Text: S.504 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 116-35 (07/30/2019)

 
[116th Congress Public Law 35]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 133 STAT. 1043]]

Public Law 116-35
116th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 36, United States Code, to authorize The American Legion 
to determine the requirements for membership in The American Legion, and 
        for other purposes. <<NOTE: July 30, 2019 -  [S. 504]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Let Everyone Get 
Involved in Opportunities for National Service Act. 36 USC 101 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Let Everyone Get Involved in 
Opportunities for National Service Act'' or the ``LEGION Act''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 36 USC 21703 note.>>  FINDINGS AND SENSE OF 
                    CONGRESS.

    (a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Since the end of World War II, the Federal Government 
        has designated specific periods of war, the dates of which are 
        important for qualification for certain benefits or membership 
        in veterans organizations established by Congress.
            (2) In between those recognized periods of war, during so-
        called peacetime eras, the United States military has been 
        involved in not fewer than 12 known eras, which are unrecognized 
        by the United States Government as periods of war, resulting in 
        numerous United States personnel combat casualties.
            (3) Those 12 unrecognized war eras occurred at the direction 
        of the then President of the United States, with full knowledge 
        and consent of the then Congress.
            (4) The first of those 12 unrecognized war eras involving 
        active United States military personnel was the Greek Civil War, 
        fought in Greece from 1946 to 1949 between the army of the 
        Government of Greece, supported by active military personal of 
        the United States and the United Kingdom, and the Democratic 
        Army of Greece, the military branch of the Communist Party of 
        Greece.
            (5) During the Greek Civil War, one member of the Armed 
        Forces of the United States sacrificed his life in service to 
        the United States, and five others suffered non-combat deaths.
            (6) The second of those unrecognized war eras involving 
        active United States military personnel was the Chinese Civil 
        War, which occurred during the aftermath of World War II.
            (7) During the Chinese Civil War, the United States military 
        equipped, trained, transported, and supplied the Kuomintang-led 
        Government of the Republic of China with approximately 
        $4,430,000,000 in its resistance to the Communist Party of 
        China.

[[Page 133 STAT. 1044]]

            (8) During the Chinese Civil War, 14 members of the Armed 
        Forces of the United States sacrificed their lives in service to 
        the United States, 150 non-combatants of the United States lost 
        their lives in the war, and 51 were wounded, resulting in 215 
        United States military casualties.
            (9) The third unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel is known as the Cold War.
            (10) The Cold War was a period spanning from approximately 
        1947 until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.
            (11) Although no direct large-scale military fighting 
        occurred between the militaries of the United States and the 
        Soviet Union, active United States military personnel served in 
        multiple regional conflicts during the Cold War, resulting in 
        the deaths of not fewer than 32 members of the Armed Forces who 
        sacrificed their lives in service to the United States and not 
        fewer than 12 additional casualties.
            (12) The fourth unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel is known as the China Cold War.
            (13) The China Cold War started when the Kuomintang-led 
        Government of the Republic of China retreated to the island of 
        Taiwan and lasted until 1972, after President Richard Nixon 
        conducted a landmark state visit to China.
            (14) During the military operations of the China Cold War, 
        not fewer than 16 members of the Armed Forces of the United 
        States sacrificed their lives in service to the United States.
            (15) The fifth unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel was the Lebanon Crisis of 1958, which 
        involved more than 14,000 United States personnel and resulted 
        in the death of one member of the Armed Forces who sacrificed 
        his life in service to the United States and five non-combat 
        deaths.
            (16) The sixth unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel was the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 
        1961.
            (17) The Bay of Pigs invasion was a failed military invasion 
        of Cuba undertaken by a United States military group sponsored 
        by the Central Intelligence Agency that resulted in not fewer 
        than one death of a member of the Armed Forces who sacrificed 
        his life in service to the United States and 19 non-combat 
        deaths.
            (18) The seventh unrecognized war era involving active 
        United States military personnel was the Cuban Missile Crisis, 
        which took place between October 16 and October 28, 1962.
            (19) The Cuban Missile Crisis directly related to homeland 
        protection against the deployment of a Soviet ballistic missile 
        in Cuba.
            (20) During the Cuban Missile Crisis, one member of the 
        Armed Forces sacrificed his life in service to the United States 
        and 19 others died as non-combatants.
            (21) The eighth unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel was the Dominican Civil War in 1965.
            (22) Operations during the Dominican Civil War resulted in 
        the deaths of 27 members of the Armed Forces who sacrificed 
        their lives in service to the United States, 20 non-combat-
        related deaths, and 283 wounded.

[[Page 133 STAT. 1045]]

            (23) The ninth unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel was the Iran Hostage Crisis, which 
        lasted from November 4, 1979, through January 20, 1981.
            (24) The Iran Hostage Crisis involved military intervention 
        by the United States which resulted in the deaths of 8 members 
        of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in service to 
        United States.
            (25) The tenth unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel was the Salvadoran Civil War.
            (26) The Salvadoran Civil War lasted more than 12 years, 
        through the terms of two Presidential administrations of the 
        United States, and resulted in the deaths of 22 members of the 
        Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in service to the United 
        States, 15 non-combat deaths, and 35 other casualties.
            (27) The 11th unrecognized war era involving active United 
        States military personnel started on April 5, 1986, when the La 
        Belle discotheque in West Berlin, Germany, was bombed, killing 
        two United States soldiers and wounding 79 other members of the 
        Armed Forces, which triggered what became known as the Libyan 
        Conflict.
            (28) The military operations of the Libyan Conflict included 
        numerous air strikes by United States military forces and 
        resulted in the deaths of two members of the Armed Forces who 
        sacrificed their lives in service to the United States.
            (29) The Libyan Conflict led to the 12th unrecognized war 
        era involving active United States military personnel, known 
        collectively as the Persian Gulf Conflicts, which lasted from 
        July 24, 1987, through September 26, 1988.
            (30) The Persian Gulf Conflicts involved United States 
        military missions to protect Kuwaiti-owned oil tankers which 
        represented the largest United States naval convoy operation 
        since World War II.
            (31) The Persian Gulf Conflicts resulted in numerous 
        military operations and the deaths of not fewer than 39 members 
        of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in service to the 
        United States and 31 wounded.
            (32) Since the armistice that ended the hostilities of the 
        Korean War on January 31, 1955, nearly 100 active United States 
        military personnel have sacrificed their lives in service to the 
        United States in South Korea, and more than 132 people of the 
        United States have been wounded in-country.
            (33) Since January 1, 1947, through all of the unrecognized 
        war eras involving active United States military personnel, not 
        fewer than 778 combat and non-combat members of the Armed Forces 
        have sacrificed their lives in service to the United States and 
        not fewer than 797 have been wounded.
            (34) Since January 1, 1947, the unrecognized war eras 
        involving active United States military personnel who were 
        wounded and killed serving their country were administered under 
        orders from the commander in chief and with the consent of 
        Congress, proving that the United States has been conducting 
        deadly wartime service to protect the country consistently since 
        December 7, 1941.
            (35) Eligibility for membership in The American Legion is 
        determined by Congress through the establishment of specific

[[Page 133 STAT. 1046]]

        dates of declared and officially recognized hostilities in which 
        United States military personnel are on active service.
            (36) The American Legion provides invaluable services to its 
        members and supports the community of veterans who sacrificed in 
        service of the United States.
            (37) Membership in The American Legion allows veterans to 
        engage in public service activities, such as supporting Boys and 
        Girls State and Nation, youth mentorship programs, and benefit 
        assistance, career fairs, and employment assistance for 
        veterans.
            (38) The American Legion has gone on record as supporting 
        the 12 unrecognized war eras involving active United States 
        military personnel since the beginning of World War II.
            (39) The American Legion has aided, assisted, and comforted 
        the families of the men and women who were called to serve or 
        volunteered to serve during all of the unrecognized war eras and 
        continues to provide support to veterans of those eras.
            (40) The American Legion has commended the heroic actions of 
        all military personnel who risked their lives in defense of 
        freedom during each of the unrecognized war eras involving 
        active United States military personnel.

    (b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that, in 
accordance with the history, tradition, and purposes of The American 
Legion, it is fair, proper, and reasonable that the privilege of 
membership in The American Legion should be extended to all military 
personnel who served on active military duty during all of the 
unrecognized war eras involving active United States military personnel.
SEC. 3. ELIGIBILITY FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE AMERICAN LEGION.

    Section 21703 of title 36, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)--
                    (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``during any 
                period from--'' and all that follows through the end of 
                clause (vii) and inserting the following: ``during--
                          ``(i) the period from April 6, 1917, through 
                      November 11, 1918; or
                          ``(ii) any time after December 7, 1941; or''; 
                      and
                    (B) in subparagraph (B), by inserting ``or time'' 
                after ``a period''; and
            (2) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``or time'' after ``that 
        period''.
SEC. 4. NONDISCRIMINATION WITH RESPECT TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR 
                    HOLDING A STAFF POSITION IN THE AMERICAN 
                    LEGION.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 217 of title 36, United States Code, is 
amended by inserting after section 21704 the following new section:
``Sec. 21704A. <<NOTE: 36 USC 21704A.>>  Nondiscrimination

    ``The requirements for holding a staff position in the corporation 
may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or 
national origin.''.

[[Page 133 STAT. 1047]]

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter <<NOTE: 36 USC 21701 prec.>>  is amended by inserting after 
the item relating to section 21704 the following new item:

``21704A. Nondiscrimination.''.

    Approved July 30, 2019.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 504:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 165 (2019):
            June 11, considered and passed Senate.
            July 23, considered and passed House.

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