H.R. 3222, Flushing Remonstrance Study Act

H.R. 3222

Flushing Remonstrance Study Act

Sponsor
Rep. Grace Meng

Date
September 15, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, September 15, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 3222, the Flushing Remonstrance Study Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 3222 was introduced on September 30, 2013 by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.  The bill was marked up on March 13, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.[1]

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[1] House Committee Report 113-395.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3222 directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance in Queens, New York.  The study must evaluate the suitability and feasibility of designating related locations in Queens as part of the National Park System.  Within three years of the funds being made available for the study, the Secretary must submit to Congress a report containing the results of the study and any conclusions and recommendations.

Background

In the 1600s, Dutch and English settlers assimilated in what later became Queens County.[1]  “Although the Dutch Republic was well known for its toleration of other faiths, Director General Peter Stuyvesant and his council thought that liberty of worship should not be granted to Quakers.”[2] A government ordinance was subsequently issued, prohibiting the practice of any religion outside the Dutch Reformed Church.[3]  In 1657, thirty residents signed a petition—later called the Flushing Remonstrance—opposing the order.[4]  They were arrested for their actions.[5]  The Flushing Remonstrance “is recognized as a forerunner of the First Amendment of the Constitution and one of the earliest demands for freedom of religion in what became the United States.”[6]

The National Park System is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) within the Department of the Interior.[7]  Units are generally added by acts of Congress.[8]  “Before enacting a law to add a unit, Congress often first enacts a law requiring the NPS to study an area, typically to assess its national significance, suitability and feasibility, and other management options.  When Congress directs the NPS to prepare a study, the agency must assess whether an area contains natural or cultural resources that are nationally significant, constitutes one of the most important examples of a type of resource, and is a suitable and feasible addition to the Park System.  The agency also is to consider certain factors established in law (e.g., threats to resources) to promote the consistency and professionalism of the studies.”[9]

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[1] H.R. 3222, Sec. 2(3).
[2] Id. at Sec. 2(4).
[3] Id. at Sec. 2(5).
[4] Id. at Sec. 2(6).
[5] Id. at Sec. 2(7).
[6] House Committee Report 113-395 at 3.
[7] Carol Hardy Vincent, National Park System: Establishing New Units (Mar. 26, 2014) at Summary.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 3222 would cost approximately $250,000 over the next three years.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.