Summary: H.R.5159 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 110-437 (10/20/2008)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on September 27, 2008. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008 - Title I: Capitol Visitor Center - (Sec. 101) Designates the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), and makes it part of the U.S. Capitol.

Requires the CVC to be used to: (1) provide enhanced security for persons working in or visiting the U.S. Capitol; and (2) improve the visitor experience by providing a structure that will afford improved visitor orientation and enhance the educational experience of those who have come to learn about the Congress and the Capitol.

Grants authority to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the House Committee on House Administration (Committees) to exercise oversight over the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC).

Declares that certain "unassigned" expansion space for the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be treated as parts of the Senate and House wings of the Capitol.

Requires the Committees to jointly prescribe regulations for the CVC's Congressional Auditorium and the related adjacent areas.

Authorizes the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) to enter into loan agreements to place historical objects for display in the CVC's Exhibition Hall.

(Sec. 102) Prohibits the designation and naming of parts of the CVC without the approval of at least three-fourths of all Democratic and three-fourths of all Republican party members on the Capitol Preservation Commission (Commission).

(Sec. 103) Prohibits the use of the Emancipation Hall of the CVC for any event, except upon the passage of a resolution agreed to by Congress authorizing such use.

Title II: Office of the Capitol Visitor Center - (Sec. 201) Establishes within the Office of the AOC the Office of the CVC, headed by the Chief Executive Officer for Visitor Services (CEO).

(Sec. 202) Requires the AOC to appoint the CEO, who shall report directly to the AOC and be subject to oversight by the Committees.

Declares that the individual who serves as the CEO under the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriation Act of 2007, as of the enactment of this Act, shall be the first appointed CEO of the Office of the CVC.

(Sec. 203) Limits to $250,000 the amount of any contract the AOC may enter into for CVC operations without prior approval of the Committees.

(Sec. 204) Requires the AOC to appoint an Assistant CEO for Visitor Services.

Declares the individual serving as the assistant under the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2008, as of the enactment of this Act, to be the first appointed Assistant CEO for Visitor Services.

(Sec. 205) Requires the AOC, acting through the CEO, to establish a Capitol Visitor Center Gift Shop. Requires deposit of all moneys received from Gift Shop sales and other services to be deposited in the Capitol Visitor Center Revolving Fund established under this Act.

(Sec. 206) Requires the AOC, acting through the CEO, to establish within the CVC a restaurant and other food service facilities, including catering services and vending machines.

Title III: Capitol Visitor Center Revolving Fund - (Sec. 301) Establishes in the Treasury the Capitol Visitor Center Revolving Fund, consisting of the Gift Shop Account and the Miscellaneous Receipts Account.

Title IV: Capitol Guide Service and Office of Congressional Accessibility Services - Subtitle A: Capitol Guide Service - (Sec. 401) Transfers the authorities and personnel of the Capitol Guide Service (CGS) to the Office of the CVC.

Declares that the transfer of CGS personnel shall not cause a reduction in the individual's current grade, compensation, rate of leave, or other benefit while such employee remains continuously employed as a Capitol Guide within the Office, other than for cause.

Makes a transferred individual eligible for immediate retirement on the basis of involuntary separation under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) if the individual has completed: (1) 25 years of service; or (2) 20 years of service and is 50 years of age or older.

Excludes from application of this section any employee, contracts, liabilities, records, property, appropriations, and other assets of the Congressional Special Services Office of the Capitol Guide Service transferred to the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services under subtitle B.

(Sec. 402) Prescribes general rules for CGS employees.

Requires the AOC to detail CGS personnel, based on a request from the Capitol Police Board, to assist the U.S. Capitol Police by providing ushering and informational services, and other services not directly involving law enforcement, in connection with: (1) the inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States; (2) the official reception of representatives of foreign nations and other persons by the Senate or the House; or (3) other special or ceremonial occasions in the U.S. Capitol or on its grounds that require the presence of additional government personnel, and cause the temporary suspension of the performance of regular duties.

Subtitle B: Office of Congressional Accessibility Services - (Sec. 411) Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1990, to establish in the legislative branch the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services, headed by the Director of Accessibility Services, who shall be appointed by, and subject to the direction of, the Congressional Accessibility Services Board, established by the Capitol Visitor Center Act of 2008.

Requires such Office to: (1) provide and coordinate accessibility services for individuals with disabilities, including Members of Congress, congressional officers and employees, and U.S. Capitol Complex visitors; and (2) provide information regarding accessibility for individuals with disabilities, as well as related training and staff development, to Members of Congress and congressional employees.

Declares that the individual who serves as the head of the Congressional Special Services Office as of the enactment of this Act shall be the first Director of such Office appointed by the Board under the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1990.

(Sec. 412) Transfers the authorities and personnel of the Congressional Special Services Office of the CGS to such Office.

Declares that the transfer of such personnel shall not cause a reduction in the individual's current grade, compensation, rate of leave, or other benefit while such employee remains continuously employed within the Office, other than for cause.

Makes a transferred individual eligible for immediate retirement on the basis of involuntary separation under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) if the individual has completed: (1) 25 years of service; or (2) 20 years of service and is 50 years of age or older.

Prohibits the Director from imposing a probationary period on a transferred individual.

Subtitle C: Transfer Date and Technical and Conforming Amendments - (Sec. 421) Declares that "transfer date" means the date occurring on the first day of the first pay period (applicable to employees transferred under section 401) occurring on or after 30 days after the enactment of this Act.

(Sec. 422) Repeals the existing authority of the CGS under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970.

Makes technical and conforming amendments to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 and related law.

Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions - (Sec. 501) Declares that nothing in this Act granting any authority to the AOC or CEO shall be construed to affect the exclusive jurisdiction of the Capitol Police, the Capitol Police Board, the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate, and the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives to provide security for the Capitol, including the CVC.

Declares that nothing in this Act granting any authority to the CEO shall be construed to affect the exclusive jurisdiction of the AOC for the CVC's care and superintendence.

Requires all CVC maintenance services, groundskeeping services, improvements, alterations, additions, and repairs to be made under the direction and supervision of the AOC, subject to the approval of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the House Office Building Commission as to matters of general policy.

(Sec. 502) Grants authority to the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services to establish a program under which it may agree to repay (by direct payments on behalf of its employee) any student loan previously taken out by such employee.

(Sec. 503) Authorizes the AOC, upon the CEO's recommendation, to accept and use voluntary and uncompensated services for the CVC.

(Sec. 504) Treats coins in any fountains on covered grounds of the Capitol Complex as gifts to the United States.

Requires the AOC to collect such coins and deposit any of them remaining, after deduction for the expense of collecting and processing them, in the Miscellaneous Receipts Account of the Fund.

(Sec. 505) Amends the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2008 to extend through FY2010 AOC authority to establish and conduct a pilot program to test flexible work schedules within the Office of the AOC and the Botanic Garden.

Title VI: Authorization of Appropriations - (Sec. 601) Authorizes appropriations.