H.R. 4119, West Hunter Street Baptist Church Study Act

H.R. 4119

West Hunter Street Baptist Church Study Act

Sponsor
Rep. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.

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

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, September 15, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4119, the West Hunter Street Baptist Church Study Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4119 was introduced on February 28, 2014 by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.  The bill was marked up on July 30, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4119 directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to conduct a special resource study to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the historic West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and the block where the church is located as part of the National Park System.  Within three years of the date on which the funds are made available for the study, the Secretary must submit to Congress a report containing the results of the study, as well as the Secretary’s conclusions and recommendations.

Background

“During the Civil Rights Movement, the West Hunter Street Baptist Church served as a headquarters for many Civil Rights workers and organizers.  It was the site of many important leadership meetings and doubled as a school for nonviolent protest during initiatives such as the Voter Education Project and the Freedom Summer of 1964.  It was also a spiritual refuge for the countless men and women who devoted their lives to the cause.”[1]

The National Park System is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) within the Department of the Interior.[2]  Units are generally added by acts of Congress.[3]  “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.”[4]

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[1] U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, Congressman Seeks to Preserve Historic Civil Rights Church (Apr. 14, 2014).
[2] Carol Hardy Vincent, National Park System: Establishing New Units (Mar. 26, 2014) at Summary.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 4119 would cost approximately $150,000 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.