This section contains information relating to the laws and documents governing historic preservation that pertain to the mission of the Texas Historical Commission (THC).
- Federal Statutes and Regulations: Federal laws and documents pertaining to standards and regulations associated with the protection and study of historic properties that may be affected by federal activities.
- State Statutes and Rules: Texas laws and rules pertaining to the Texas Historical Commission and to the protection, landmark designation and study of historic properties on non-federal public lands in the state.
- Statutes and Regulations Concerning Local Governments
- Standards and Guidelines: Information and guidelines commonly used in the review and compliance process under both federal and state jurisdiction.
For more information, contact the Archeology Division State and Federal Review Coordinator or call 512/463-5711.
Federal Statutes and Regulations
- National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as Amended (NHPA) (54 USC 300101 et seq.): The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was enacted to ensure that the federal government consult with state and local parties to ensure that federally funded, licensed, or permitted projects avoid, minimize, and mitigate any negative impacts to cultural and historic resources. NHPA is a consultation process with no pre-determined outcomes.
- Protection of Historic Properties (36 CFR Part 800): Regulations created by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for reviews under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. See additional information on the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 106 review on our website.
- National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as Amended (NEPA) (42 USC 4321 et seq.): Similar to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a process with no pre-determined results to weight the impacts to the environment of any federal action. Through Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, the federal entity or its applicant must study impacts to the environment, including to cultural resources; completion of a study under NEPA does not fulfill and agency’s obligations under the NHPA.
- Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) (25 USC 3001 et seq., 43 CFR Part 10): The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) includes provisions for intentional and inadvertent discoveries of Native American cultural items on federal and tribal lands. Cultural items include, but are not limited to, Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and items of cultural patrimony.
- Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as Amended (ARPA) (16 USC 470aa-mm): Strengthened protections of archeological sites on public and Indian lands, including obligation of land-managing agencies and criminal penalties for unauthorized excavations or trafficking of cultural materials.
- Curation of Federally Owned and Administered Archeological Collections (36 CFR Part 79): These regulations establish the definitions, standards, procedures, and guidelines to be followed related to any cultural materials recovered from federal lands.
- Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation (48 FR 44716): These comprehensive standards and guidelines outline steps for preservation planning, as well as identification, evaluation, registration, documentation, and treatment of historic and archeological resources.
- National Register of Historic Places (36 CFR Part 60): Administered by the National Park Service through each state’s Historic Preservation Office, the National Register is the nation’s official list of places identified as worthy of preservation.
- Certified Local Government Regulations (PDF) (36 CFR 61.6): The Certified Local Government (CLG) Program is a local, state and federal government partnership for historic preservation designed to help cities and counties develop high standards of preservation. The Texas Historical Commission administers the program at the state level and the National Park Service is the responsible federal agency.
State Statutes and Rules
- Texas Historical Commission (Texas Government Code, Chapter 442): Texas Government Code, Chapter 442, provides the enabling legislation for the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and defines our functions as an agency. Sections pertain to particular THC programs, including:
- Section 442.006: State Historical Marker Program, including protection of Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks
- Sections 442.008, 442.0081, 442.0082, and 442.0083: County courthouses
- Antiquities Code of Texas (Texas Natural Resource Code, Title 9, Chapter 191): The Antiquities Code of Texas protects archeological and historic sites on state and local public property and establishes the designation of State Antiquities Landmarks (State Archeological Landmarks—Subchapter D, Section 191.091-098).
- Historic Preservation by Counties (Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 318): Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 318, provides for the establishment and operation of County Historical Commissions.
- General Provisions Relating to Cemeteries (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 711): Texas Health and Safety Code contains laws related to cemeteries. See also Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Part 2, Chapter 22 below for rules related to cemeteries. Additionally, Texas Penal Code, Section 31.03 defines theft; Section 42.08 relates to abuse of a corpse.
- Texas Historical Commission (Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Part 2): Texas Administrative Code Title 13, Part 2 contains the Texas Historical Commission’s rules related to the above statutes. The rules pertain to particular THC programs, including:
- Chapter 12: Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program
- Chapter 13: State Franchise Tax Credits for Certified Rehabilitation of Certified Historic Structures New
- Chapter 15, Rule 15.6: Certified Local Governments
- Chapter 17, Rule 17.2: Review of Work on County Courthouses
- Chapter 22: Cemeteries
- Chapter 24: Restricted Cultural Resource Information. The exact mapped location of archeological sites is information that is legally restricted from access by the general public. Professional archeologist and THC archeological stewards can be can become registered users of this data.
- Chapter 26: Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Antiquities Code of Texas, including requirements for State Antiquities Landmark designation and permits. Note: Revisions to these rules were adopted in 2013. Please see the State Antiquities Landmark page for details.
- Chapter 28: Historic Shipwrecks
- Chapter 29: Management and Care of Artifacts and Collections. See also our list of Certified Curatorial Facilities for state-associated held-in-trust collections.
Statutes and Regulations Concerning Local Governments
- Chapter 211 of Local Government Code (LGC) outlines the municipal zoning authority.
- Sec. 211.0165 of the LGC is a recent legislative amendment that discusses the voting requirements for designation of a historic landmark.
- Sec. 214.00111 of the LGC reviews additional authority to preserve a substandard building as a historic property.
- Section 315.006 of the LGC concerns liability for adversely affecting historic structure or property.
- Chapter 318 of the LGC is Historic Preservation by Counties and includes a tax provision.
- Chapter 331 of the LGC is concerning municipal and county authority to acquire and maintain parks, museums, and historic sites.
- Government Code Title 10, Subtitle Z, Chapter 3000 is a recent legislative amendment that discuses material regulations for buildings
- Tax Code Sec. 11.24. HISTORIC SITES permits a partial or full property tax exemption.
- Tax Code Sec. 151.3501. LABOR TO RESTORE, REPAIR, OR REMODEL HISTORIC SITES Exemption for sales tax on labor for restoration of NR listed site
- Education Code Sec. 11.1541 permits the donation of surplus historic school property:
Standards and Guidelines
- Archeological Survey Standards for Texas (pdf) (Texas Historical Commission guidance)
- Council of Texas Archeologists: Guidelines for Cultural Resource Management Reports (pdf): These guidelines and the Chapter 26 Rules are used by professional archeologists in the production of archeological reports.
- Guidance for Studying Late 19th-Century and Early 20th-Century Sites
- Procedures for Archeological Consultants Working In Texas