Description: TO PASS H. R. 3180, A BILL TO CLARIFY THE PROPER USE OF THE FRANKING PRIVILEGE BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.
Bill summary: (LATEST SUMMARY)
States that the privilege of sending mail as franked mail is established in order to assist in the conduct of the official business and activities of the Congress of the United States.
Declares it to be the intent of Congress that mail matter which is frankable by a Member of Congress includes, but is not limited to: (1) mail matter to any person and to all agencies and officials of Federal, State, and local governments regarding programs, decisions, and other related
matters of public concern or public service; (2) congressional newsletters, reports, questionnaires, and press releases; (3) mail matter between his Washington and his office congressional district offices or between district offices; (4) mail matter expressing condolences or congratulations; (5) mail matter, including general mass mailings, which consist of Federal laws, regulations, or other publications; and (6) mail matter which consist of voter registration or election information. Includes in mail matter that is frankable specified biographical materials and pictures of the Member or Member-elect.
Expresses the intent of Congress that the franking privilege shall not permit the transmission of matter which is purely personal in nature. Excludes from franked mail: (1) laudatory articles of a Member on a purely personal basis rather than on the basis of performance of official duties; (2) greetings from the spouse or other members of the Member's family; (3) reports of how the Member or his family spends time other than in the performance of his official functions; (4) holiday greeting cards; (5) matter specifically soliciting political support or financial assistance; and (6) mass mailings within 28 days of an election.
Grants the franking privilege to the Vice President, each Member or Member-elect to Congress, the Secretary of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, and each of the elected officers of the House of Representatives, until the 1st day of April. Extends the privilege to individuals filling vacancies in the above offices.
States that the frankability of mail matter shall be determined by the type and content of the mail. Permits the cost of preparing frankable mail matter to be paid from any funds. Provides that the cost of postage shall not be considered as a contribution to, or expenditure by, the Vice President or Member for the purposes of determining any limitation on expenditures or contributions.
Authorizes Members of Congress to send as franked mail any part or reprint of the Congressional Record, including speeches or reports contained therein, if such matter is mailable as franked mail under the provisions of this Act.
Entitles a former President and his surviving spouse to send nonpolitical mail within the United States and its territories and possessions as franked mail. Amends 39 U.S.C. 3210, 3212, 3214, 3216, 3219
Establishes a House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, composed of six Members of the House of Representatives, with the Chairman to be designated from the Members of the Post Office and Civil Service Committee.
Provides that the Commission shall provide assistance through advisory opinions or consultations and prescribe regulations concerning the franking privilege under the provisions of this Act.
Sets forth procedures for complaints for violations of the use of the franking privilege, including an investigation, hearing, and written decision by the Commission within 30 days after a hearing or the filing of a complaint if no hearing is held.
Authorizes the Commission to refer decisions on violations to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for appropriate action and enforcement. Specifies that no court or administrative body shall have jurisdiction to entertain any civil action concerning franking privilege violations until such time as the Commission has rendered a decision.
States that the Senate Select Committee on Standards and Conduct shall provide guidance, through advisory opinions or consultations, in connection with the mailing of franked material under this Act. Directs the select committee, if there is reasonable justification, to conduct an investigation of any complaint filed regarding a violation of franking privileges.
Provides for a lump sum appropriation to the legislative branch to be paid to the Postal Service as postal revenue for matter mailed under the franking privilege. States that money collected for matter improperly mailed under the frank shall be deposited as miscellaneous receipts in the general fund of the Treasury.
Includes as franked mail any mailgram if it contains authorized matter under this Act.
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Bill titles: A bill to amend title 39, United States Code, to clarify the proper use of the franking privilege by Members of Congress, and for other purposes.
Original source documents: Digest of the Congressional Record vol. 119-57, p. H2618;
Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov