[House Report 107-384]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



107th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     107-384

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



 
MYCHAL JUDGE POLICE AND FIRE CHAPLAINS PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS' BENEFIT 
                              ACT OF 2002

                                _______
                                

 April 9, 2002.--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 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3297]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 3297) to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
Streets Act of 1968 to ensure that chaplains killed in the line 
of duty receive public safety officer death benefits, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
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............     6
Markup Transcript................................................     7

    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 ``Mychal Judge Police and Fire 
Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefit Act of 2002''.

SEC. 2. BENEFITS FOR CHAPLAINS.

    (a) In General.--Section 1204 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (2) through (7) as (3) 
        through (8), respectively;
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:
            ``(2) `chaplain' means any individual serving as an 
        officially recognized or designated member of a legally 
        organized volunteer fire department or legally organized police 
        department, or an officially recognized or designated public 
        employee of a legally organized fire or police department who 
        was responding to a fire, rescue, or police emergency;''; and
            (3) in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (8), as redesignated 
        by paragraph (1), by inserting after ``firefighter,'' the 
        following: ``as a chaplain,''.
    (b) Eligible Beneficiaries.--Section 1201(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 
3796(a)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``or'' at the end;
            (2) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5); and
            (3) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following new 
        paragraph:
            ``(4) if there is no surviving spouse or surviving child, 
        to the individual designated by such officer as beneficiary 
        under such officer's most recently executed life insurance 
        policy, provided that such individual survived such officer; 
        or''.
    (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take 
effect on September 11, 2001, and shall apply to injuries or deaths 
that occur in the line of duty on or after such date.

                          Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of H.R. 3297 is to restructure the Public 
Safety Officers Benefits program administered by the Bureau of 
Justice Assistance by specifically including chaplains as a 
position covered within law enforcement and firefighting units 
as well as broadening those who may receive such benefits in 
the event of a death in the line of duty by including as a 
potential beneficiary the named persons who are listed on the 
most recently executed life insurance policy. Currently, the 
definition is such that it is not clear whether chaplains who 
are employed by police and fire departments and who die in the 
line of duty are allowed Public Safety Officer Benefits and, 
when benefits are paid, beneficiaries are limited to spouses, 
children, and parents.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    On September 11, 2001, Father Mychal F. Judge, chaplain 
with the New York City Fire Department, was struck in the head 
by debris at the World Trade Center, as he was ministering to 
victims of the horrific event. He died as a result and was 
survived only by his two sisters.
    Under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3796, the Bureau of Justice Assistance 
(BJA) is allowed to determine whether or not a public officer 
has died as a direct or proximate cause of a personal injury 
sustained in the line of duty, and if such criteria is met the 
Bureau is directed to pay a monetary benefit of $250,000 to 
such officers surviving family members. Although the BJA 
decided Father Judge was eligible for payment of death 
benefits, none were paid to his life insurance beneficiaries as 
they did not meet the qualifications of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3796(a). 
Father Judge had never married, never had children, and had 
outlived his parents, thus no individual qualified as a 
beneficiary under existing law. However, Father Judge was 
survived by his two sisters, both of whom were ineligible under 
current law to receive the death benefit.
    Currently, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3796b defines the term ``public 
safety officers'' for the purpose of determining who is 
eligible for the Public Safety Officers Benefit. Those eligible 
are limited in scope to law enforcement officers, firefighters, 
members of rescue teams or ambulance crews, an employee of FEMA 
under certain conditions, and members of State, local, or 
tribal emergency management or civil defense agencies who are 
performing official duties in cooperation with FEMA . Although 
the language of existing law could be interpreted to include 
chaplains, H.R. 3297 would resolve any existing ambiguity. The 
bill specifically names the chaplain as a recognized 
subdivision of public servant who may benefit from the Public 
Safety Officers Benefits as long as they are associated with 
either a police or fire department and are responding to a 
fire, rescue, or police emergency.
    Additionally, H.R. 3297 would expand the list of who would 
be allowed to receive such a benefit in the event of a death 
which occurred in the line of duty. Current law restricts such 
beneficiaries to the spouse, child, or parent of the decedent. 
H.R. 3297 would expand this list, which would still give 
priority to spouses and children, but in the event that neither 
survived the officer, would allow the monetary benefit to be 
paid to the individual designated by such officer as 
beneficiary under that officer's most recently executed life 
insurance policy. In the event that there was no such 
individual named or that an individual so named did not survive 
the officer, the benefit would then be paid to the parents of 
the officer.

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on H.R. 3297.

                        Committee Consideration

    On March 7, 2002, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered favorably reported the bill H.R. 3297 with amendment by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    An amendment was offered by Mr. Nadler (for himself and Mr. 
Sensenbrenner) to insert language on page 3, lines 2 through 5, 
by striking ``person'' in both places such term appears and 
inserting ``individual''. The amendment was agreed to by voice 
vote.

                      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. 3297 does not authorize funding. Therefore, clause 
3(c) 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 bill, H.R. 3297, 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, March 28, 2002.
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. 3297, the Mychal 
Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefit 
Act of 2001.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                  Dan L. Crippen, Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 3297--Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety 
        Officers' Benefit Act of 2001.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3297 would increase direct 
spending by about $2 million in fiscal year 2002 and by less 
than $500,000 in each year thereafter. Because the bill would 
affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply. 
H.R. 3297 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.
    For incidents occurring on or after September 11, 2001, 
H.R. 3297 would make chaplains of fire and police departments 
eligible for the benefits available to public safety officers 
who have died or who have been permanently disabled as a result 
of injuries sustained in the line of duty. Under current law, 
the families of public safety officers who have died as a 
result of such injuries are eligible for a payment of $250,000. 
Officers who have been permanently disabled are eligible for 
the same payment; however, this payment is subject to the 
availability of appropriations. Based on information from the 
Department of Justice, CBO estimates that this provision of 
H.R. 3297 would cost less than $500,000 annually because it is 
extremely rare for a police or fire chaplain to be killed in 
the line of duty. There was one fire department chaplain killed 
in the September 11th attacks in New York: Father Mychal Judge.
    In addition, for incidents occurring on or after September 
11, 2001, H.R. 3297 would expand the list of eligible 
recipients for the $250,000 death benefit. The bill would allow 
for payments to individuals that are named on a deceased 
officer's life insurance policy other than spouses, children, 
and parents, who currently are eligible to receive the $250,000 
payment.
    Of the approximately 450 public safety officers killed in 
the September 11th attacks, there are 10 individuals known to 
have died without spouses, children, or parents, so the 
$250,000 death benefit will not be paid under current law. 
Based on information from the Department of Justice and from 
associations representing police officers and firefighters, CBO 
expects that a majority of the 10 deceased individuals had life 
insurance policies, thus the beneficiaries of those policies 
would be eligible for a $250,000 payment under H.R. 3297. We 
estimate that enacting H.R. 3297 would increase direct spending 
by about $2 million in fiscal year 2002.
    For fiscal year 2003 and subsequent years, CBO estimates 
that H.R. 3297 would cost less than $500,000 annually for death 
benefits paid to life insurance beneficiaries. The events of 
September 11, 2001, resulted in an unusually high number of 
public safety officer deaths that affect Federal payments in 
fiscal year 2002; in most years, payments to survivors of 
public safety officers have numbered about 200. It is very 
unusual for an officer to die in the line of duty with no 
spouse, children, or parents, according to associations for 
police officers and firefighters. Aside from the 10 cases 
resulting from the attacks of September 11, 2001, there have 
been no such cases reported in recent years.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz, 
who can be reached at 226-2860. 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, clause 18 of the 
Constitution.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion

                         Section 1. Short Title

    This act may be cited as the ``Mychal Judge Police and Fire 
Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefit Act of 2002.''

                   Section 2. Benefits for Chaplains

    Subsection (a) amends section 1204 of the Omnibus Crime 
Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796(b)) to 
make chaplains eligible for the Public Safety Officers Benefit. 
It also defines the term ``chaplain'' as any individual serving 
as an officially recognized or designated member of a legally 
organized volunteer fire department or legally organized police 
department, or an officially recognized or designated public 
employee of a legally organized fire or police department who 
was responding to a fire, rescue, or police emergency.
    Subsection (b) amends section 1201(a) of the Omnibus Crime 
Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796(a)) to 
expand eligible beneficiaries to include individuals named on 
life insurance policies.
    Subsection (c) makes H.R. 3297 retroactive, stating that 
``the amendments made by this section shall take effect on 
September 11, 2001, and shall apply to injuries or deaths that 
occur in the line of duty on or after such date.''

         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 italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

          OMNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND SAFE STREETS ACT OF 1968

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                  TITLE I--JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


             Part L--Public Safety Officers' Death Benefits

                       Subpart 1--Death Benefits

                                payments

    Sec. 1201. (a) In any case in which the Bureau of Justice 
Assistance (hereinafter in this part referred to as the 
``Bureau'') determines, under regulations issued pursuant to 
this part, that a public safety officer has died as the direct 
and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line 
of duty, the Bureau shall pay a benefit of $250,000, adjusted 
in accordance with subsection (h), as follows:
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (3) if there is no surviving spouse, to the child 
        or children of such officer in equal shares; [or]
            (4) if there is no surviving spouse or surviving 
        child, to the individual designated by such officer as 
        beneficiary under such officer's most recently executed 
        life insurance policy, provided that such individual 
        survived such officer; or
            [(4)] (5) if none of the above, to the parent or 
        parents of such officer in equal shares.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                              DEFINITIONS

    Sec. 1204. As used in this part--
            (1) * * *
            (2) ``chaplain'' means any individual serving as an 
        officially recognized or designated member of a legally 
        organized volunteer fire department or legally 
        organized police department, or an officially 
        recognized or designated public employee of a legally 
        organized fire or police department who was responding 
        to a fire, rescue, or police emergency;
            [(2)] (3) ``child'' means any natural, 
        illegitimate, adopted, or posthumous child or stepchild 
        of a deceased public safety officer who, at the time of 
        the public safety officer's death, is--
                    (i) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            [(3)] (4) ``firefighter'' includes an individual 
        serving as an official recognized or designated member 
        of a legally organized volunteer fire department and an 
        officially recognized or designated public employee 
        member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew;
            [(4)] (5) ``intoxication'' means a disturbance of 
        mental or physical faculties resulting from the 
        introduction of alcohol into the body as evidence by--
                    (i) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

        or resulting from drugs or other substances in the 
        body;
            [(5)] (6) ``law enforcement officer'' means an 
        individual involved in crime and juvenile delinquency 
        control or reduction, or enforcement of the laws, 
        including, but not limited to, police, corrections, 
        probation, parole, and judicial officers;
            [(6)] (7) ``public agency'' means the United 
        States, any State of the United States, the District of 
        Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin 
        Islands of the United States, Guam, American Samoa, the 
        Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any 
        territory or possession of the United States, or any 
        unit of local government, agency, or instrumentality of 
        any of the foregoing; and
            [(7)] (8) ``public safety officer'' means--
                    (A) an individual serving a public agency 
                in an official capacity, with or without 
                compensation, as a law enforcement officer, as 
                a firefighter, as a chaplain, or as a member of 
                a rescue squad or ambulance crew;

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                           Markup Transcript



                            BUSINESS MEETING

                        THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2002

                  House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:35 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.
    [Intervening business.]
    Pursuant to notice, I now call up the bill H.R. 3297, the 
``Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety 
Officers' Benefit Act of 2001'' for purposes of markup and move 
its favorable recommendation to the House. Without objection, 
the bill will be considered as read and open for amendment at 
any time.
    [The bill, H.R. 3297, follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members, including the Chair, be allowed to insert opening 
statements in the record at this point in time, and recognize 
the gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler, for an amendment.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Sensenbrenner follows:]
  Prepared Statement of the Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., a 
         Representative in Congress From the State of Wisconsin
    Once again, this Committee has reason to visit the events of 
September 11. Through the tragedy of that day, we have heard countless 
stories, and have tried to do what we could as a Committee to remedy 
that which we may legislatively address. H.R. 3297 is one such remedy 
which stems from one such story.
    Father Mychal F. Judge, a priest who years earlier had consoled the 
families of TWA Flight 800 after it exploded off of Long Island and who 
had gone on a recent peace mission to Northern Ireland, had been a 
chaplain with the New York City Fire Department since 1992. Acting in 
his capacity as chaplain, he was present at the World Trade Center 
after the attack commenced, ministering to the victims of that 
horrendous deed, when a rain of debris showered over him, resulting in 
his death.
    H.R. 3297 is given a short name in recognition of Father Judge and 
his efforts, while addressing two concerns brought up under current law 
which his situation has brought to light. Under current law, the Bureau 
of Justice Assistance is directed to make payment of monetary benefits 
to survivors of public safety officers who are killed in the line of 
duty. This bill addresses any ambiguity which may exist in existing 
legal language, specifically naming chaplains who are in service as 
being covered by the same criteria as other public service officers. 
Additionally, this bill would allow for the beneficiary under that 
officer's most recently executed life insurance policy to receive the 
monetary benefit administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in 
the case that the deceased had neither a spouse or a child left as a 
survivor.
    I urge all Members to support H.R. 3297.

    [The prepared statement of Mr. Nadler follows:]
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Jerrold Nadler, a Representative in 
                  Congress From the State of New York
    The ``Mychal Judge Police and Fire Chaplains Public Safety 
Officers' Benefit Act of 2001"
    Thank you for yielding time.
    I ask unanimous consent to include in the record this letter from 
the National Association of Police Organizations in support of H.R. 
3297. Thank you.
    Mr. Chairman, I strongly support the Mychal Judge Police and Fire 
Chaplains Public Safety Officers' Benefit Act.
    I worked closely with Rep. Manzullo on this bill to extend the 
Public Safety Officers Benefit Program (PSOB) to chaplains, and I want 
to thank the Chairman for bringing this bill before the Committee for a 
markup so expeditiously.
    Franciscan Friar Mychal Judge was a pastor at the Church of St. 
Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street in Manhattan. He was a well known 
New York City Fire Department Chaplain and he helped console the 
families of the victims of Trans World Airways Flight 800 that crashed 
off the coast of Long Island in 1996.
    On September 11, 2001, when the first plane hit tower Tower 1 of 
the World Trade Center, Father Judge joined his fellow firefighters by 
rushing to the scene. New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani later said he 
saw the Chaplain at the scene and asked him to pray for us. The 
Chaplain was there providing support and administering last rites to 
the suffering victims of the attacks.
    Tragically, Father Judge was killed at the World Trade Center. 
Clearly, Father Judge provided heroic service to our nation and ought 
to be eligible for the PSOB program.
    As you know, the PSOB provides financial and emotional assistance 
to the families of public safety officers killed in the line of duty 
and to officers who are permanently and totally disabled as the result 
of traumatic injuries sustained in the line of duty.
    Father Judge is one of several chaplains who have died in the line 
of duty. This bill would acknowledge their service to our country by 
clarifying their eligibility in the PSOB program and by enabling their 
designated beneficiaries to access the benefits provided by the 
program.
    I fully support this bill and I urge my colleagues to support it as 
well.

    Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Before I offer the amendment, I ask unanimous consent to 
include in the record this letter in support of the bill from 
the National Association of Police Organizations.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection.
    [The information referred to follows:]
    
    
    Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have an amendment at 
the desk.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the clerk will 
report the amendment. And without objection, the amendment is 
considered as read.
    [The amendment follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentleman from New York is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
    And without objection, the amendment is adopted. 
[Laughter.]
    Mr. Nadler. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Are there further amendments? 
Hearing none, the question occurs on the motion to report the 
bill H.R. 3297 favorably as amended. The Chair notes the 
presence of a reporting quorum.
    All in favor say aye.
    Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it. The motion to 
report favorably is adopted. Without objection, the bill will 
be reported favorably to the House in the form of a single 
amendment in the nature of a substitute, incorporating the 
amendment adopted today.
    Without objection, the Chair 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 House Rules 
in which to submit additional dissenting, supplemental, or 
minority views.
    And there being no further business to come before the 
Committee, the Committee stands adjourned.
    [Whereupon, at 11:25 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]