AN ACT RELATIVE TO NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commonwealth shall recognize the Essex National Heritage Area, the John H. Chafee Blackstone river valley national heritage corridor, the Quinebaug and Shetucket rivers valley national heritage corridor, the Upper Housatonic National Heritage Area, and the Freedoms Way National Heritage Area and the administrative entity of each area hereinafter the Areas, proper and consistent with the areas’ designation by the United States Congress recognition as a public service entity by the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Recognition of the areas shall not diminish, enlarge or modify any right of the commonwealth, or any political subdivision thereof, to exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction or to carry out state laws, rules and regulations within the area.
SECTION 2. The areas, in their capacity as not-for-profit charitable organizations under section 501(c)3 of the Federal tax code, and by providing essential services to the people, businesses, organizations and communities of the commonwealth and in particular the areas’ counties of origin; through the preservation, promotion and interpretation of the unique historical, cultural and national resources of the areas and their collaborative efforts to build regional partnerships with local organizations, institutions, businesses, sites, municipalities, agencies, individuals and groups that further advance those services, are hereby acknowledged to be entities in the service of the public good of the commonwealth. The areas may receive such appropriations as the court shall from time to time allow.
SECTION 3. Nothing in this act or in the eligibility to receive appropriations as recognized by this act shall interfere with or modify the rights or responsibilities of the areas, their officers, employees or agents or of the commonwealth or any subdivision thereof.
SECTION 4. Each state agency, department, board and commission: (1) shall consider Massachusetts’ Heritage Areas when developing planning documents and processes; and (2) may partner with the managing entities of such areas on projects concerning, but not limited to, environmental protection, heritage resource preservation, recreation, tourism and trail development.