[House Report 107-305]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
107th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 107-305
COMMUNITY RECOGNITION ACT OF 2001
November 29, 2001.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1022]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the
bill (H.R. 1022) to amend title 4, United States Code, to make
sure the rules of etiquette for flying the flag of the United
States do not preclude the flying of flags at half mast when
ordered by city and local officials, having considered the
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and
recommends that the bill as amended do pass.
The Amendment.................................................... 1
Purpose and Summary.............................................. 2
Background and Need for the Legislation.......................... 2
Committee Consideration.......................................... 2
Vote of the Committee............................................ 2
Committee Oversight Findings..................................... 2
Performance Goals and Objectives................................. 3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................ 3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................ 3
Constitutional Authority Statement............................... 4
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion....................... 4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............ 4
Markup Transcript................................................ 5
The technical amendment (stated in terms of the page and
line numbers of the introduced bill) is as follows:
Page 2, line 3, insert ``other'' before ``locality''.
Purpose and Summary
The purpose of H.R. 1022 is to make sure the rules of
etiquette for flying the flag of the United States do not
preclude the flying of flags at half mast when ordered by city
and local officials. The legislation would authorize the chief
elected leader of a city or other locality, in the event of the
death of a present or former official of that particular
locality, to proclaim that the national flag be flown at half
Background and Need for the Legislation
Currently, 4 U.S.C. Sec. 7(m) grants authority to the
President of the United States or the Governor of any State,
territory, or possession to order that the national flag be
flown at half staff in recognition of the death of a current or
former official of the government under which they preside.
Local officials may order the national flag flown at half mast
only with the direct permission of the President or their
Governor. Such permission is not always timely, which results
in the missed opportunity to properly honor the decended.
H.R. 1022 would permit the chief elected official of local
government entities, such as cities, towns, counties, or other
similar and like traditional political subdivisions, to honor
those leaders or public servants who either died in the line of
duty or passed away following a distinguished career in public
service by ordering the national flag flown at half staff.
While the code does not expressly outlaw the common
practice of lowering the flag in honor of local heroes it does
not expressly permit such activity. This obscure wording has
upset local officials across the country who believe that
communities should have the right to honor their fellow
citizens without having to receive the express and time
consuming permission of either the President or their Governor.
No hearings were held on H.R. 1022.
On November 15, 2001, the Committee met in open session and
ordered favorably reported the bill H.R. 1022 without amendment
by voice vote, a quorum being present.
Vote of the Committee
No recorded votes were held on H.R. 1022.
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
H.R. 1022 does not authorize funding. Therefore, clause
3(c) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives
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 bill, H.R. 1022, the following estimate and
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, November 19, 2001.
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 H.R. 1022, the
Community Recognition Act of 2001.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Lanette J.
Walker, who can be reached at 226-2860.
Dan L. Crippen, Director.
Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
H.R. 1022--Community Recognition Act of 2001.
H.R. 1022 would authorize certain State and local officials
to order that the national flag be flown at half staff in the
event of the death of a present or former official of that
State or locality. Under current law, only a State's governor
or the President may make such proclamations. CBO estimates
that implementing H.R. 1022 would not result in any significant
cost to the Federal Government. Because enactment of H.R. 1022
would not affect direct spending or receipts, pay-as-you-go
procedures would not apply to the bill. H.R. 1022 contains no
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets
of State, local, or tribal governments.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Lanette J.
Walker, who can be reached at 226-2860. This estimate was
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for
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, clause 18 of the
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion
Section 1. Short Title.
This act may be cited as the ``Community Recognition Act of
Section 2. Flag code amendment.
Section 2 provides that Section 7(m) of title 4, United
States Code, is amended by inserting after the sentence
beginning ``In the event of the death of a present or former
official of the government of any State'' the following: ``In
the event of the death of a present or former official of any
city or other locality, the chief elected official of that
locality may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at
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 italics and existing law in which no change is
proposed is shown in roman):
SECTION 7 OF TITLE 4, UNITED STATES CODE
Sec. 7. Position and manner of display
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or
flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the
flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in
front of the center of that line.
(a) * * *
* * * * * * *
(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first
hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the
half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the
peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag
should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised
to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag
shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal
figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a
State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their
memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign
dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff
according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in
accordance with recognized customs or practices not
inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present
or former official of the government of any State, territory,
or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State,
territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag
shall be flown at half-staff. In the event of the death of a
present or former official of any city or other locality, the
chief elected official of that locality may proclaim that the
National flag shall be flown at half staff. The flag shall be
flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or
a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice
President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the
United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military
department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a
State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and
the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be
flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that
day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection--
(1) * * *
* * * * * * *
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2001
House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m., in
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. F. James
Sensenbrenner, Jr. (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Committee will be in order.
Before we consider the business on today's calendar, I
would like to dispose of one housekeeping matter, and that is
filling the two Republican vacancies on the Subcommittee on
Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property.
Without objection, the gentleman from California, Mr. Issa,
and the gentlewoman from Pennsylvania, Ms. Hart, are appointed
to serve on this Subcommittee.
Hearing no objection, so ordered.
The first bill on the agenda today will be H.R. 1022. And
pursuant to notice, I call this bill up for purpose of mark up
and move its favorable recommendation to the House. Without
objection, the bill will be considered as read and open for
amendment at any point.
[The bill, H.R. 1022, follows:]
Chairman Sensenbrenner. And I yield myself 5 minutes.
On June 28th, 2001, the Corrections Day Advisory Group met
and recommended that H.R. 1022 be placed upon the corrections
calendar. Unfortunately, as of late, we have had increased
occasion to visit the rules and etiquette in place of honoring
of public servants.
Although at the time which Mr. Doolittle of California
introduced H.R. 1022 the calamity of September 11th was far
off, the content of this legislation rings more loudly after
the events of that day and affords Congress the opportunity to
visit the laws involving the recognition of those who provide
Currently under the Flag Code, the authority is only
granted to the President or the Governor of any State,
territory, or possession to order that the national flag be
flown at half-staff in recognition of the death of a current or
former official of the government, including public safety
Under existing law, in the event of a death of a local
official who has chosen to be honored by having the National
flag lowered, direct permission must be sought by local
officials from either the President or their Governor. The
result of the current practice is a chain of communication
which is not always timely and can result in the missed
opportunity to honor some of these deceased public servants.
By passing H.R. 1022 out of Committee today, we can solve
this problem by granting authority directly to the locally
elected leaders to call for and approve such recognition.
Immediate authorization would be granted at the local level,
ensuring that no local hero passes without community support
and the recognition which he or she deserves.
I urge the Committee to support this bill. I yield back the
balance of my time and recognize the gentleman from Michigan.
Mr. Conyers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We on this side have no objection to and, indeed, support
Chairman Sensenbrenner. Are there any amendments?
Hearing no amendments, the Chair notes the absence of a
reporting quorum. Without objection, the previous question is
ordered on the motion to report the bill favorably. And this
vote will be taken when we have--see a reporting quorum
A reporting quorum being present, the unfinished business
is the motion to report favorably the bill H.R. 1022.
Those in favor will say aye.
The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it. The motion to
report favorably is adopted.
Without objection, the Chairman is authorized to move to go
to conference pursuant to House rules. Without objection, the
staff is directed to make any technical and conforming changes.
And all Members will be given 2 days as provided by the rules
in which to submit additional dissenting, supplemental, or
[The statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a
Representative in Congress From the State of Texas
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
I support HR 1022, which simply authorizes the chief elected
official of a locality, in the event of the death of a present or
former official of that locality, to proclaim that the national flag
shall be flown at half staff. This bill amends Title 4, United States
Code, ensuring that the important rules of etiquette for flying the
flag of the United States do not preclude the flying of flags at half
mast when ordered by city and local officials.
The section currently gives such explicit authority only to the
President or, for certain purposes, the Governor of the state. This
language is unnecessary and technically confusing because the
subsection also reads in part that the flag may be flown at half staff
``in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent
The U.S. Supreme Court has, on two occasions, held that display of
the flag, or the burning of the flag, are forms of expression protected
by the First Amendment to the Constitution. As such, laws that mandate
appropriate flag etiquette are unenforceable. This bill simply
clarifies that there should be no such interference in such instances.
I urge my colleagues to support it.
The Chair thanks the Members for their indulgence and
support. This concludes the business on the notice, and the
Committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:06 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]