Text: H.R.5202 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/24/2002)

 
[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5202 Introduced in House (IH)]







107th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5202

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for preservation and 
    protection of historic buildings under the jurisdiction of the 
         Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 24, 2002

 Mr. Hall of Ohio introduced the following bill; which was referred to 
the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on 
 Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, 
 in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the 
                jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for preservation and 
    protection of historic buildings under the jurisdiction of the 
         Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 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 ``Veterans National Heritage 
Preservation Act of 2002''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to provide for the preservation and 
protection of the most historically significant buildings of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs, to provide for the documentation and 
appreciation of the historic significance of those buildings, and to 
increase public understanding of the Nation's long commitment to 
honoring veterans.

SEC. 3. FINDINGS.

     The Congress finds the following:
            (1) One of the last Acts signed by President Lincoln before 
        his assassination in 1865 established the National Asylum for 
        disabled volunteer soldiers and sailors of the Civil War 
        (renamed the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 
        1873 and often referred to as the National Military Home).
            (2) The National Home eventually expanded to comprise ten 
        branches and one sanatorium in Togus, Maine (1866); Milwaukee, 
        Wisconsin (1867); Dayton, Ohio (1867); Hampton, Virginia 
        (1870); Leavenworth, Kansas (1885); Santa Monica, California 
        (1888); Marion, Indiana (1888); Danville, Illinois (1898); 
        Johnson City, Tennessee (1901); Hot Springs, South Dakota 
        (1902); and Bath, New York (1929).
            (3) Until it was combined with the Veterans Bureau to 
        become the United States Veterans Administration in 1930, the 
        National Home cared for more than 100,000 Civil War and other 
        veterans, many of whom were shattered physically and 
        spiritually from the carnage of war.
            (4) The National Home evolved into complete planned 
        communities with barracks, mess halls, gate houses, chapels, 
        schools, hotels, libraries, band stands, amusements halls, 
        theaters, shops, and other structures, many of which still 
        stand, and include outstanding examples of 19th and early 20th 
        century architecture.
            (5) The National Home is an important part of the Nation's 
        history, representing many historical developments, including 
        the Nation's first non-religious planned communities, the first 
        Federal effort to establish large-scale rehabilitation 
        programs, a significant expansion of Federal benefits to 
        citizen-veterans, a landmark in the development of Federal 
        responsibility for the social safety net, and the first 
        permanent churches constructed by the Federal Government.
            (6) The branches of the National Home made significant 
        contributions to the history, identity, and culture of the 
        communities in which they are located.
            (7) The Department of Veterans Affairs has jurisdiction 
        over about 1,680 historic buildings in nearly every State of 
        the Union.
            (8) Preservation of historic buildings under the 
        jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs contributes 
        to the heritage of all Americans and represents a powerful 
        symbol of the national debt to the Nation's war veterans.
            (9) Partnerships between the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs, other Federal agencies, and State and local 
        governments and nonprofit organizations have the potential to 
        help restore, maintain, interpret, and reuse the historic 
        buildings under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs.
            (10) The veterans service organizations AMVETS, Disabled 
        American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans 
        of Foreign Wars jointly support establishing historic 
        preservation as a responsibility of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs, systematically preserving the Department's most 
        important historic buildings, and reducing legal, 
        administrative, and financial barriers to adaptive reuse of 
        historic properties by local communities.
            (11) More than 100 historic buildings under the 
        jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs, including 
        the Nation's first permanent church building constructed by the 
        Federal Government, are underutilized or vacant and are 
        threatened with deterioration and demolition.
            (12) Providing for the Department of Veterans Affairs' 
        historic preservation requirements in no way need diminish 
        funding for the Department's other missions and is fully 
        consistent with the Department's broader goal of honoring and 
        caring for the Nation's veterans.

   TITLE I--PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC FACILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                            VETERANS AFFAIRS

SEC. 101. DEFINITION.

    Section 101 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(34) The term `historic building' means a building listed on, or 
eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places.''.

SEC. 102. MISSIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT TO INCLUDE HISTORIC PRESERVATION.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 1 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 117. Historic preservation mission
    ``(a) It is a mission and responsibility of the Department to 
maintain its most significant historic buildings and to preserve them 
for future generations.
    ``(b) It is the sense of Congress that, in keeping with the mission 
of the Department specified in subsection (a)--
            ``(1) wherever practical, the historic buildings of the 
        Department should be preserved, protected, restored, 
        interpreted, reused, and maintained as a living memorial to the 
        contributions of veterans to the Nation;
            ``(2) the director of each major Department facility that 
        is listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register 
        of Historic Places should--
                    ``(A) make available to the cultural resources 
                management officer of that facility sufficient 
                resources to document, conserve, and display items of 
                historical significance and assist with the 
                preservation of the history of the facility; and
                    ``(B) provide that officer with appropriate 
                information and sufficient training, appropriate 
                publications, authority, and total access to budgetary, 
                management, and decision making processes to permit 
                effective coordination of its cultural resource 
                management plan;
            ``(3) whenever feasible, the Secretary should restore and 
        use historic buildings, rather than carry out new construction, 
        for Department purposes;
            ``(4) the Secretary should make greater use of the leasing 
        authority for historic buildings that is provided for Federal 
        agencies under section 111 of the National Historic 
        Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470h-3);
            ``(5) the Secretary should reduce barriers to reuse of 
        historic buildings by non-Department private and public 
        organizations if such reuse would enhance historic preservation 
        of those buildings;
            ``(6) the Secretary should work with the Secretary of the 
        Interior to coordinate historic preservation activities of the 
        Department; and
            ``(7) the Secretary should form a partnership with the 
        National Trust for Historic Preservation, within the context of 
        the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhancement of Services 
        (CARES) process of the Department, to ensure the appropriate, 
        lawful, and financially prudent management of the Department's 
        historic properties, similar to the partnership formed between 
        the Department of the Army and the Trust.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``117. Historic preservation mission.''.

SEC. 103. OFFICE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 3 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 320. Office of Historic Preservation
    ``(a) There is in the Department an Office of Historic Preservation 
within the Office of the Secretary or otherwise at a sufficiently high 
level within the departmental organization to ensure adequate 
communication with all relevant divisions within the Department. There 
shall be at the head of the Office a Director.
    ``(b) The Director shall administer the Veterans Heritage 
Preservation Fund established under section 8701 of this title.
    ``(c) The Director shall develop procedures to ensure that 
decisions within the Department that affect or may affect historic 
buildings, properties, and cultural resources of the Department are 
made in accordance with Department directives and applicable laws and 
regulations.
    ``(d) The Director shall ensure that the head of each Department 
facility that is listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National 
Register of Historic Places and the head of each regional office and 
each major program manager of the Department designates a cultural 
resource management officer with training in historic preservation and 
compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (40 U.S.C. 470 
et seq.).
    ``(e) The Director shall review Department activities, policies, 
and procedures that might affect historic buildings, properties, and 
cultural resources, including review of initiatives through the Capital 
Asset Realignment for Enhancement of Services (CARES) program of the 
Department.
    ``(f) The Director shall maintain a comprehensive inventory of the 
Department's historic buildings, properties, and cultural resources and 
shall forward to the Secretary of the Interior nominations of such 
buildings, properties, and cultural resources for inclusion in the 
National Register of Historic Places.
    ``(g) The Director shall assure the Department's compliance with 
section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 470f).''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``320. Office of Historic Preservation.''.

SEC. 104. VETERANS HERITAGE PRESERVATION.

    (a) In General.--(1) Part IV of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

                  ``CHAPTER 87--HISTORIC PRESERVATION

``Sec.
``8701. Veterans Heritage Preservation Fund.
``8702. Public-private partnerships.
``Sec. 8701. Veterans Heritage Preservation Fund
    ``(a) Establishment.--The Secretary shall establish a fund to be 
known as the `Veterans Heritage Preservation Fund'. The Director of the 
Office of Historic Preservation, in consultation with the Department's 
facility directors, shall make recommendations to the Secretary on the 
use of the assets of the fund. In making such recommendations, the 
Director shall take into consideration the priority order ranking 
specified in the report under section 106 of the Veterans National 
Preservation Heritage Act of 2002.
    ``(b) Uses of Fund.--The Secretary may use balances in the fund 
to--
            ``(1) evaluate, stabilize, preserve, renovate, and restore 
        historic buildings and properties owned by the Department in 
        conformity with applicable statutory and regulatory standards 
        for historic preservation;
            ``(2) assist in the maintenance and preservation of the 
        Department's historic artifacts and collections; and
            ``(3) make grants to State and local governments and non-
        profit organizations in connection with the adaptive reuse of 
        historic buildings.
    ``(c) Grant Requirements.--(1) A grant under subsection (b)(3) may 
be used by the grant recipient for studies, planning, construction, 
management, marketing, interpretation, promoting cultural tourism, and 
operations.
    ``(2) Such a grant may provide funds for not more than 75 percent 
of a project's cost, with the remainder to be provided as a non-Federal 
match.
    ``(3) In selecting recipients for grants under subsection (b)(3), 
the Secretary may establish a higher priority for proposed projects 
that would benefit veterans, including homeless veterans, or that would 
honor the achievements of veterans.
    ``(d) Income From Rental Property.--Income or proceeds from the 
rental of historic properties at facilities of the Department, 
including quarters rented by Department personnel or other persons, 
shall be credited to, and form a part of, the Fund. In allocating 
amounts to Department facilities under subsection (b)(1) that are 
derived from income or proceeds from rental property, the Secretary 
shall provide funds to those facilities based upon the amount of funds 
credited under the preceding sentence from properties at those 
facilities, subject to availability of approved projects for the use of 
such funds.
    ``(e) Donations.--The Secretary is authorized to accept donations 
for the purposes of the Fund. Any such amount shall be credited to, and 
form a part of, the Fund.
    ``(f) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to the Veterans Heritage Preservation Fund for each fiscal 
year the amount of $20,000,000.''.
``Sec. 8702. Public-private partnerships
    ``(a) Cooperative Agreements.--The Secretary may enter into 
cooperative agreements and leases with State and local governments, 
nongovernmental organizations, and the Secretary of the Interior for 
the purpose of restoring, rehabilitating, maintaining, interpreting, 
promoting, and marketing historic buildings.
    ``(b) Donations.--The Secretary may accept donations for the 
purpose of implementing a partnership under this section.
    ``(c) Collaboration With Department of the Interior.--The Secretary 
may collaborate with, and enter into agreements with, the Secretary of 
the Interior and Interior-related agencies, including units of the 
National Park Service and Federally-designated national heritage areas, 
for the purposes of this chapter.''.

SEC. 105. ENHANCED-USE LEASES.

    Section 8162(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(5) In light of the statement in section 117(a) of this title 
that it is a mission and responsibility of the Department to maintain 
its most significant historic buildings and to preserve them for future 
generations, historic preservation shall be considered to be a 
Department mission for the purposes of paragraph (2)(A)(i) and any 
proposed enhanced-use lease that includes or incorporates preservation 
and restoration of the building proposed to be leased shall be 
considered to be a veterans related purpose lease for purpose of 
priorities for the awarding of leases under this section.''.

SEC. 106. PRESERVATION STUDY AND REPORT.

    (a) Study and Report.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
conduct a study of the historic buildings of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs and, not later than February 1, 2004, shall submit to the 
Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of 
Representatives a report on the results of that study.
    (b) Contents of Report.--The report under subsection (a) shall 
include the following:
            (1) A detailed inventory of historic buildings and sites 
        under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
        together with a description of the historical significance of 
        each such building or site.
            (2) Identification of the most important historic buildings 
        and sites named under paragraph (1) and, for each such building 
        or site--
                    (A) a description of potential threats to the 
                preservation of the building or site;
                    (B) a cost analysis for restoration of the building 
                or site; and
                    (C) a comprehensive structural engineering analysis 
                of the building or site.
            (3) Ranking of the priority order of such buildings and 
        sites for restoration, taking into consideration historical 
        significance, reuse potential, preservation threat, and 
        organized community support.
            (4) An action plan for the stabilization and preservation 
        of the buildings and sites identified under paragraph (2) that 
        the Secretary determines to be the most threatened.
    (c) Consultation.--In preparing the report under subsection (a), 
the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of the Interior and with 
State and local governmental agencies and appropriate local private 
non-profit organizations in the communities of the historic buildings.
    (d) Definition.--For purposes of this section, the term ``historic 
building'' means a building listed on, or eligible for listing on, the 
National Register of Historic Places.

            TITLE II--NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK THEME STUDY

SEC. 201. AUTHORIZATION OF STUDY.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation and 
cooperation with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, shall conduct a 
National Historic Landmark theme study to identify sites, districts, 
buildings, structures, and landscapes that best illustrate or 
commemorate key events at facilities managed by the National Home for 
Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and the United States Veterans Bureau 
between 1865 and 1930.
    (b) Sites To Be Studied.--The sites to be studied under this 
section are the branches of the former National Home for Disabled 
Volunteer Soldiers and associated entities at the following locations:
            (1) Togus, Maine.
            (2) Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
            (3) Dayton, Ohio.
            (4) Hampton, Virginia.
            (5) Leavenworth, Kansas.
            (6) Santa Monica, California.
            (7) Marion, Illinois.
            (8) Danville, Illinois.
            (9) Johnston City, Tennessee.
            (10) Hot Springs, South Dakota.
            (11) Bath, New York.
    (c) Criteria; Nominations.--In conducting the study under this 
section, the Secretary of the Interior shall use the criteria set forth 
in section 65.4 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, to identify, 
in order of importance or merit, potential National Historic Landmarks 
at the locations listed in subsection (b). The study shall include a 
nomination submittal for each potential National Historic Landmark 
identified under this subsection that meets such criteria.
    (d) Education and Research.--The study shall--
            (1) identify appropriate means to maximize opportunities 
        for public education on the National Home for Disabled 
        Volunteer Soldiers; and
            (2) recommend opportunities for cooperative arrangements 
        with State and local governments, educational institutions, 
        local historical organizations, and other entities to preserve 
        and interpret key cultural resources at or associated with the 
        locations listed in subsection (b).
    (e) Cooperative Agreements.--The Secretary of the Interior may 
enter into cooperative agreements with one or more educational 
institutions, public history organizations, or veterans' organizations 
knowledgeable about the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers 
to prepare the study under subsection (a) and to ensure that the study 
meets scholarly standards.
    (f) Report.--Not later than two years after the date on which funds 
are made available for the study under subsection (a), the Secretary of 
the Interior shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
Committee on Resources and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the 
House of Representatives a report containing the findings, conclusions, 
and recommendations of the study.
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