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115th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                     {      115-456

======================================================================



 
       PROTECTING RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED INSTITUTIONS ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

 December 11, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1730]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 1730) to amend title 18, United States Code, to 
provide for the protection of community centers with religious 
affiliation, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend 
that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     4
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     5
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     5
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     5

                             The Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Protecting Religiously Affiliated 
Institutions Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF COMMUNITY CENTERS WITH RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION.

  Section 247 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a)(2), by inserting after ``threat of 
        force,'' the following: ``including by threat of force against 
        religious real property,'';
          (2) in subsection (d)--
                  (A) in paragraph (3), by striking ``and'' at the end;
                  (B) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5); 
                and
                  (C) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
          ``(4) if damage to or destruction of property results from 
        the acts committed, by means of fire or explosives, in 
        violation of this section, a fine in accordance with this title 
        and imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or both; and''; and
          (3) in subsection (f), by inserting before the period at the 
        end the following: ``, or real property owned or leased by a 
        nonprofit, religiously affiliated organization''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1730 amends the Church Arson Prevention Act to clarify 
that the conduct covered under this statute includes bomb 
threats to religious institutions, whether they be synagogues, 
mosques, churches, or religious community centers. Subsection 
(a)(2) of the Act is sometimes charged in conjunction with the 
federal bomb statute, in cases in which defendants have 
threatened to bomb religious buildings. This legislation adds 
language to subsection (a)(2) to clarify that threats covered 
under this subsection include threats to property, such as bomb 
threats, so long as the threat causes such intimidation to 
intentionally obstruct an individual's ability to exercise his 
or her religious beliefs. In practice, this would only arise in 
the case of a threat so serious that it caused someone to feel 
fear of bodily harm and, therefore, to feel physically 
obstructed from exercising their religious beliefs.
    The legislation also modestly increases the criminal 
penalty in this section for cases in which the underlying 
conduct causes damage or destruction to property, but only 
where such damage is caused by fire or explosives. Finally, it 
clarifies that ``religious real property'' includes property 
that is leased by religious institutions, to ensure property 
such as religious community centers are covered.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    In the past year, the number of threats toward religious 
institutions has skyrocketed. According to the Anti-Defamation 
League, between January and March alone, there were 161 hoax 
bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and other Jewish 
institutions, an increase of 127 percent over the same quarter 
in 2016. This year, Islamic centers and mosques have been 
burned in the states of Texas, Washington, and Florida. H.R. 
1730 therefore clarifies that the criminal penalties under the 
Church Arson Prevention Act apply to religiously affiliated 
institutions and increases criminal penalties under the Act for 
serious threats to religiously affiliated institutions that 
effectively obstruct access to the property, in order to deter 
these threats.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
1730.

                        Committee Consideration

    On November 2, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 1730 favorably reported by voice vote, a 
quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 1730.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises 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.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives 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 bill, H.R. 1730, 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, November 20, 2017.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1730, the 
Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2017.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

cc: Honorable John Conyers Jr.
   Ranking Member




 H.R. 1730--Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2017


As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on November 
                                2, 2017




    H.R. 1730 would broaden the coverage of current laws 
against damaging religious property; that change would allow 
the government to pursue some cases that it otherwise may not 
be able to prosecute. CBO expects that the bill would apply to 
a relatively small number of offenders, however, so any 
increase in costs for law enforcement, court proceedings, or 
prison operations would not be significant. Any such spending 
would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Because people prosecuted and convicted under H.R. 1730 
could be subject to criminal fines, the federal government 
might collect additional fines under the bill. Criminal fines 
are recorded as revenues, deposited in the Crime Victims Fund, 
and later spent without further appropriation action. CBO 
expects that any additional revenues and associated direct 
spending would not be significant because the bill would 
probably affect a small number of cases.
    Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting H.R. 1730 
would affect direct spending and revenues. However, CBO 
estimates that any such effects would be insignificant on an 
annual basis.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1730 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1730 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 1730 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee finds that H.R. 1730 contains no directed 
rule making within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
1730 clarifies that the criminal penalties under the Church 
Arson Prevention Act apply to religiously affiliated 
institutions and increases criminal penalties under the Act for 
serious threats to religiously affiliated institutions that 
effectively block access to the property.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 1730 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1. Short Title. This section amends the short title 
of the bill to read ``Protecting Religiously Affiliated 
Institutions Act of 2017.''
    Section 2. Protection of Community Centers with Religious 
Affiliation. This section:
          1. Amends subsection (a)(2) of the Church Arson 
        Prevention Act to clarify that threats include threats 
        against property to demonstrate this can be used as a 
        corollary charge to the federal bomb threats statute;
          2. Provides for a fine and up to three years' 
        incarceration in cases in which the offense caused 
        damage by use of fire or explosives; and
          3. Clarifies that religious real property includes 
        land owned or leased by religiously affiliated 
        nonprofits.

         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 (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART I--CRIMES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER 13--CIVIL RIGHTS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 247. Damage to religious property; obstruction of persons in the 
                    free exercise of religious beliefs

  (a) Whoever, in any of the circumstances referred to in 
subsection (b) of this section--
          (1) intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any 
        religious real property, because of the religious 
        character of that property, or attempts to do so; or
          (2) intentionally obstructs, by force or threat of 
        force, including by threat of force against religious 
        real property, any person in the enjoyment of that 
        person's free exercise of religious beliefs, or 
        attempts to do so;
shall be punished as provided in subsection (d).
  (b) The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that 
the offense is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.
  (c) Whoever intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any 
religious real property because of the race, color, or ethnic 
characteristics of any individual associated with that 
religious property, or attempts to do so, shall be punished as 
provided in subsection (d).
  (d) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) of this 
section shall be--
          (1) if death results from acts committed in violation 
        of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or 
        an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an 
        attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an 
        attempt to kill, a fine in accordance with this title 
        and imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or 
        both, or may be sentenced to death;
          (2) if bodily injury results to any person, including 
        any public safety officer performing duties as a direct 
        or proximate result of conduct prohibited by this 
        section, and the violation is by means of fire or an 
        explosive, a fine under this title or imprisonment for 
        not more that 40 years, or both;
          (3) if bodily injury to any person, including any 
        public safety officer performing duties as a direct or 
        proximate result of conduct prohibited by this section, 
        results from the acts committed in violation of this 
        section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, 
        or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or 
        fire, a fine in accordance with this title and 
        imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both; [and]
          (4) if damage to or destruction of property results 
        from the acts committed, by means of fire or 
        explosives, in violation of this section, a fine in 
        accordance with this title and imprisonment for not 
        more than 3 years, or both; and
          [(4)] (5) in any other case, a fine in accordance 
        with this title and imprisonment for not more than one 
        year, or both.
  (e) No prosecution of any offense described in this section 
shall be undertaken by the United States except upon the 
certification in writing of the Attorney General or his 
designee that in his judgment a prosecution by the United 
States is in the public interest and necessary to secure 
substantial justice.
  (f) As used in this section, the term ``religious real 
property'' means any church, synagogue, mosque, religious 
cemetery, or other religious real property, including fixtures 
or religious objects contained within a place of religious 
worship, or real property owned or leased by a nonprofit, 
religiously affiliated organization.
  (g) No person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any 
noncapital offense under this section unless the indictment is 
found or the information is instituted not later than 7 years 
after the date on which the offense was committed.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]