of conflict of interest. (HB2079).
I have much more to say than you will read so I will stop.
Thank You for your attention,
From Internet Website:
B. American Digger/DIV/Looting (Heath)
Hardison explained the history of how the archaeological community came to hear about the incidents of group looting on private sites in Virginia. Specifically, a dig occurred in March on a Civil War site that attracted about 60 people. On November 12 through 14th, there is a similar dig in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Participants pay to be involved in the artifact hunt. Hardison contacted COVA and ASV and asked them to write letter of guidance to DHR on what to do about this issue. Heath set up meeting with DHR in October. Hardison stated that ASV supports COVA on this issue. There was some discussion of protesting the November event either in person or in the media. Heath relayed that the EB talked about what COVA might do to work towards hindering the looting and collecting/sale of artifacts. Some of the issues the EB discussed included: if we want to pursue local or state legislation; reworking regulations on excavating human burials on private property; advocating for a state archaeologist to deal with and be the point person for these issues; and the strong private property rights movement in Virginia. Cressey talked to her delegate (Marian Vanlaningham) to promote state action.
Ideas and suggestions were sought from the membership. Geier emphasized being careful of portraying the collector as the enemy. MacCord echoed this sentiment and offered two approaches: 1) make friends with the collectors, harness their information, and record what they find; 2) give them the authority to designate state archaeological sites. If we want the landowner to protect a site, we need to show them how important it is. We should use their enthusiasm for archaeology and the past to our benefit. Julie Ernstein cited her experience in working for the state of Maryland - one of most useful techniques for preserving sites on private land was the purchase of easements. She stated that if this organized looting was occurring in Maryland, the state archaeologists would join with the statewide preservation advocacy group because they already employ a lobbyist. Heath noted that this had been recommended; another suggestion is to partner with the Civil War battlefield group. Boyd argued that the only way to stop this is public education and urged COVA to write letters, talk to people, and flood newspapers with letters to editor. Heath worried about getting our message out to those outside of the archaeological community. Hardison mentioned that the individuals in ASV are looking for professional guidance to lead them on this matter. Wormser offered to contact the Texas state archaeologist who is dealing with a similar group. He suggested that ARPA might fit if the looters took human remains across state lines, even if it was excavated from private property. Duncan argued that local legislation is the answer. Cressey offered a broader perspective and proposed that a group start working on a complete strategy for the next 20 years. Cressey feels that archaeologists must participate in our community organizations as a public service and do more than be 'good diggers.' She would like to ask the state to begin to look at funds to hire advertising professionals to develop a "Save Virginia's Past" campaign. Johnson agreed that we need a coherent, long term strategy to deal with the public's attitude towards their past, specifically archaeological sites. Turner suggested that the Threatened Sites Committee address this, look at options and make recommendations to EB and COVA. The APVA has funds for the purchase of properties and easements, which might be something to look into. Heath concluded the discussion by directing the membership to get information and ideas to Geier by the winter meeting.
Kind of long but it is here. So you have the facts in case you need them to include in emails.
SUMMARY OF BILL
Summary as passed House:
Virginia Antiquities Act; penalties. Authorizes the creation of the position of State Archaeologist, who shall assist the Director of the Department of Historic Resources in carrying out the agency's responsibilities.
HOUSE BILL NO. 2078
AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
(Proposed by the House Committee on Appropriations
on February 3, 2005)
(Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Van Landingham)
A BILL to amend and reenact ?? 10.1-2300 and 10.1-2301 of the Code of Virginia, relating to the State Archeologist.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That ?? 10.1-2300 and 10.1-2301 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted, as follows:
? 10.1-2300. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:
"Field investigation" means the study of the traces of human culture at any site by means of surveying, sampling, excavating, or removing surface or subsurface material, or going on a site with that intent.
"Object of antiquity" means any relic, artifact, remain, including human skeletal remains, specimen, or other archaeological article that may be found on, in or below the surface of the earth which has historic, scientific, archaeologic or educational value.
"Person" means any natural individual, partnership, association, corporation or other legal entity.
"Site" means a geographical area on dry land that contains any evidence of human activity which is or may be the source of important historic, scientific, archaeologic or educational data or objects.
"State archaeological site" means an area designated by the Department in which it is reasonable to expect to find objects of antiquity.
"State archaeological zone" means an interrelated grouping of state archaeological sites.
"State archaeologist" means the individual designated pursuant to ? 10.1-2301.
"State-controlled land" means any land owned by the Commonwealth or under the primary administrative jurisdiction of any state agency. State agency shall not mean any county, city or town, or any board or authority organized under state law to perform local or regional functions. Such land includes but is not limited to state parks, state wildlife areas, state recreation areas, highway rights-of-way and state-owned easements.
? 10.1-2301. Duties of Director.
The Director shall:
1. Coordinate all archaeological research on state-controlled land and in state archaeological sites and zones;
2. Coordinate a survey of significant archaeological sites located on state-controlled land, and upon request, survey and officially recognize significant archaeological sites on privately owned property;
3. Identify, evaluate, preserve and protect sites and objects of antiquity which have historic, scientific, archaeologic or educational value and are located on state-controlled land or on state archaeological sites or zones;
4. Protect archaeological sites and objects located on state-controlled land or on state archaeological sites or zones from neglect, desecration, damage and destruction;
5. Ensure that archaeological sites and objects located on state-controlled land or on state archaeological sites or zones are identified, evaluated and properly explored so that adequate records may be made;
6. Encourage private owners of designated state archaeological sites to cooperate with the Commonwealth to preserve the site; and
7. Encourage a statewide archaeological education program to inform the general public of the importance of its irreplaceable archaeological heritage. ; and
8. Designate the State Archaeologist to (i) assist the Director by coordinating, overseeing, or otherwise carrying out the provisions of this chapter and (ii) perform such other duties as required by the Director. The State Archaeologist shall be a technically trained archaeologist and shall have both a practical and theoretical knowledge of archaeology.
Department of Planning and Budget
2005 Fiscal Impact Statement
1. Bill Number HB2078
House of Origin Introduced Substitute Engrossed
Second House In Committee Substitute Enrolled
2. Patron Van Landingham
3. Committee H. Appropriations
4. Title Virginia Antiquities Act; creation of State Archaeology position.
5. Summary/Purpose: Authorizes the creation of the position of State Archaeologist, who
shall assist the Director of the Department of Historic Resources in carrying out the agency's
6. Fiscal Impact Estimates are preliminary:
6a. Expenditure Impact:
Fiscal Year Dollars Positions Fund
2004-05 - - -
2005-06 96,039 1.00 GF
2006-07 97,265 1.00 GF
2007-08 97,265 1.00 GF
2008-09 97,265 1.00 GF
2009-10 97,265 1.00 GF
2010-11 97,265 1.00 GF
7. Budget amendment necessary: Yes. Item 396
8. Fiscal implications: The restoration of the State Archaeologist position requires addition of
one FTE and associated salary, benefits, and operating costs as estimated above.
9. Specific agency or political subdivisions affected: Department of Historic Resources
10. Technical amendment necessary: No
11. Other comments: None
Date: 02/08/05 / dma
Document: G:\Ga Sessions\2005 Session\2005 Fis\Hb2078h1.Doc
cc: Secretary of Natural Resources
Feb 13, 2005, 08:45 AM
Feb 14, 2005, 08:21 AM