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Reported to Senate (07/22/2003)

 
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 908 Reported in Senate (RS)]






                                                       Calendar No. 221
108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 908

                          [Report No. 108-110]

   To establish the United States Consensus Council to provide for a 
consensus building process in addressing national public policy issues, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             April 11, 2003

  Ms. Collins (for herself, Mr. Dorgan, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Conrad, Mr. 
 Leahy, and Mr. Daschle) introduced the following bill; which was read 
      twice and referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs

                July 22 (legislative day, July 21), 2003

                Reported by Ms. Collins, with amendments
  [Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italic]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To establish the United States Consensus Council to provide for a 
consensus building process in addressing national public policy issues, 
                        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 ``United States Consensus Council Act 
of 2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) throughout the Nation there is increasing success in 
        the use of collaborative and consensus-building approaches to 
        address critical public policy issues at the national, State, 
        and local levels;
            (2) there is a need for a national Council that serves the 
        Nation by promoting and conducting consensus-building processes 
        that primarily address legislative policy issues of national 
        importance;
            (3) such a Council may enroll specific stakeholders, both 
        public and private, to build agreements that ultimately may be 
        implemented by Congress, Federal agencies, or other 
        policymaking bodies;
            (4) such a Council will strive to create public policy 
        agreements that integrate differing perspectives into highest 
        common denominator solutions;
            (5) the establishment of such a Council is an appropriate 
        investment by the people of this Nation in a capacity that 
        works in cooperation with Congress and others to assist the 
        current public policymaking processes on selected issues;
            (6) the existence of such a Council could contribute 
        especially to resolving differences on contentious policy 
        issues, preventing polarization on emerging policy issues and 
        addressing issues of complexity that involve multiple parties 
        and perspectives;
            (7) the establishment of such a Council may contribute 
        significantly to a renewed sense of civility and respect for 
        differences, while at the same time promoting vigorous 
        interchange and open communications among those with differing 
        points of view; and
            (8) the Council may become a repository of wisdom and 
        experience on public policy collaboration and consensus-
        building that can be shared with public and private sector 
        policymakers and the public in the interest of promoting more 
        effective public policy and the increased use of collaborative 
        processes.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to establish an 
independent, nonprofit, national Council to serve the Nation by seeking 
to produce consensus on policy issues of national importance through 
collaborative processes.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act, the term--
            (1) ``Board'' means the Board of Directors of the Council;
            (2) ``Council'' means the United States Consensus Council 
        established under this Act; and
            (3) ``Director'' means an individual appointed to the Board 
        of Directors of the Council.

SEC. 4. UNITED STATES CONSENSUS COUNCIL.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established the United States 
Consensus Council.
    (b) District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation; Status; 
Restrictions.--The Council shall be established as an independent 
nonprofit corporation under the District of Columbia Nonprofit 
Corporation Act (D.C. Code, section 29-301 et seq.). Upon establishment 
under that Act, the Council shall conform to all the requirements 
applicable to a nonprofit corporation so established in the District 
and shall be subject to such oversight by the District of Columbia as 
is applicable to a nonprofit corporation so established. The Council is 
not an agency or instrumentality of the United States.
    (c) Trade Name and Trademark Rights; Vested Rights Protected; 
Condition for Use of Federal Identity.--
            (1) In general.--The Council has the sole and exclusive 
        right to use and to allow or refuse others the use of the term 
        ``United States Consensus Council'' and the use of any official 
        United States Consensus Council emblem, badge, seal, and other 
        mark of recognition or any colorable simulation thereof.
            (2) United states references.--The Council may use ``United 
        States'' or ``U.S.'' or any other reference to the United 
States Government or Nation in its title or in its corporate seal, 
emblem, badge, or other mark of recognition or colorable simulation 
thereof in any fiscal year only if there is an authorization of 
appropriations, or appropriations, for the Council for such fiscal year 
provided by law.

SEC. 5. POWERS AND DUTIES.

    (a) In General.--The Council may exercise the powers conferred upon 
a nonprofit corporation by the District of Columbia Nonprofit 
Corporation Act (D.C. Code, section 29-301 et seq.) consistent with 
this Act.
    (b) Description of Specific Activities.--
            (1) In general.--The Council may--
                    (A) develop and conduct processes to build 
                consensus on national policy issues;
                    (B) enter into formal and informal relationships 
                with other institutions, public and private, for 
purposes not inconsistent with this Act;
                    (C) identify particular public policy issues as to 
                which the Council's expertise would be useful in 
                building a consensus;
                    (D) subject to paragraph (2), coordinate with, make 
                referrals to and receive referrals from, other conflict 
                or dispute resolution instrumentalities of the United 
                States, including the United States Institute for 
                Environmental Conflict Resolution or the Federal 
                Mediation and Conciliation Service; and
                    (E) develop and apply criteria for the purpose of 
                determining whether the Council will enter into a 
                consensus-building process on a particular issue.
        <DELETED>    (2) Limitations on certain activities.--The 
        Council shall consult and coordinate with the United States 
        Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution and the Federal 
        Mediation and Conciliation Service to ensure that the 
        activities of the Council do not--</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (A) duplicate the activities of the 
                Institute or Service; or</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (B) interfere with the Institute or 
                Service in carrying out their respective statutory 
                responsibilities.</DELETED>
            (2) Consultation and coordination with the institute and 
        service.--
                    (A) Definition.--In this paragraph, the term--
                            (i) ``Institute'' means the United States 
                        Institute for Environmental Conflict 
                        Resolution; and
                            (ii) ``Service'' means the Federal 
                        Mediation and Conciliation Service.
                    (B) Limitations on certain activities.--The Council 
                may not--
                            (i) take any action relating to a matter 
                        within the authority of the Institute or the 
                        Service without the consent of the Institute or 
                        Service, as applicable;
                            (ii) duplicate the activities of the 
                        Institute or the Service; or
                            (iii) interfere with the Institute or 
                        Service in carrying out their respective 
                        statutory responsibilities.
                    (C) Response to request for consent.--The Institute 
                or Service shall respond to a request for consent 
                described under subparagraph (B)(i), not later than 30 
                days after the date of receiving a request, unless the 
                Council and the Institute or Service agree otherwise.
                    (D) Consultation.--The Council, Institute, and 
                Service shall consult among each other to identify 
                opportunities for collaboration in fulfillment of their 
                respective purposes and programs.
            (3) Consensus-building process.--With respect to each 
        consensus-building process, the Council--
                    (A) shall consider such factors as the degree of 
                congressional interest in the issue, as well as issue 
                complexity, cost, ripeness, likelihood of participation 
                by key stakeholders, and any other relevant indices 
                that may assist the Council in determining whether to 
                enter into a particular consensus process;
                    (B) may identify any appropriate facilitator for 
                the negotiation process;
                    (C) may identify the key stakeholders involved or 
                interested in the outcome of a particular issue, 
                including those individuals who have the authority to 
                implement the recommendations that result from the 
                Council's consensus building processes;
                    (D) may develop and publish a common set of facts 
                to inform and assist consensus-building processes;
                    (E) may establish ground rules, including matters 
                related to confidentiality, representation of counsel, 
                and ex parte communications;
                    (F) may work to promote consensus among the 
                stakeholders by methods such as negotiation, 
                discussion, meetings, and any other process of dispute 
                resolution;
                    (G) may build and construct agreements among 
                stakeholders;
                    (H) may issue a report reflecting the results of 
                consideration by the Council on consensus-building 
                efforts; and
                    (I) may provide training and technical assistance 
                on any issue within the Council's competence.
            (4) Other activities.--The Council also may engage in any 
        other activity consistent with its mission.
    (c) General Authority.--The Council may do any and all lawful acts 
necessary or desirable to carry out the objectives and purposes of this 
Act.
    (d) Guidelines for Council Operations.--As necessary, the Council 
shall develop guidelines, through its bylaws or otherwise, to address--
            (1) policies relating to personal service contracts;
            (2) standards to ensure that the Council, its Directors, 
        employees, and agents, avoid conflicts of interest that may 
        arise;
            (3) fundraising policies, donor development programs, and 
        matters related to the acceptance of private donations;
            (4) procedures to ensure that all participants in a 
        consensus-building process are informed of--
                    (A) the sources of funding of the Council; and
                    (B) the source and purpose of any donation for 
                which a purpose is specified when donated to the 
                Council;
            (5) the duties and responsibilities of the Council, its 
        Board, officers, employees, and agents; and
            (6) the establishment of advisory committees, councils, or 
        other bodies, as the efficient administration of the business 
        and purposes of the Council may require.

SEC. 6. BOARD OF DIRECTORS.

    (a) Vested Powers.--The powers of the Council shall be vested in a 
Board of Directors unless otherwise specified in this Act or delegated 
by the Board.
    (b) Appointments.--The Board of Directors shall consist of 12 
voting members as follows:
            (1) Four individuals, including private citizens or State 
        or local employees, no more than 2 of whom shall be of the same 
        political party, appointed by the President. The President 
        shall appoint members of the opposing party only on the 
        recommendation of the leaders of Congress from that party. The 
        President shall make all 4 of the initial appointments under 
        this paragraph on the same date.
            (2) Two individuals, including private citizens or State or 
        local employees, appointed by the Majority Leader of the 
        Senate.
            (3) Two individuals, including private citizens or State or 
        local employees, appointed by the Minority Leader of the 
        Senate.
            (4) Two individuals, including private citizens or State or 
        local employees, appointed by the Speaker of the House of 
        Representatives.
            (5) Two individuals, including private citizens or State or 
        local employees, appointed by the Minority Leader of the House 
        of Representatives.
    (c) Term of Office: Commencement and Termination, Interim and 
Remainder Service, Limitation.--
            (1) Term of office.--Directors appointed under subsection 
        (b) of this section shall be appointed to 4-year terms, with no 
        Director serving more than 2 consecutive terms, except that--
                    (A) as designated by the President, the terms of 2 
                of the 4 Directors initially appointed under subsection 
                (b)(1) shall be 2 years, subject to appointment to no 
                more than 2 additional 4-year terms in the manner set 
                forth in this section;
                    (B) as designated by the Speaker of the House of 
                Representatives, the terms of the 2 Directors initially 
                appointed under subsection (b)(4) shall be 2 years, 
                subject to appointment to no more than 2 additional 4-
                year terms in the manner set forth in this section; and
                    (C) as designated by the Minority Leader of the 
                House of Representatives, the terms of the 2 Directors 
                initially appointed under subsection (b)(5) shall be 2 
                years, subject to appointment to no more than 2 
                additional 4-year terms in the manner set forth in this 
                section.
            (2) Remainder service.--Any Director appointed to the Board 
        to replace a Director whose term has not expired shall be 
        appointed to serve the remainder of that term.
            (3) President of council.--The President of the Council 
        shall serve as a nonvoting Director of the Board.
    (d) Qualifications.--
            (1) In general.--A demonstrated interest in the mission of 
        the Council or expertise in consensus building shall be 
        considered in appointments made under this section.
            (2) Non-federal employees.--No Director may be an officer 
        or employee of the Federal Government, including a Member of 
        Congress.
    (e) Removal From Office.--A Director may be replaced by the 
appointing official or may be removed by a process to be established in 
the Council's bylaws.
    (f) Meetings; Notice in Federal Register.--Meetings of the Board 
shall be conducted pursuant to the Council's bylaws, except as provided 
in the following:
            (1) Initial organizational meeting.--
                    (A) In general.--The Board shall hold an initial 
                organizational meeting within 60 days after the 
                appointment of at least \1/3\ of the members under this 
                section. The initial organizational meeting may be held 
                only if equal numbers of members from each of the 2 
                major political parties are appointed to the Board as 
                of the date of that meeting. The purpose of the meeting 
                shall be to provide for the incorporation of the 
                Council as a non-profit corporation in the District of 
                Columbia as provided under section 4 and to adopt the 
                interim bylaws and guidelines required under this 
                section for its operation.
                    (B) Required ratification of actions of 
                organizational meeting.--The Articles of Incorporation 
                and the interim bylaws and guidelines adopted in the 
                initial organizational meeting shall be effective only 
                until the first meeting of the Board after the 
                appointment of all members under this section, at which 
                time the articles, bylaws, or guidelines may be 
                ratified or modified by the Board.
            (2) Meetings; quorum.--The Board shall meet at least 
        semiannually. A majority of the Directors in office shall 
        constitute a quorum for any Board meeting.
            (3) Open meetings.--All official governing meetings of the 
        Board shall be open to public observation and shall be preceded 
        by reasonable public notice. Notice in the Federal Register 
        shall be deemed to be reasonable public notice for purposes of 
        the preceding sentence. In exceptional circumstances, the Board 
        may close those portions of a meeting, upon a majority vote of 
        Directors present and with the vote taken in public session, 
        which are likely to disclose information affecting or relating 
        to the status of individual Directors or employees of the 
        Council or to ongoing litigation to which the Council is a 
        party.
    (g) Compensation.--
            (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), a 
        Director may be compensated at a rate not to exceed the daily 
        equivalent of the rate payable for a position at level IV of 
        the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United 
        States Code, for each day during which that Director is engaged 
        in the performance of the duties of the Council.
            (2) Directors who may be compensated.--A Director may be 
        compensated under paragraph (1), if that Director notifies the 
        Board of an election to receive compensation.
            (3) Effective date.--A Director shall be compensated under 
        this subsection for the performance of duties after the date of 
        notification under paragraph (2).
    (h) Travel Expenses.--While away from home or regular place of 
business in the performance of duties for the Board, a Director may 
receive reasonable travel, subsistence, and other necessary expenses.

SEC. 7. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES.

    (a) President of the Council.--There shall be a President who shall 
be appointed by the Board. The President shall be the chief executive 
officer of the Council and shall carry out or cause to be carried out 
the functions of the Council subject to the supervision and direction 
of the Board.
    (b) Compensation of President of the Council.--The President of the 
Council shall be compensated at an annual rate of pay not to exceed the 
rate payable for a position at level II of the Executive Schedule under 
section 5313 of title 5, United States Code.
    (c) Assignment of Federal Officers or Employees to the Council.--
The Council may request the assignment of any Federal officer or 
employee to the Council by an appropriate executive department, agency, 
or congressional official or Member of Congress and may enter into an 
agreement for such assignment, if the affected officer or employee 
agrees to such assignment and such assignment causes no prejudice to 
the salary, benefits, status, or advancement within the department, 
agency, or congressional staff of such officer or employee. The 
assigning office shall be fully reimbursed by the Council for the costs 
associated with such an assignment. The assigned officer or employee 
shall remain an officer or employee of the United States during the 
course of such assignment.
    (d) Personnel.--The President of the Council, with the approval of 
the Board, may appoint and fix the compensation of such additional 
personnel as determined necessary. The President and employees of the 
Council shall not be employees of the United States.
    (e) Compensation for Services or Expenses; Prohibition on Loans to 
Council Directors and Personnel.--
            (1) In general.--No part of the financial resources, 
        income, or assets of the Council or of any legal entity created 
        by the Council shall inure to any agent, employee, officer, or 
        Director or be distributable to any such person during the life 
        of the corporation or upon dissolution or final liquidation. 
        Nothing in this section may be construed to prevent the payment 
        of reasonable compensation for services or expenses to the 
        Directors, officers, employees, and agents of the Council in 
        amounts approved in accordance with this Act.
            (2) Loans.--The Council shall not make loans to its 
        Directors, officers, employees, or agents.

SEC. 8. PROCEDURES AND RECORDS.

    (a) Monitoring and Evaluation of Programs.--The Council shall 
monitor and evaluate and provide for independent evaluation if 
necessary of programs supported in whole or in part under this Act to 
ensure that the provisions of this Act and the bylaws, rules, 
regulations, and guidelines promulgated under this Act are adhered to.
    (b) Accounts of Receipts and Disbursements; Financial Reports.--
            (1) In general.--The Council shall keep complete books and 
        records of accounts, including--
                    (A) separate and distinct accounts of receipts and 
                disbursements of Federal funds and donations; and
                    (B) records of the purpose of any donation for 
                which a purpose is specified when donated to the 
                Council.
            (2) Annual financial reports.--The Council's annual 
        financial report shall identify the use of all funding and 
        shall present a clear description of the full financial 
        situation of the Council.
    (c) Minutes of Proceedings.--The Council shall keep minutes of the 
proceedings of its Board and of any committees having authority under 
the Board.
    (d) Record and Inspection of Required Items.--
            (1) In general.--The Council shall keep a record of--
                    (A) the names and addresses of its Directors, 
                copies of this Act, and any other Act relating to the 
                Council;
                    (B) all Council bylaws, rules, regulations, and 
                guidelines;
                    (C) required minutes of proceedings;
                    (D) all applications and proposals and issued or 
                received contracts and grants; and
                    (E) financial records of the Council.
            (2) Inspection.--All items required by this subsection may 
        be inspected by any Director or any agent or attorney of a 
        Director for any proper purpose at any reasonable time.
    (e) Audits.--The accounts of the Council shall be audited annually 
in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards by independent 
certified public accountants or independent licensed public 
accountants, certified or licensed by a regulatory authority of a State 
or other political subdivision of the United States. The audit shall be 
conducted at the place or places where the accounts of the Council are 
normally kept. All books, accounts, financial records, files, and other 
papers, things, and property belonging to or in use by the Council and 
necessary to facilitate the audit shall be made available to the person 
or persons conducting the audit, and full facilities for verifying 
transactions with the balances or securities held by depositories, 
fiscal agents, and custodians shall be afforded to such person or 
persons.
    (f) Annual Report to Congress; Copies for Public.--
            (1) In general.--The Council shall provide a report to the 
        President and to each House of Congress not later than 6 months 
        following the close of the fiscal year for which the audit is 
        made.
            (2) Contents.--Each report under this subsection shall 
        include--
                    (A) a statement of the Council's activities for the 
                prior year;
                    (B) a copy of the audit report prepared under 
                subsection (e); and
                    (C) a disclosure statement of--
                            (i) the source of all funds received by the 
                        Council in the prior year; and
                            (ii) the purpose for which the funds were 
                        contributed or made available.
            (3) Public availability.--Each report under this subsection 
        shall be made available to the public.
    (g) GAO Review.--The annual report submitted under subsection (f) 
shall be submitted simultaneously to the General Accounting Office for 
its review.

SEC. 9. PROHIBITION ON LOBBYING ACTIVITIES.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section--
            (1) the terms ``covered executive branch official'', 
        ``covered legislative branch official'', and ``client'' have 
        the meanings given under section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure 
        Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1602);
            (2) the term ``lobbying activities'' has the meaning given 
        under section 3(7) of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 
        U.S.C. 1602(7)), except the definition of the term ``lobbying 
        contact'' shall be applied as modified under this section; and
            (3) the term ``lobbying contact''--
                    (A) has the meaning given under paragraph (8) of 
                section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 
                U.S.C. 1602(8)), except that a communication made on 
                behalf of a client referred to under subparagraph (A) 
                of that paragraph shall apply instead to a 
                communication made on behalf of the Council; and
                    (B) does not include a communication between the 
                Council and a covered executive branch official or 
                covered legislative branch official relating to--
                            (i) appropriations for the Council; or
                            (ii) proposed legislation directly 
                        affecting the Council.
    (b) Prohibitions.--The Council may not--
            (1) engage in lobbying activities; or
            (2) be a client.

SEC. 10. FUNDING.

    (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--For the purpose of carrying 
out this Act, there are authorized to be appropriated $2,000,000 for 
fiscal year 2003 and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 
2004 through 2008.
    (b) Availability.--Funds appropriated under the authority of 
subsection (a) shall remain available until expended.
    (c) Availability of Funds From Fiscal Year 2003.--Any funds 
authorized to be made available through the General Services 
Administration during fiscal year 2003 for the purpose of carrying out 
this Act shall remain available until expended.
    (d) Investment of Funds.--Funds appropriated to the Council shall 
be invested only in instruments backed by the full faith and credit of 
the United States or in a federally insured financial institution. Any 
interest earned on such investments shall be used only for the purposes 
set out in this Act.

SEC. 11. DISSOLUTION OR LIQUIDATION.

    Upon dissolution or final liquidation of the Council, all funds 
appropriated by the United States to the Council including any interest 
attributable to such funds, but not any other funds, shall revert to 
the United States Treasury. Other funds held by the Council shall be 
handled under the laws of the District of Columbia applicable to 
nonprofit corporations.




                                                       Calendar No. 221

108th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                                 S. 908

                          [Report No. 108-110]

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL

   To establish the United States Consensus Council to provide for a 
consensus building process in addressing national public policy issues, 
                        and for other purposes.

_______________________________________________________________________

                July 22 (legislative day, July 21), 2003

                        Reported with amendments