Summary: S.1224 — 97th Congress (1981-1982)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (07/20/1981)

(Measure passed Senate, amended)

Repeals a provision of Federal law which allows Members of Congress to send messages expressing personal condolences or congratulations for a personal distinction as franked mail. Allows a Member or Member-elect to include greetings from a family member as a brief reference in franked mail.

Extends from 28 to 60 days the period preceding an election during which a Member or Member-elect running for any public office may not send any mass mailing as franked mail. Prohibits any Member of or Member-elect to the House who is running for another public office from using his or her franking privilege for any mass mailing directed to any area covered by such public office which is not within the Member's or Member-elect's congressional district. Exempts from such restrictions any mass mailings relating to the regular business of any committee or commission of Congress or the Democratic conference or the Republican caucus of either House.

Permits any Member of or Member-elect to Congress (currently restricted to Members and Members-elect of the House) to send franked mail with a simplified form of address within his or her congressional district or State by the most economical means practicable. Directs the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the House Committee on Congressional Mailing Standards to prescribe regulations governing such mail, including regulations limiting the number of mailings.

Requires Members and Members-elect of the House of Representatives to submit samples of mail to be franked to the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards for an advisory opinion on compliance with franking standards. Authorizes the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to require Members and Members-elect of the Senate to obtain its advisory opinion on franked mailings.

Prohibits a Member-elect from sending as franked mail any mail for which the printing costs are not paid from funds appropriated by Congress, excluding public service material that is purely instructional or informational and is frankable in content.

Revises the time period following the end of the terms of office of Members and certain officers of Congress and the Vice President during which such officials may send and receive public documents as franked mail, and during which such former Members of Congress may send seeds and agricultural reports as franked mail.

Extends to surviving relatives the franking privilege of the spouse of a Member of Congress who died in office in the event there is no surviving spouse (such privilege covers only mail relating to the death of such Member mailed within 180 days of death).

Extends the authority of the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards to cover advisory opinions involving any non-criminal law regarding franked mail. Authorizes the Commission to issue regulations or investigate franking privilege violations in connection with any other Federal law (other than criminal statutes) or in connection with any rule of the House relating to franked mail. Extends the Commission's jurisdiction over franking violations to include complaints against former Members and officers of the House.