Summary: S.335 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (11/09/1999)

Title I: Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement - Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act - Amends Federal law to revise the current prohibition against mail solicitations by a nongovernmental entity for a product or service, for information, or for the contribution of funds or membership fees, which contain a seal, insignia, trade or brand name which could reasonably be construed as implying any Federal Government connection or endorsement. Prohibits, in addition, any such matter which contains: (1) a reference to the Postmaster General, citation to a Federal statute, or the name of a Federal agency, department, commission, or program; or (2) any reference to the Postmaster General or a citation to a Federal statute that misrepresents either the identity of the mailer or the protection or status afforded such matter by the Federal Government. Allows the mailing of such matter if it meets certain existing requirements and, in addition, does not contain a false representation implying that Federal Government benefits or services will be affected by any purchase, nonpurchase, contribution, or noncontribution.

(Sec.102) Declares nonmailable any matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails if it constitutes a solicitation for the purchase of any product that is provided by and may be obtained without cost from the Federal Government, but does not contain a statement giving notice of such information.

(Sec. 103) Prescribes mailability restrictions and disclosure requirements for sweepstakes, skill contests, and facsimile checks.

Exempts from such restrictions and requirements any matter containing a facsimile check, skill contest, or sweepstakes that appears in a magazine, newspaper, or other periodical if the matter: (1) is not directed to a named individual; or (2) does not include an opportunity to make a payment or order a product or service.

Requires persons who use the mails for any matter containing sweepstakes, skill contests, facsimile checks, or specified related material to adopt reasonable practices and procedures to prevent the mailing of such matter to persons who submit written requests to the mailer or to the attorney general of the appropriate State (who then transmits the request to the mailer) that such materials should not be mailed to them. Requires persons who mail matter to which nonmailability restrictions apply to maintain or cause to be maintained records of all such requests that permit the suppression of the names of such requesters for a five-year period beginning on the date of the written requests.

(Sec. 104) Makes postal law sanctions involving false representations and lotteries applicable to deceptive mailings under this Act.

(Sec. 105) Allows the Postal Service to apply for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctions in the preparation for or during the pendency of proceedings concerning deceptive mailings.

Repeals Federal law provisions declaring it unlawful for any person to obtain or attempt to obtain remittances of money or property of any kind through the mail for an obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy, or vile thing or to deposit or cause to be deposited in the mail information as to where, how, or from whom such a thing may be obtained.

(Sec. 106) Increases civil penalties for violation of current postal law sanctions and establishes civil penalties for violation of this Act.

(Sec. 107) Authorizes the use of administrative subpoenas by the Postmaster General, in accordance with procedures established by the Postal Service, in any investigation involving nonmailable matter. Requires such procedures to require: (1) opening of a specific case with an identified individual or entity before a subpoena is requested; (2) supervisory and legal review of the request; and (3) limitation of subpoena approval authority to the Postal Service General Counsel or Deputy General Counsel. Requires the Postmaster General to report semiannually to the Board of Governors on the number of cases in which such authority was used, and a comprehensive statement describing how.

(Sec. 108) Requires a promoter who originates and mails or causes to be mailed any skill contest or sweepstakes (except those not directed to a named individual, or that do not include an opportunity to make a payment or order a product or service) to: (1) include with each mailing a clearly and conspicuously displayed statement which includes the address or toll-free telephone number of the notification system established under this Act and states that such system may be used to prohibit the mailing of any skill contest or sweepstakes by that promoter to such individual; and (2) establish and maintain a notification system that provides for an individual or other duly authorized person to notify the system of the individual's election to have his or her name and address excluded from all lists of names and addresses used by that promoter to mail such material.

Declares nonmailable any skill contest or sweepstakes otherwise legally acceptable in the mails that is addressed to an individual who made an election to be excluded from the promoter's list.

Authorizes an individual to bring an action for injunctive relief or damages, or both, in an appropriate State court against a promoter if such individual continues to receive such a mailing after requesting that his or her name be removed from the promoter's list.

Prohibits the commercial use of any list of names and addresses compiled from individuals who exercise an election to be excluded from such list.

Establishes civil penalties for: (1) persons who violate the prohibition; and (2) promoters who recklessly mail such nonmailable matter or fail to comply substantially with the notification system requirements.

Title II: Federal Reserve Board Retirement Portability - Federal Reserve Board Retirement Portability Act - Includes as creditable service of a Federal employee or Member of Congress for purposes of Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) provisions a period of service (other than any service already creditable under FERS, any military service, and any service performed in the employ of a Federal Reserve Bank) that was creditable under the Bank Plan (the benefit structure in which employees of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System appointed on or after January 1, 1984, participate), if the employee waives credit for such service under the Bank Plan and makes a payment to the Thrift Savings Fund equal to the amount that would have been deducted from pay had the employee been subject to FERS during such period of service (together with interest on such amount computed).

(Sec. 202) Excludes from participation in FERS any employee or Member who has separated from civilian service after having been subject to the benefit structure for employees of the Board appointed before January 1, 1984, and having at least five years of civilian service (other than any service performed in the employ of a Federal Reserve Bank) creditable under such benefit structure, except for such persons who subsequently enter a position subject to FERS provisions.

Makes the amendments regarding creditability and certain former Board employees applicable only to individuals who separate from service subject to FERS on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 203) Treats as a separation from Government employment, for purposes of the Thrift Savings Plan, any transfer from a position that is subject to FERS, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), or any other retirement system under which individuals may contribute to the Thrift Savings Fund through withholdings from pay, to a position that is not subject to any of them.

(Sec. 204) Amends competitive service examination provisions to: (1) repeal the requirement that the Office of Personnel Management establish an appointing authority to appoint preference eligibles and veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after three or more years of active service; and (2) require such a preference eligible or veteran, if selected, to acquire competitive status and receive a career or career-conditional appointment.

Title III: Amendment to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 - Amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to extend until July 31, 2000, certain authority to transfer surplus Government property required for correctional facility use as needed by States, localities, and territories for law enforcement or emergency management response purposes.

(Sec. 301) Prohibits the Administrator, beginning January 1, 2000, and ending July 31, 2000, from conveying any such property required for such use as needed by States, localities, and territories for the care or rehabilitation of criminal offenders. Allows the Administrator, however, during such period, to accept, consider, and approve applications for the transfer of such property for such purposes.