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108th Congress                                            Rept. 108-112
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     Part 1
======================================================================
 
                  VETERANS' MEMORIAL PRESERVATION AND 
                        RECOGNITION ACT OF 2003

                                _______
                                

                  May 19, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 330]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (S. 330) to further the protection and recognition of 
veterans' memorials, and for other purposes, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Vote of the Committee............................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     4
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5
Committee Jurisdiction Letters...................................     6
Markup Transcript................................................     7

                          Purpose and Summary

    S. 330, the ``Veterans' Memorial Preservation and 
Recognition Act of 2003'' amends title 18 of the United States 
Code. S. 330 would create a new Federal offense for willfully 
injuring or destroying of any structure, plaque, statue, or 
other monument on public property commemorating the service of 
any person or persons in the Armed Forces of the United States 
or attempting to do so. S. 330 provides for a criminal fine or 
imprisonment of up to 10 years for those found guilty of these 
offenses.
    Attacks against Federal cemeteries and commemorative 
memorials affront the memory of those who sacrificed for our 
country and undermine our collective commitment to honor their 
service. The abhorrent nature of these offenses requires a 
specific criminal penalty for their commission. S. 330 meets 
this requirement by creating a specific Federal crime for 
vandalism or destruction of property at these facilities.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

                NATIONAL CEMETERIES IN THE UNITED STATES

    The National Cemetery System was established by Congress in 
1862 to provide for the purchase of grounds ``to be used as a 
national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service 
of the country.'' \1\ The Department of Veterans Affairs 
National Cemetery Administration (NCA) maintains 120 national 
cemeteries in 39 States and Puerto Rico.\2\ The NCA currently 
maintains over 2.5 million grave sites which cover more than 
13,500 acres.\3\ S. 330 would create enhanced criminal 
penalties for injuring or destroying property at these 
facilities or attempting to do so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Confiscation Act of July 17 1862 Sec. 18, 12 Stat. 589 (1862).
    \2\ Department of Veterans Affairs, History and Development of the 
National Cemetery Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, May 
6, 2003, http://www.va.gov/opa/fact/docs/vafacts.htm
    \3\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

         FEDERAL CRIMINAL JURISDICTION OVER NATIONAL CEMETERIES

    During Committee consideration of similar legislation (H.R. 
1442, the ``Veterans' Cemetery Protection Act'') during the 
105th Congress, the Department of Justice concluded that 
``Federal control of the cemeteries . . . establishes an 
adequate Federal nexus to support Federal jurisdiction.'' \4\ 
However, Federal authorities may defer to State and local 
investigation and prosecution if conditions favor a non-Federal 
response. State and local authorities play a critical law 
enforcement role at NCA facilities. Most crimes at national 
cemeteries are minor and prosecuted under the concurrent 
jurisdiction of State or local law enforcement agencies. Local 
investigation and prosecution may be desirable for a number of 
reasons: local authorities may be in a superior position to 
identify local offenders who may have a history of similar 
local offenses; local police are likely to respond in a more 
timely manner to criminal activity; and perpetrators may be in 
violation of parole for State convictions, which might provide 
additional charges for State or local prosecutors.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ See H.R. Rep. No. 105-142, at 6.
    \5\ Id. at 3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

            VANDALISM AND DESECRATION OF NATIONAL CEMETERIES

    Over the last several years, there have been several 
serious acts of vandalism at national cemeteries. One of the 
most egregious occurrences took place in 1997, when vandals 
scrawled racist and profane statements at seven national 
cemeteries in Hawaii including: the Hawaii Veterans Cemetery of 
Kaneohe; National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at 
Punchbowl; Valley of the Temples; Hawaiian Memorial Park; Oahu 
Cemetery; Nuuanu Memorial Park; and Honolulu Memorial Park.\6\ 
During this attack, vandals desecrated chapels, grave markers, 
and tombs causing several thousand dollars in damage. A year 
after these attacks, those responsible had not been 
aprehended.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ Linda Aragon, Defacement Cleaned Up in Kaneohe, Punchbowl Will 
Take Longer, Hon. Star Bulletin, April 22, 1997, at 1.
    \7\ Rod Ohira, No Leads Turn Up in Cemetery Case, Hon. Star 
Bulletin, April 14, 1998, at 1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          FEDERAL LEGISLATION

    In 1997, Congress passed legislation to enhance penalties 
for acts of vandalism at Federal cemeteries.\8\ As introduced, 
this legislation would have created a new Federal crime of 
``vandalism at national cemeteries.'' \9\ The new offense, 
which was similar to existing prohibitions for the destruction 
of other types of Federal property, would have enhanced 
criminal penalties for injuring or destroying property located 
within Federal cemeteries. As enacted, however this legislation 
required the Sentencing Commission to amend the sentencing 
guidelines to provide a sentencing enhancement of two levels 
for any offense against the property of a Federal cemetery.\10\ 
In 1998, the Sentencing Commission issued these guidelines.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ Veterans' Cemetery Protection Act of 1997, Public Law No. 105-
101 (1997).
    \9\ Veterans' Cemetery Protection Act of 1997, S. 813, 105th Cong. 
Sec. 2 (1997); Veterans' Cemetery Protection Act of 1997, H.R. 1532, 
105th Cong. Sec. 2 (1997).
    \10\ Supra, note 8, Sec. 2.
    \11\ 63 Fed. Reg. 28, 202-03 (May 21, 1998).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                Hearings

    There were no Committee hearings on S. 330.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 7, 2003, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered favorably reported the bill S. 330, without amendment 
by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee notes that during 
full Committee consideration of S. 330 the Committee took no 
rollcall votes.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    S. 330 does not authorize funding. Therefore, clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of House rule XIII is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the S. 330, the following estimate and comparison 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, May 8, 2003.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 330, the ``Veterans' 
Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003.''
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Melissa E. 
Zimmerman.
            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 330--Veterans' Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003

    S. 330 would establish criminal and civil penalties for 
desecration of veterans' memorials located on public property, 
if committing such acts involve interstate or foreign travel or 
use of the mail, or if the memorial is located on property 
owned by, or under the jurisdiction of, the Federal Government. 
CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would increase 
direct spending and revenues, but by an insignificant amount in 
each year.
    Because those prosecuted and convicted under the act could 
be subject to criminal fines, the Government might collect 
additional fines if this legislation is enacted. Collections of 
such fines are recorded in the budget as governmental receipts 
(i.e., revenues), which are deposited in the Crime Victims Fund 
and later spent. Any additional collections and spending from 
enacting S. 330 would not be significant because of the small 
number of cases likely to be affected.
    S. 330 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
    On March 25, 2003, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
330, the ``Veterans' Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act 
of 2003,'' as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on the 
Judiciary on March 20, 2003. The two versions of the 
legislation are identical, as are the two estimates.
    The CBO staff contact is Melissa E. Zimmerman. This 
estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion


Section 1. Short Title

    Section 1 titles the bill the ``Veterans' Memorial 
Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003.''

Section 2. Criminal Penalties for Destruction of Veterans' Memorials

    Section 2 amends chapter 65 of title 18 to create a new 
section 1369 titled ``Destruction of veterans' memorials.'' 
This section provides that anyone who willfully injures or 
destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, 
plaque, statue, or other monument on public property 
commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed 
forces of the United States shall be fined under this title, 
imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. Section 2 further 
specifies that these criminal penalties shall attach when a 
defendant travels or causes another to travel in interstate or 
foreign commerce to commit this crime, uses an instrumentality 
of interstate commerce to commit the crime, or when the 
structure, plaque or statue commemorating military service to 
the United States is located on, owned by, or under the 
jurisdiction of the United States. Section 2 also makes 
technical corrections to title 18 to reflect this change.

Section 3. Highway Signs Relating to Veterans' Cemeteries

    This section states that Federal veterans' cemeteries shall 
be treated as a site for which a supplemental guide sign may be 
place on any Federal-aid highway. This provision shall apply to 
agreements entered into before, on, or after the date of 
enactment.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

               CHAPTER 65 OF TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE


                     CHAPTER 65--MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

Sec.
1361.  Government property or contracts.
     * * * * * * *
1369.  Destruction of veterans' memorials.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 1369. Destruction of veterans' memorials

    (a) Whoever, in a circumstance described in subsection (b), 
willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or 
destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on 
public property commemorating the service of any person or 
persons in the armed forces of the United States shall be fined 
under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
    (b) A circumstance described in this subsection is that--
            (1) in committing the offense described in 
        subsection (a), the defendant travels or causes another 
        to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or uses 
        the mail or an instrumentality of interstate or foreign 
        commerce; or
            (2) the structure, plaque, statue, or other 
        monument described in subsection (a) is located on 
        property owned by, or under the jurisdiction of, the 
        Federal Government.

                    Committee Jurisdictional Letters

                          House of Representatives,
            Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
                                      Washington, DC, May 19, 2003.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Rayburn 
        House Office Building, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Sensenbrenner: I am writing with regard to S. 
330, the Veteran's Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 
2003. As you know, the Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure was named as an additional Committee on 
jurisdiction.
    I recognize your desire to bring this important bill before 
the House in an expeditious manner. Accordingly, I will not 
exercise my Committee's right to mark up the legislation. By 
agreeing to waive its consideration of the bill, however, the 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructive does not waive 
its jurisdiction over S. 330. In addition, the Transportation 
and Infrastructure Committee reserves its right to seek 
conferees on provisions of the bill are within its jurisdiction 
during any House-Senate conference that may be convened on this 
legislation. I ask for your commitment to support any request 
by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for 
conferees on S. 330.
    I request that you include a copy of our exchange of 
letters in your Committee's Report on S. 330 and in the 
Congressional Record during consideration on the House Floor. 
Thank you.
            Sincerely,
                                                 Don Young,
                                                          Chairman.
                                ------                                

                          House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                      Washington, DC, May 19, 2003.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Washington, 
        DC.
    Dear Chairman Young: This letter responds to your letter 
dated May 19, 2003 concerning S. 330, the ``Veterans' Memorial 
Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003.''
    I agree that the bill contains matters within the 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's jurisdiction and 
appreciate your willingness to be discharged from further 
consideration of S. 330 so we may proceed to the floor. I 
acknowledge that by being discharged, your committee in no way 
waives its jurisdiction over these matters.
    Pursuant to your request, a copy of your letter and this 
letter will be included in the Committee on the Judiciary's 
report on S. 330 and in the Congressional Record during House 
floor consideration of the bill. I appreciate your attention to 
this matter.
            Sincerely,
                               F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.,
                                                          Chairman.
                                ------                                


                           Markup Transcript




                            BUSINESS MEETING

                         WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2003

                          House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in 
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. F. James 
Sensenbrenner, Jr. [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    [Intervening business.]
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The next item on the agenda, 
pursuant to notice, I now call up the bill S. 330, the 
``Veterans' Memorial Preservation Recognition Act of 2003,'' 
for purposes of markup and move its favorable recommendation to 
the full House.
    Without objection, the bill will be considered as read and 
open for amendment at any point.
    [The bill, S. 330, follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. And the Chair recognizes himself 
for 5 minutes to explain the bill.
    The bill will establish specific criminal penalties for the 
willful destruction of Federal property commemorating services 
of America's Armed Forces. Unlike other acts of theft and 
vandalism, the attacks against Federal cemeteries and veterans 
memorials uniquely affront the memory of those who sacrificed 
for our freedom and undermine our collective commitment to 
honor their service.
    The egregious nature of these crimes necessitates a swift 
and decisive Federal response. The bill provides that anyone 
who willfully injures or destroys or attempts to destroy a 
property that commemorates service in our Armed Forces shall be 
imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined an amount equal to the 
cost of repairing damages stemming from these acts.
    In 1997 Congress passed legislation that directed the 
Sentencing Commission to enhance penalties for the destruction 
of property on Federal cemeteries. However, unlike this earlier 
legislation, this bill specifically recognized the abhorrent 
nature of these offenses by establishing a new Federal crime 
for injuring or destroying veterans memorials.
    The bill was reported by the full Senate Judiciary 
Committee, without amendment, and passed the full Senate under 
unanimous consent.
    I can think of few times in recent memory when this 
legislation would be more timely and appropriate, and I urge 
your support. Yield back the balance of my time.
    The gentleman from Virginia.
    Mr. Scott. Mr. Chairman, I think you indicated it is up to 
10 years. What is the Sentencing Commission doing with this 
type of crime now, if the Chairman knows?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. If the gentleman will yield, it is 
an enhancement of two levels upward. What this bill does is it 
creates a specific Federal crime for this type of activity.
    Mr. Scott. And the Sentencing Commission would have 
guidelines for the violation of this specific sentencing 
action?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The answer is no, this is a 
specific Federal predicate.
    Mr. Scott. If someone violated this, where would we go to 
find out what the penalty would be?
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. If the gentleman will yield, the 
Sentencing Commission ultimately will issue guidelines.
    Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, all Members may 
include opening statements in the record at this point.
    Are there amendments? Are there amendments? There being no 
amendments, a reporting quorum is still not present. Without 
objection, the previous question is ordered on reporting the 
bill favorably.
    [Intervening business.]
    The unfinished business is the bill S. 330, the ``Veterans' 
Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act.'' The Chair notes 
the presence of a reporting quorum. The question is on 
reporting the bill favorably.
    Those in favor will signify by saying aye.
    Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it, and the 
motion to report favorably is agreed to.
    Without objection, the Chair is authorized to move to go to 
conference pursuant to House rules. Without objection, the 
staff is authorized to make technical and conforming changes, 
and all Members will be given 2 days, pursuant to House rules, 
in which to submit additional supplemental, minority or 
dissenting views.