Text: H.R.555 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

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--H.R.555--
H.R.555
One Hundred Second Congress of the United States of America
AT THE FIRST SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday, the third day of January,
one thousand nine hundred and ninety-one
An Act
To amend the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 to improve
and clarify the protections provided by that Act; to amend title 38, United
States Code, to clarify veterans' reemployment rights and to improve veterans'
rights to reinstatement of health insurance, and for other purposes.
 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
 States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
 This Act may be cited as the `Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act
 Amendments of 1991'.
SEC. 2. EVICTION AND DISTRESS DURING MILITARY SERVICE.
 (a) INCREASED MAXIMUM RENTAL AMOUNT FOR APPLICABILITY OF STAY- Section 300
 of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 (50 U.S.C. App. 530)
 is amended by striking out `$150' in subsection (1) and inserting in lieu
 thereof `$1,200'.
 (b) TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS- Such section is further amended--
 (1) by redesignating subsections (1), (2), (3), and (4) as subsections (a),
 (b), (c), and (d), respectively; and
 (2) in subsection (c), as so redesignated, by striking out `subsection (1)
 hereof' and inserting in lieu thereof `subsection (a)'.
 (c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendment made by subsection (a) applies to actions
 for eviction or distress that are commenced after July 31, 1990.
SEC. 3. EXTENSION OF POWER OF ATTORNEY PROTECTION.
 Subsection (c) of section 701 of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief
 Act of 1940 (50 U.S.C. App. 591) is amended to read as follows:
 `(c) This section applies to the following powers of attorney executed by a
 person in military service or under a call or order to report for military
 service (or who has been advised by an official of the Department of Defense
 that such person may receive such a call or order):
 `(1) A power of attorney that is executed during the Vietnam era (as defined
 in section 101(29) of title 38, United States Code).
 `(2) A power of attorney that expires by its terms after July 31, 1990.'.
SEC. 4. PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR CERTAIN PERSONS ORDERED TO
ACTIVE DUTY IN THE ARMED FORCES.
 Article VII of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 is
 amended by adding at the end the following new section:
 `SEC. 702. (a) This section applies to a person who--
 `(1) after July 31, 1990, is ordered to active duty (other than for training)
 pursuant to section 672 (a) or (g), 673, 673b, 674, 675, or 688 of title 10,
 United States Code, or who is ordered to active duty under section 672(d)
 of such title during a period when members are on active duty pursuant to
 any of the preceding sections; and
 `(2) immediately before receiving the order to active duty--
 `(A) was engaged in the furnishing of health-care services or other services
 determined by the Secretary of Defense to be professional services; and
 `(B) had in effect a professional liability insurance policy that does
 not continue to cover claims filed with respect to such person during the
 period of the person's active duty unless the premiums are paid for such
 coverage for such period.
 `(b)(1) Coverage of a person referred to in subsection (a) by a professional
 liability insurance policy shall be suspended in accordance with this
 subsection upon receipt of the written request of such person by the
 insurance carrier.
 `(2) A professional liability insurance carrier--
 `(A) may not require that premiums be paid by or on behalf of a person for
 any professional liability insurance coverage suspended pursuant to paragraph
 (1); and
 `(B) shall refund any amount paid for coverage for the period of such
 suspension or, upon the election of such person, apply such amount for the
 payment of any premium becoming due upon the reinstatement of such coverage.
 `(3) A professional liability insurance carrier shall not be liable with
 respect to any claim that is based on professional conduct (including
 any failure to take any action in a professional capacity) of a person
 that occurs during a period of suspension of that person's professional
 liability insurance under this subsection.  For the purposes of the
 preceding sentence, a claim based upon the failure of a professional to
 make adequate provision for patients to be cared for during the period
 of the professional's active duty service shall be considered to be based
 on an action or failure to take action before the beginning of the period
 of suspension of professional liability insurance under this subsection,
 except in a case in which professional services were provided after the
 date of the beginning of such period.
 `(c)(1) Professional liability insurance coverage suspended in the case of
 any person pursuant to subsection (b) shall be reinstated by the insurance
 carrier on the date on which that person transmits to the insurance carrier
 a written request for reinstatement.
 `(2) The request of a person for reinstatement shall be effective only
 if the person transmits the request to the insurance carrier within 30
 days after the date on which the person is released from active duty. The
 insurance carrier shall notify the person of the due date for payment of
 the premium of such insurance.  Such premium shall be paid by the person
 within 30 days after the receipt of that notice.
 `(3) The period for which professional liability insurance coverage shall
 be reinstated for a person under this subsection may not be less than the
 balance of the period for which coverage would have continued under the
 insurance policy if the coverage had not been suspended.
 `(d) An insurance carrier may not increase the amount of the premium charged
 for professional liability insurance coverage of any person for the minimum
 period of the reinstatement of such coverage required under subsection (c)(3)
 to an amount greater than the amount chargeable for such coverage for such
 period before the suspension, except to the extent of any general increase
 in the premium amounts charged by that carrier for the same professional
 liability coverage for persons similarly covered by such insurance during
 the period of the suspension.
 `(e) This section does not--
 `(1) require a suspension of professional liability insurance coverage for
 any person who is not a person referred to in subsection (a) and who is
 covered by the same professional liability insurance as a person referred
 to in such subsection; or
 `(2) relieve any person of the obligation to pay premiums for the coverage
 not required to be suspended.
 `(f)(1) A civil or administrative action for damages on the basis of
 the alleged professional negligence or other professional liability of a
 person whose professional liability insurance coverage has been suspended
 under subsection (b) shall be stayed until the end of the period of the
 suspension if--
 `(A) the action was commenced during that period;
 `(B) the action is based on an act or omission that occurred before the
 date on which the suspension became effective; and
 `(C) the suspended professional liability insurance would, except for
 the suspension, on its face cover the alleged professional negligence or
 other professional liability negligence or other professional liability of
 the person.
 `(2) Whenever a civil or administrative action for damages is stayed under
 paragraph (1) in the case of any person, the action shall be deemed to
 have been filed on the date on which the professional liability insurance
 coverage of such person is reinstated under subsection (c).
 `(g) In the case of a civil or administrative action for which a stay
 could have been granted under subsection (f) by reason of the suspension
 of professional liability insurance coverage of the defendant under this
 section, the period of the suspension of the coverage shall be excluded from
 the computation of any statutory period of limitation on the commencement
 of such action.
 `(h) If a person whose professional liability insurance coverage is suspended
 under subsection (b) dies during the period of the suspension--
 `(1) the requirement for the grant or continuance of a stay in any civil
 or administrative action against such person under subsection (f)(1) shall
 terminate on the date of the death of such person; and
 `(2) the carrier of the professional liability insurance so suspended shall
 be liable for any claim for damages for professional negligence or other
 professional liability of the deceased person in the same manner and to the
 same extent as such carrier would be liable if the person had died while
 covered by such insurance but before the claim was filed.
 `(i) In this section:
 `(1) The term `active duty' has the meaning given that term in section 101
 of title 10, United States Code.
 `(2) The term `profession' includes occupation.
 `(3) The term `professional' includes occupational.'.
SEC. 5. HEALTH INSURANCE REINSTATEMENT UPON REEMPLOYMENT.
 (a) AMENDMENT TO TITLE 38- Paragraph (1) of section 2021(b) of title 38,
 United States Code, is amended--
 (1) by inserting `(A)' after `(b)(1)'; and
 (2) by adding at the end the following:
 `(B) In the case of employer-offered health insurance, an exclusion or
 waiting period may not be imposed in connection with coverage of a health
 or physical condition of a person entitled to participate in that insurance
 under subparagraph (A), or a health or physical condition of any other person
 who is covered by the insurance by reason of the coverage of such person, if--
 `(i) the condition arose before or during that person's period of training
 or service in the Armed Forces;
 `(ii) an exclusion or waiting period would not have been imposed for the
 condition during a period of coverage resulting from participation by such
 person in the insurance; and
 `(iii) the condition of such person has not been determined by the Secretary
 to be service-connected.'.
 (b) AMENDMENT TO SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' CIVIL RELIEF ACT OF 1940- Article
 VII of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 is amended by
 adding after section 702, as added by section 4, the following new section:
 `SEC. 703. (a) A person who, by reason of military service described in
 section 702(a)(1), is entitled to the rights and benefits of this Act shall
 also be entitled upon release from such military service to reinstatement of
 any health insurance which (1) was in effect on the day before such service
 commenced, and (2) was terminated effective on a date during the period of
 such service.
 `(b) An exclusion or a waiting period may not be imposed in connection with
 reinstatement of health insurance coverage of a health or physical condition
 of a person under subsection (a), or a health or physical condition of any
 other person who is covered by the insurance by reason of the coverage of
 such person, if--
 `(1) the condition arose before or during that person's period of training
 or service in the Armed Forces;
 `(2) an exclusion or waiting period would not have been imposed for the
 condition during a period of coverage resulting from participation by such
 person in the insurance; and
 `(3) the condition of such person has not been determined by the Secretary
 of Veterans Affairs to be a disability incurred or aggravated in the line
 of duty (within the meaning of section 105 of title 38, United States Code).
 `(c) Subsection (a) does not apply in the case of employer-offered insurance
 benefits in which a person referred to in such  subsection is entitled to
 participate pursuant to the provisions of chapter 43 of title 38, United
 States Code.'.
 (c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this section shall take effect
 as of August 1, 1990.
SEC. 6. STAY OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS.
 (a) STAY OF ACTION OR PROCEEDING- In any judicial action or proceeding
 (other than a criminal proceeding) in which a member of the Armed Forces
 described in subsection (b) is involved (either as plaintiff or defendant),
 the court shall, upon application by such member (or some other person on
 the member's behalf) at any stage before final judgment is entered, stay
 the action or proceeding until a date after June 30, 1991.
 (b) MEMBERS COVERED- A member of the Armed Forces is covered by subsection
 (a) if at the time of application for the stay of a judicial action or
 proceeding the member--
 (1) is on active duty; and
 (2) is serving outside the State in which the court having jurisdiction
 over the action or proceeding is located.
 (c) DEFINITION- For purposes of this section, the term `State' includes the
 District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands,
 and Guam.
SEC. 7. EXERCISE OF RIGHTS UNDER ACT NOT TO AFFECT CERTAIN FUTURE FINANCIAL
TRANSACTIONS.
 Article I of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 (50
 U.S.C. App. 510 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following
 new section:
 `SEC. 108. Application by a person in military service for, or receipt
 by a person in military service of, a stay, postponement, or suspension
 pursuant to the provisions of this Act in the payment of any tax, fine,
 penalty, insurance premium, or other civil obligation or liability of that
 person shall not itself (without regard to other considerations) provide
 the basis for any of the following:
 `(1) A determination by any lender or other person that such person in
 military service is unable to pay such civil obligation or liability in
 accordance with its terms.
 `(2) With respect to a credit transaction between a creditor and such person
 in military service--
 `(A) a denial or revocation of credit by the creditor;
 `(B) a change by the creditor in the terms of an existing credit arrangement;
 or
 `(C) a refusal by the creditor to grant credit to such person in substantially
 the amount or on substantially the terms requested.
 `(3) An adverse report relating to the creditworthiness of such person in
 military service by or to any person or entity engaged in the practice of
 assembling or evaluating consumer credit information.
 `(4) A refusal by an insurer to insure such person.'.
SEC. 8. CLARIFICATION OF TITLE 38 REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS COVERAGE FOR RESERVISTS.
 (a) IN GENERAL- (1) Subsection (g) of section 2024 of title 38, United
 States Code, is amended--
 (A) by striking out `active duty for not more than 90 days' and inserting
 in lieu thereof `active duty (other than for training)'; and
 (B) by inserting `, including any period of extension of active duty under
 section 673b of title 10' before the period at the end.
 (2) The amendments made by paragraph (1) shall apply to any member of a
 reserve component of the Armed Forces who is ordered to active duty (other
 than for training) under section 673b of title 10, United States Code,
 after July 31, 1990.
 (b) TECHNICAL AMENDMENT- (1) Subsection (a) of such section is amended by
 striking out `provided for by this section' and inserting in lieu thereof
 `provided for by this chapter'.
 (2) The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall take effect as of December
 3, 1974.
SEC. 9. TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS TO SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' CIVIL RELIEF ACT
OF 1940.
 The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 is amended as follows:
 (1) Section 101 (50 U.S.C. App. 511) is amended--
 (A) in paragraph (1), by inserting `the Air Force,' after `the Marine
 Corps,'; and
 (B) in paragraph (2), by striking out `shall include' and all that follows
 through `discharge' and inserting in lieu thereof `means, in the case of
 any person, the period beginning on the date on which the person enters
 active service and ending on the date of the person's release'.
 (2) Section 102 (50 U.S.C. App. 512) is amended by striking out `, including
 the Philippine Islands while under the sovereignty of the United States,'.
 (3) Section 103(4) (50 U.S.C. App. 513(4)) is amended by striking out `after
 the date of the enactment of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act
 Amendments of 1942'.
 (4) Section 105 (50 U.S.C. App. 515) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `The Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy' and
 all that follows through `to insure' in the first sentence and inserting in
 lieu thereof `The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Transportation,
 with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in
 the Navy, shall ensure'; and
 (B) by striking out `the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy'
 in the second sentence and inserting in lieu thereof `the Secretary of
 Defense and the Secretary of Transportation'.
 (5) Section 106 (50 U.S.C. App. 516) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as
 amended,' and inserting in lieu thereof `Military Selective Service Act
 (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.)';
 (B) by striking out `the Enlisted Reserve Corps' and inserting in lieu
 thereof `a reserve component of the Armed Forces'; and
 (C) by striking out `he reports for such service' and inserting in lieu
 thereof `such member reports for military service or the date on which the
 order is revoked, whichever is earlier'.
 (6) Section 205 (50 U.S.C. App. 525) is amended by striking out `the date
 of enactment of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act Amendments of
 1942' and inserting in lieu thereof `October 6, 1942'.
 (7) Section 206 (50 U.S.C. App. 526) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `per centum per annum' each place it appears and
 inserting in lieu thereof `percent per year'; and
 (B) by striking out `prior to his entry' and all that follows through
 `bear interest' and inserting in lieu thereof `before that person's entry
 into that service shall, during any part of the period of military service,
 bear interest'.
 (8) Section 300 (50 U.S.C. App. 530) is amended--
 (A) in subsection (c), as redesignated by section 2(b), by striking out
 `shall be guilty' and all that follows through `$1,000,' and inserting in
 lieu thereof `shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States Code,
 or imprisoned for not to exceed one year,'; and
 (B) in subsection (d), as redesignated by section 2(b), by striking out
 `Secretary of War,' and all that follows through `as the case may be,'
 and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary of Defense or Secretary of
 Transportation, with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating
 as a service in the  Navy,'.
 (9) Sections 301(2), 302(4), 304(3), and 305(3) (50 U.S.C. App. 531(2),
 532(4), 534(3), 535(3)) are amended by striking out `shall be guilty' and
 all that follows through `$1,000,' and inserting in lieu thereof `shall be
 fined as provided in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not
 to exceed one year,'.
 (10) Section 302(3) (50 U.S.C. App. 532(3)) is amended by striking out
 `after the date of enactment of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief
 Act Amendments of 1942 and'.
 (11) Section 400(a) (50 U.S.C. App. 540(a)) is amended by striking out
 `before the date of enactment of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief
 Act Amendments of 1942 or not less than one hundred and eighty days before'
 in clause (2) and inserting in lieu thereof `not less than 180 days before'.
 (12) Section 401 (50 U.S.C. App. 541) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `Administrator of Veterans' Affairs' in the first
 sentence and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary of Veterans Affairs';
 (B) by striking out `Veterans' Administration' both places it appears and
 inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary'; and
 (C) by striking out `Administrator' in the last sentence and inserting in
 lieu thereof `Secretary'.
 (13) Section 402 (50 U.S.C. App. 542) is amended--
 (A) in the first sentence, by striking out `Veterans' Administration'
 and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary of Veterans Affairs'; and
 (B) in the second sentence, by striking out `Veterans' Administration'
 and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary'.
 (14) Section 403 (50 U.S.C. App. 543) is amended--
 (A) in the first sentence, by striking out `Administrator of Veterans'
 Affairs' and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary of Veterans Affairs'; and
 (B) in the second sentence, by striking out `Administrator of Veterans'
 Affairs' and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary'.
 (15) Section 404 (50 U.S.C. App. 544) is amended by striking out `Veterans'
 Administration' both places it appears and inserting in lieu thereof
 `Secretary of Veterans Affairs'.
 (16) Section 405 (50 U.S.C. App. 545) is amended by striking out
 `Administrator of Veterans' Affairs' and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary
 of Veterans Affairs'.
 (17) Section 407 (50 U.S.C. App. 547) is amended--
 (A) in the first sentence, by striking out `The Administrator of Veterans'
 Affairs is hereby authorized and directed to' and inserting in lieu thereof
 `The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall'; and
 (B) in the second sentence, by striking out `Administrator of Veterans'
 Affairs' and inserting in lieu thereof `Secretary'.
 (18) Section 408 (50 U.S.C. App. 548) is repealed.
 (19) Section 504(3) (50 U.S.C. App. 564(3)) is amended by striking out
 `within six months after the effective date of this Act or'.
 (20) Section 505(1) (50 U.S.C. App. 565(1)) is amended by inserting `(30
 U.S.C. 28)' after `section 2324 of the Revised Statutes of the United States'.
 (21) Section 506(2) (50 U.S.C. App. 566(2)) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `six months after the effective date of this Act or'; and
 (B) by striking out `General Land Office' and inserting in lieu thereof
 `Bureau of Land Management'.
 (22) Section 507 (50 U.S.C. App. 567) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `General Land Office' in the second sentence and
 inserting in lieu thereof `Bureau of Land Management';
 (B) by striking out `a register of a United States land office' in the
 third sentence and inserting in lieu thereof `an officer designated by the
 Secretary of the Interior'; and
 (C) by striking out `, inclusive' in the last sentence.
 (23) Section 510(2) (50 U.S.C. App. 570(2)) is amended by striking out
 `prior to the effective date of this Act' and inserting in lieu thereof
 `before October 17, 1940'.
 (24) Section 514 (50 U.S.C. App. 574) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `orders: Provided, That nothing' in paragraph (1)
 and inserting in lieu thereof `orders. Nothing'; and
 (B) by striking out `the use thereof:' in paragraph (2) and all that follows
 through `has been paid' and inserting in lieu thereof `the use thereof,
 but only if a license, fee, or excise required by the State or territory,
 possession, or District of Columbia of which the person is a resident or
 in which the person is domiciled has been paid'.
 (25) Section 600 (50 U.S.C. App. 580) is amended by striking out `the date of
 the approval of this Act' and inserting in lieu thereof `October 17, 1940,'.
 (26) Section 601 (50 U.S.C. App. 581) is amended--
 (A) in paragraph (1), by striking out `Chief of the Bureau of Navigation
 of the Navy Department' and inserting in lieu thereof `Chief of Naval
 Personnel'; and
 (B) in paragraph (3)--
 (i) by striking out `Department of War or the Navy' and inserting in lieu
 thereof `Department of Defense'; and
 (ii) by striking out `jurisdiction: Provided, That no' and inserting in
 lieu thereof `jurisdiction. No'.
 (27) Section 604 (50 U.S.C. App. 584) is amended--
 (A) by striking out `1945: Provided, That' and inserting in lieu thereof
 `1945, except that'; and
 (B) by striking out `thereafter: Provided further, That whenever' and
 inserting in lieu thereof `thereafter. Whenever'.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.