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Update 3/31/2012: Last week many emails were sent to Kentucky House Representative Leslie Combs asking her not to hold HB 352 in committee. All of our requests have fallen of deaf ears.
Earlier this month, the Senate version of the bill to allow metal detecting on state land was put to a vote and passed. House Representative Leslie Combs, who is supposed to serve and represent the people of KY, has taken it upon herself NOT to present HB352 for a vote on the House floor. She has frozen this bill in committee clearly listening to special interests and not the people. There are many House Representatives that do support HB352 but this does not matter to Representative Combs. Please take these steps at once:
- Call 1-800-372-7181
- Ask to leave a message for ALL of the HOUSE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT and ENERGY COMMITTEE members.
- Ask them to allow the bill to move forward for a vote in the House THIS SESSION.
If the committee members do not act immediately, this bill may be shelved until January 2013. Our friends in Kentucky need our help so please take a moment and call Monday and Tuesday.
Our work is only half done. The bill passed in the Senate but now it is before the House HB 352. This bill will allow metal detecting on KY state land. Since the archeological community lost the battle in the Senate, they are really turning up the heat now. If we all do not band together again, there is a chance this bill will not pass. The bill will be voted on shortly. Your voice is needed so please have your voice heard TODAY. Scott Clark brings up some excellent points on his blog that you may want to use in your email.
Reach all Kentucky State Representatives with one email. Click on the link below and then paste all of the email addresses into the “To:” field by right clicking your mouse then select “paste” or by using the key board hitting “Ctrl V”.
Microsoft Outlook Users, please use this link instead:
Having trouble getting this to work?
Click inside the textbox to select all of the email addresses. Copy them by right-clicking your mouse and selecting “copy”, or by using the key board and hitting “Ctrl C”. Then open a new email using your program of choice, and paste the email addresses into the “To:” field by right-clicking your mouse and selecting “paste”, or by using the key board and hitting “Ctrl V”.
You can also voice your opinion to all of the Representatives by calling 800 372 7181.
Below are bullet points already sent by the Archeological community to all of the Representatives. They are basically calling all of us looters and thieves. Please read these points and keep them in mind when putting your email together. Some of their points are disturbing and baseless. Remember that according to the federal ARPA law, coins are not considered artifacts and 99% of what we find in parks and beaches are coins. We also DO NOT hunt on posted historic sites as they suggest. Let the Representatives know in a polite and respectful way that we are law abiding citizens that wish to enjoy the lawful hobby of recreational metal detecting.
This ill conceived, odious bill will be a dream come true for every looter and thief if it becomes law.
Consider these points about House Bill 352:
- It violates and contradicts several existing state laws, including the Kentucky Antiquities Act (KRS164.705, KRS 164.735, KRS164.990), that protect archaeological and historic sites on state lands from being looted. At present, looting on public lands is a felony.
- It ignores a state law that requires a permit be issued to anyone intending to excavate for artifacts on all public lands.
- It will allow any person, regardless of qualifications, to disturb/destroy any site on public lands.
- All artifacts removed from public lands under the umbrella of this proposed law will be in private hands, to be bought and sold, dispersed without regard to place of origin, and not available for public enjoyment or education.
- Sites cannot be reconstructed and removal of artifacts from a site destroys the site. That’s why professional archaeologists use meticulous care and specialized techniques to excavate and study sites. HB352 will allow looters to completely destroy sites important to the heritage of the Commonwealth for their personal gain.
- Artifacts stolen from sites by looters with metal detectors lose all of their scientific and historic value because the artifacts are taken out of their original context, which is, removed from their relationship with other artifacts /features / structures at the site. Disarticulated artifacts have only monetary value to the looter.
- The public and the state derive nothing of value from cultural materials that are removed from sites on public lands by unqualified persons.
- HB352, if enacted, will be a license to steal. It doesn’t provide a method or funds to police persons using metal detectors to remove cultural materials from public lands. Artifacts important to our common heritage will benefit only the looters and people with enough money to purchase the right to see or possess these irreplaceable artifacts.
- Looted artifacts – artifacts taken from their original contexts using nonscientific methods, such as that proposed by the supporters and sponsors of this bill – offered in the marketplace will only stimulate more looting and destruction of Kentucky’s heritage
- HB352 provides no funds or guidelines for repairing the landscaping on state, county and city parks when looters armed with metal detectors start digging up the turf and environmentally sensitive areas.
- Is the state prepared to accept liability when other citizens using the parks injure themselves by tripping in davits or sunken holes created by looters this proposed law will sanction?
- Public lands encompassing battlefields will be particularly targeted by metal detecting looters. Good men of high ideals suffered, bled and died on such fields. It makes my skin crawl to think that our state government would allow greedy, treasure hunters to profit by exhuming the accouterments of our honored dead.
No rationale presented by the supporters and sponsors of House Bill 352 can possibly mollify or justify why such an egregious affront to the sensibilities of all ethical Kentuckians should become law. HB352 should never have passed out of committee during this or any other session of the legislature. I urge you to reject HB 352, uphold and enforce existing law, protect and preserve the shared heritage of the Commonwealth and set an example for our sister states to know that Kentucky is not for sale.
Updated March 7, 2012—Congratulations! Your voice made a difference in Kentucky – SB 105 passed!
We should have a house bill number shortly. When we do, we will notify you along with a link so you can send one email and reach all of the Representatives in KY.
Remember, The archeological community is still putting pressure on the legislators and we can expect them to increase their efforts since they lost their battle in the Senate.
The Task Force will keep you posted.
Updated March 1st, 2012 – In order for Louisville to have any chance of opening their city parks to metal detecting, the Kentucky State Laws need to change. SB 105 is being reviewed now and, if passed, will allow metal detecting on KY state land. The archeological community has been sending well written articulate letters to the KY Senators asking them to vote NO to SB 105. If we all do not band together, there is a good chance this bill will not pass.
Let the Senators know in a polite and respectful way that we are law abiding citizens that wish to enjoy the lawful hobby of recreational metal detecting. Below is a letter sent from Scott Clark to the KY Senators. His tone is rational, respectful and frankly its hard to argue with his points. Please read his letter and use any points you agree with in your email to the Senators.
The bill is being read on the floor and will be voted on shortly. Your voice is needed so please have your voice heard TODAY and email the KY Senators.
(letter from Scott Clark)
I am a member of the Responsible Metal Detecting Community,
We would like to voice our support for SB 105 (BR 1240) an Act introduced by D. Seum and P. Hornback.
We implore that you, our representatives, protect our rights to enjoy the legal and healthful pastime of Recreational and Responsible Metal Detecting, and would like to counter some of the myths you may have heard from the opposition.
There are special interest groups that will have you believe that we are destroying history for our own profit, removing them from the collective history of the Commonwealth. But they do not tell you the side effects of their policy.
Existing laws are condemning the hand-crafted, metallic artifacts of our Commonwealth to the ravages of time.
Metallic artifacts are transient, that is, they degrade rather quickly when exposed to the soil or weather. Iron, Brass, Bronze and Copper artifacts have a very limited lifetime and are soon reclaimed by nature, damaged or covered by development or erosion, or simply thrown away with trash or topsoil.
Metal detectorists are excellent stewards of public lands. We leave land in better condition than before we arrived, remove trash, fill holes, and report illegal activity to authorities.
It’s true…Archaeological / Preservation interests are able excavate and preserve a small percentage, but the vast majority will be lost. We consider this “looting by legislation” and is an unacceptable way to treat these items. The items are gone, as is their historical context.
We support the rigorous study of our Commonwealth by qualified educational institutions and will often provide our voluntary services to assist them if our skills are helpful.
Metallic artifacts are crafted by hands of our ancestors. They reflect the sensibilities, limed resources and aesthetics shared among those who were part of our Commonwealth’s history. Their construction reflects the ingenuity and time required to take limited resources and improve their lives, feed their family or even fight for their beliefs.
Historical context is important to us, too.
With assistance and education from archaeologists, we are willing to share in the cataloging of important artifacts found on public lands. Together we can contribute to the data set which describes our history.
Many of our finds end up in historic / educational institutions where the public can enjoy them
Sharing and donating our finds is common in our hobby. Museums and historical foundations are filled with educational assets provided by amateur detectorists. In the United Kingdom, metal detectorists are credited with saving the history of that ancient land.
Don’t believe the myths. We are not looters out for profit.
If you would like more information about Metal Detecting, you can go to the web site of the national non profit foundation that supports our hobby. there you can review our “Code of Ethics” for Metal Detectorists, and other informative material:
Please support the members of your constancy, and citizens throughout this great commonwealth.
Below are the details of SB 105.
SB 105 (BR 1240) – D. Seum, P. Hornback
AN ACT relating to metal detectors in state parks.
Create a new section of KRS Chapter 148 to define “metal detector” and “public area”; allow use of metal detectors in public areas; require registration of use of metal detector within state park or monument office; amend KRS 148.991 to provide a penalty for violation.
You may also call 1 (800) 321-7181 to voice support for Senate Bill 105, pertaining to allowing metal detecting in State Parks.