Summary: H.R.22 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.22. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (01/06/1999)


Title I: Redesignation of the Board of Governors, the

Postmaster General and the Postal Rate Commission

Title II : New System Relating to Postal Rates, Classes, and


Subtitle A: In General

Subtitle B: Related Provisions

Title III: General Authority

Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions Relating to the Budget

and Appropriations Process

Title V: Provisions Relating to Transportation, Carriage, or

Delivery of Mail

Title VI: Studies

Title VII: Inspectors General

Title VIII: Law Enforcement

Subtitle A: Amendments to Title 39, United States Code

Subtitle B: Other Provisions

Postal Modernization Act of 1999 - Title I: Redesignation of the Board of Governors, the Postmaster General and the Postal Rate Commission - Amends Federal law regarding the U.S. Postal Service to redesignate: (1) Governors and the Board of Governors as Directors and the Board of Directors (Board); (2) the Postmaster General as the Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Service (PMG); and (3) the Postal Rate Commission as the Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission).

Title II: New System Relating to Postal Rates, Classes, and Services - Subtitle A: In General - Exempts from the amendments of this title the free mailing privileges of: (1) the diplomatic corps of members of the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain; (2) the blind and other physically handicapped; and (3) balloting materials under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

(Sec. 201) Requires the Service to request the Commission to make a recommended decision on baseline rates for all products in the noncompetitive and in the competitive categories of mail. Sets forth requirements for the rate for products in the reduced-rate category of mail. Declares null and void any rate case pending as of the date of enactment of this Act.

Prescribes limitations on rates for the noncompetitive category of mail, and procedures for determining the adjustment factor to be established for an upcoming five-year ratemaking cycle.

Requires the Board to establish rates for competitive products (priority mail, expedited mail, mailgrams, international mail, and parcel post). Authorizes the Commission to order the Service to discontinue any competitive product which persistently fails to cover its costs. Requires rates for competitive products to cover the collective costs for each year for all competitive and noncompetitive products.

Authorizes the Service to conduct market (including large-scale market) tests of experimental noncompetitive and competitive products, subject to specified requirements.

Prescribes criteria for the identification of noncompetitive and competitive products, and for the transfer of products between categories.

Sets forth reporting and auditing requirements.

(Sec. 202) Authorizes the Service to enter into negotiated service agreements with postal service users in accordance with specified requirements.

Revises procedures for the processing of rate and service complaints.

(Sec. 203) Establishes in the Treasury a revolving Postal Service Competitive Products Fund, available without fiscal-year limitation for the payment of all attributable costs, institutional costs, and other expenses incurred by the Service in providing competitive products.

(Sec. 204) Authorizes the Board to establish under the laws of a State a private, nongovernmental, for-profit USPS Corporation which may offer any postal or nonpostal product or service offered by the Service, acquire shares of individual private companies, and participate in joint ventures with such companies.

Subtitle B: Related Provisions - Sets forth the authority of the Commission to issue subpoenas.

(Sec. 212) Revises eligibility requirements for Commissioners and Directors.

(Sec. 213) Authorizes appropriations for the Commission.

(Sec. 214) Provides for change-of-address orders involving a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA).

(Sec. 215) Provides for the eligibility of certain matter for mailing at specified former rates even though such matter is designed primarily for free circulation or for circulation at nominal rates, or fails to meet certain former requirements.

Title III: General Authority - Revises the rulemaking authority of the Service.

(Sec. 302) Exempts competitive products from the prohibition against the Service's granting any undue and unreasonable preference to any domestic or international user.

(Sec. 303) Authorizes the Service to employ guards for all buildings and areas owned or occupied by, or under the charge and control of, the Service. Specifies that such guards shall have, with respect to such property, the powers of special police officers. Authorizes the Chief Executive Officer to take specified actions with respect to such property.

(Sec. 304) Treats the date of postmark as the date of appeal in connection with the closing or consolidation of post offices.

(Sec. 305) Specifies unfair competition prohibitions for private for-profit USPS Corporations.

(Sec. 306) Revises requirements for international postal arrangements, granting the Secretary of State primary authority for the conduct of foreign policy with respect to international postal and delivery services. Prohibits the Service from tendering exported shipments of international mail to governmental authorities of any country for clearance and importation except in accordance with procedures and laws equally applicable to similar shipments transmitted by private companies. Denies access to special customs procedures to mail shipments imported from a foreign country unless such foreign country makes such special customs procedures available to shipments from the United States by the Service and by private companies.

(Sec. 307) Revises requirements for suits by and against the Service.

Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions Relating to the Budget and Appropriations Process - Amends the Postal Reorganization Act to require the Service, regarding anyone receiving benefits as a former Post Office Department officer or employee, to have the same authorities and responsibilities as it has with respect to a Service officer or employee receiving such benefits.

Title V: Provisions Relating to Transportation, Carriage, or Delivery of Mail - Repeals postal provisions regarding transportation of mail by surface carrier.

(Sec. 501) Repeals the six-year limit on contracts for mail transportation where special conditions apply or special equipment is involved. Allows the Service to determine an advisable or appropriate length of time.

(Sec. 502) Revises the contracting authority of the Service for mail transportation by aircraft.

(Sec. 503) Repeals the Service's authority to suspend the operation of any letter carriage requirements on any mail route when the public interest requires the suspension.

Prescribes requirements for the private carriage of mail.

(Sec. 504) Repeals the Service's authority to impose fines for unreasonable or unnecessary delays or other delinquencies in the air transportation of mail on routes extending beyond U.S. borders.

Title VI: Studies - Directs the Board to provide, by contract, for the National Academy of Public Administration to study and report to the Service, the President, and the Congress on how employee- management relations within the Service may be improved.

(Sec. 602) Directs the Service to study and report to the President, the Congress, and the Commission any recommendations as to the appropriate scope and standards for universal postal services to be assured by the U.S. Government consistent with statutory postal policy and general duties.

(Sec. 603) Directs the Department of Justice to: (1) report to the President and Congress on Federal and State laws that apply differently to Service products in the competitive category and similar products provided by private companies; and (2) recommend measures for ending such legal discrimination.

(Sec. 604) Directs the Board to study and report to the President and Congress on the extent to which women and minorities are represented in supervisory and management positions within the Service.

Requires the Service to take necessary measures to ensure that, for purposes of conducting performance appraisals of supervisory or managerial employees, appropriate consideration be given to: (1) meeting affirmative action goals; (2) achieving equal employment opportunity requirements; and (3) implementing plans designed to achieve greater diversity in the workforce.

(Sec. 605) Requires the Service to develop, be prepared to implement, whenever necessary, and report to its Board and Congress a comprehensive plan under which reemployment assistance shall be afforded to employees displaced as a result of the automation or privatization of any of its functions.

(Sec. 606) Directs the Board to study and report to the President and Congress on the number and value of contracts and subcontracts the Postal Service has entered into with women, minorities, and small businesses.

Title VII: Inspectors General - Amends the Inspector General Act of 1978 to provide for appointment of an Inspector General of the Postal Regulatory Commission and an Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service (the latter appointed by the President).

Title VIII: Law Enforcement - Subtitle A: Amendments to Title 39, United States Code - Makes Federal assault statutes applicable to postal contract employees.

(Sec. 802) Authorizes the court, upon finding that a sexually oriented advertisement has been mailed in violation of postal provisions, to assess a civil penalty. Specifies that each piece of mail sent in violation of such provisions constitutes a separate violation, and any penalty assessed shall be paid to the Service for deposit into the Postal Service Fund. Repeals a prohibition of pandering advertisements.

(Sec. 803) Provides for the deposit in the Fund of amounts (including proceeds from the sale of forfeited items) from any civil forfeiture conducted by the Service and from any forfeiture resulting from an investigation in which the Service has primary responsibility, subject to specified requirements.

(Sec. 804) Sets civil penalties for prohibited mailing and deficient packaging of hazardous matter.

Subtitle B: Other Provisions - Amends the Federal criminal code to set penalties for: (1) stalking Federal and postal officers and employees; and (2) mailing controlled substances, unless in accordance with rules and regulations authorized by the Service.

(Sec. 813) Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to amend its sentencing guidelines to: (1) enhance penalties for stealing or destroying a quantity of undelivered U.S. mail; and (2) establish that the intended loss in a theft of an access device shall be based on the greater of the credit line of such device or the actual unauthorized charges.

(Sec. 814) Modifies the Federal criminal code to: (1) set penalties for breaking into a post office box or postal products vending machine and for receiving, possessing, concealing, or disposing of any mail matter, money, or other U.S. property in violation of post office larceny provisions; (2) increase penalties for assaulting with intent to rob persons having lawful custody of mail, money, or other U.S. property (providing for the death penalty under specified circumstances); and (3) prohibit attempting to use or sell forged or counterfeited postage stamps or meter stamps, stamped envelopes, or postal cards, dies, plates, or engraving, and attempting to loan, use, pledge, hypothecate, or convert to personal use postal funds.