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H.R. 2389 (106th): Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000


The text of the bill below is as of Jun 30, 1999 (Introduced).


HR 2389 IH

106th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2389

To restore stability and predictability to the annual payments made to States and counties containing National Forest System lands and public domain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for use by the counties for the benefit of public schools, roads, and other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 30, 1999

Mr. DEAL of Georgia (for himself, Mr. BOYD, Ms. DUNN, Mr. TURNER, Mr. PETERSON of Pennsylvania, and Mr. THOMPSON of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To restore stability and predictability to the annual payments made to States and counties containing National Forest System lands and public domain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for use by the counties for the benefit of public schools, roads, and other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘County Schools Funding Revitalization Act of 1999’.

    (b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. Findings and purpose.

      Sec. 3. Definitions.

      Sec. 4. Determination of full payment amount for eligible States and counties.

      Sec. 5. Forest Service payments to eligible States for affected counties to use for public education and transportation.

      Sec. 6. Bureau of Land Management payments to eligible counties to use for the benefit of public safety, law enforcement, and other public purposes.

      Sec. 7. Development of long-term methods to meet statutory obligation of Federal lands to contribute to public education and other public services.

      Sec. 8. Sense of Congress regarding Advisory Committee recommendations.

      Sec. 9. Authorization of appropriations.

      Sec. 10. Conforming amendments.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds the following:

      (1) The National Forest System, which is managed by the United States Forest Service, was established in 1907 and has grown to include 192,000,000 acres of Federal lands.

      (2) The public domain lands known as revested Oregon and California Railroad grant lands and the reconveyed Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands, which are managed predominantly by the Bureau of Land Management were returned to Federal ownership in 1916 and 1919 and now comprise approximately 2,600,000 acres of Federal lands.

      (3) Congress recognized that, by securing these lands in Federal ownership, the counties in which these lands were situated would be deprived of revenues they would otherwise receive if the lands were held in private ownership.

      (4) Even without such revenues, these same counties have expended public funds year after year to provide services, such as education, road construction and maintenance, search and rescue, law enforcement, waste removal, and fire protection, that directly benefit these Federal lands and people who use these lands.

      (5) To accord a measure of compensation to the affected counties for their loss of future revenues and for the critical services they provide, Congress determined that the Federal Government should share with these counties a portion of the revenues the United States receives from these Federal lands.

      (6) Congress enacted in 1908 and subsequently amended a law that requires 25 percent of the revenues derived from National Forest System lands be paid to States for use by the counties in which the lands are situated for the benefit of public schools and roads.

      (7) Congress enacted in 1937 and subsequently amended a law that requires 50 percent of the revenues derived from the revested and reconveyed grant lands be paid to the counties in which those lands are situated to be used as are other county funds.

      (8) For several decades during the dramatic growth of the American economy, counties dependent on and supportive of the Federal lands received and relied on increasing shares of these revenues to provide educational opportunities for the children of residents of these counties.

      (9) In recent years, the principal source of these revenues, Federal timber sales, has been sharply curtailed and, as the volume of timber sold annually from most of the Federal lands has decreased precipitously, so too have the revenues shared with the affected counties.

      (10) This decline in shared revenues has severely impacted or crippled educational funding in, and the quality of education provided by, the affected counties.

      (11) In the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Congress recognized this trend and ameliorated its adverse consequences by providing an alternative annual safety net payment to 72 counties in Oregon, Washington, and northern California in which Federal timber sales had been restricted or

prohibited by administrative and judicial decisions to protect the northern spotted owl.

      (12) The authority for these particular safety net payments is expiring and no comparable authority has been granted for alternative payments to counties elsewhere in the United States that have suffered similar losses in shared revenues from the Federal lands and in the educational funding those revenues provide.

      (13) Although such alternative payments are not an adequate substitute for the revenues, wages, purchasing of local goods and services, and social opportunities that are generated when the Federal lands are managed in a manner that encourages revenue-producing activities, they are critically needed now to stabilize educational funding in the affected counties.

    (b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this Act are--

      (1) to arrest the decline in, and stabilize, the revenues derived from National Forest System lands and revested and reconveyed grant lands that the Federal Government shares with counties in which these Federal lands are situated;

      (2) to assist the local governments that are so dependent on and supportive of the Federal lands to restore the quality of education that they were able to provide to the children of residents of these counties before the recent severe reductions in or curtailments of revenue-producing activities on those lands;

      (3) to provide this temporary relief in a form that will neither encourage the long-term reliance on appropriations, nor discourage the management of the Federal lands in a manner that will generate revenues, to meet the Federal Government’s statutory obligations to the counties that contain these lands; and

      (4) to facilitate the development by the Federal Government and the counties and school districts which benefit from the shared Federal land revenues of a long-term method to generate payments to States and counties that would avoid the need to provide further temporary relief.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:

      (1) FEDERAL LANDS- The term ‘Federal Lands’ means--

        (A) lands within the National Forest System, as defined in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)); and

        (B) the Oregon and California Railroad grant lands revested in the United States by the Act of June 9, 1916 (Chapter 137; 39 Stat. 218), Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands reconveyed to the United States by the Act of February 26, 1919 (Chapter 47; 40 Stat. 1179), and subsequent additions to such lands.

      (2) ADVISORY COMMITTEE- The term ‘Advisory Committee’ means the Forest Counties Payments Committee established by section XX.

      (3) ELIGIBILITY PERIOD- The term ‘eligibility period’ means the period beginning on October 1, 1985, and ending on September 30, 1999.

      (4) ELIGIBLE COUNTY- The term ‘eligible county’ means a county that received one or more 50-percent payments during the eligibility period.

      (5) ELIGIBLE STATE- The term ‘eligible State’ means a State that received one or more 25-percent payments during the eligibility period.

      (6) FULL PAYMENT AMOUNT- The term ‘full payment amount’ means the amount calculated for each eligible State and eligible county under section 4.

      (7) 25-PERCENT PAYMENTS- The term ‘25-percent payments’ means the payments to States required by the 6th paragraph under the heading of ‘FOREST SERVICE’ in the Act of May 23, 1908 (35 Stat. 260; 16 U.S.C. 500), and section 13 of the Act of March 1, 1911 (36 Stat. 963; 16 U.S.C. 500).

      (8) 50-PERCENT PAYMENTS- The term ‘50-percent payments’ means the payments that are the sum of the 50-percent share otherwise paid to a county pursuant to title II of the Act of August 28, 1937 (Chapter 876; 50 Stat. 875; 43 U.S.C. 1181f), and the payment made to a county pursuant to the Act of May 24, 1939 (chapter 144; 53 Stat. 753; 43 U.S.C. 1181f-1 et seq.).

      (9) SAFETY NET PAYMENTS- The term ‘safety net payments’ means the payments to States and counties required by sections 13982 and 13983 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66; 16 U.S.C. 500 note; 43 U.S.C. 1181f note).

SEC. 4. DETERMINATION OF FULL PAYMENT AMOUNT FOR ELIGIBLE STATES AND COUNTIES.

    (a) CALCULATION REQUIRED- The Secretary of the Treasury shall calculate for each eligible State and eligible county an amount equal to the average of the three highest 25-percent payments, 50-percent payments, or safety net payments made to that eligible State or eligible county during the eligibility period.

    (b) ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT- For the second and each subsequent fiscal year in which payments are required to be made to eligible States and eligible counties under this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall adjust the full payment amount in effect for the previous fiscal year for each eligible State and eligible county to reflect changes in the consumer price index for urban areas (as published in the Bureau of Labor Statistics) that occur after publication of that index for fiscal year 1999.

SEC. 5. FOREST SERVICE PAYMENTS TO ELIGIBLE STATES FOR AFFECTED COUNTIES TO USE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION AND TRANSPORTATION.

    (a) REQUIREMENT FOR PAYMENTS TO ELIGIBLE STATES- The Secretary of the Treasury shall make a payment to each eligible State in accordance with subsection (b) as early as practicable in each of fiscal years 2000 through 2005.

    (b) PAYMENT AMOUNTS- Each payment to an eligible State under subsection (a) shall consist of the following:

      (1) The amount of the 25-percent payments applicable to that State.

      (2) If the amount under paragraph (1) is less than the full payment amount for that State, such additional funds as are necessary to provide a total payment equal to the full payment amount.

    (c) EXPENDITURE OF PAYMENTS- Eligible States shall distribute and expend the payments received under subsection (a) in the same manner in which the 25-percent payments are required to be distributed and expended.

    (d) SOURCE OF ADDITIONAL PAYMENT AMOUNTS- Funds necessary to make the payment required by subsection (b)(2), shall be derived, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture, from any revenues received by the United States from activities on the Federal lands described in section 3(1)(A), funds appropriated for the Forest Service, or both sources, except--

      (1) programs from which the 25-percent payments are derived and funds which, if paid to eligible States, would contribute to a reduction in such revenues; and

      (2) funds from trust or other special accounts established by statute for use by the Forest Service for specified purposes.

SEC. 6. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT PAYMENTS TO ELIGIBLE COUNTIES TO USE FOR THE BENEFIT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND OTHER PUBLIC PURPOSES.

    (a) REQUIREMENT FOR PAYMENTS TO ELIGIBLE COUNTIES- The Secretary of the Treasury shall make a payment to each eligible county in accordance with subsection (b) as early as practicable in each of fiscal years 2000 through 2005.

    (b) PAYMENT AMOUNTS- Each payment to an eligible county under subsection (a) shall consist of the following:

      (1) The amount of the 50-percent payments applicable to that county.

      (2) If the amount under paragraph (1) is less than the full payment amount for that county, such additional funds as are necessary to provide a total payment equal to the full payment amount.

    (c) EXPENDITURE OF PAYMENTS- Eligible counties shall distribute and expend the payments received under subsection (a) in the same manner in which the 50-percent payments are required to be distributed and expended.

    (d) SOURCE OF ADDITIONAL PAYMENT AMOUNTS- Funds necessary to make the payment required by subsection (b)(2), shall be derived, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, from any revenues received by the United States from activities on the Federal lands described in section 3(1)(B), funds appropriated for the Bureau of Land Management, or both, except--

      (1) programs from which the 50-percent payments are derived and funds, which, if paid to eligible counties, would contribute to a reduction in such revenues; and

      (2) funds from trust or other special accounts established by statute for use by the Bureau of Land Management for specified purposes.

SEC. 7. DEVELOPMENT OF LONG-TERM METHODS TO MEET STATUTORY OBLIGATION OF FEDERAL LANDS TO CONTRIBUTE TO PUBLIC EDUCATION AND OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES.

    (a) FOREST COUNTIES PAYMENTS COMMITTEE- There is hereby established an advisory committee, to be known as the Forest Counties Payments Committee, to develop recommendations regarding methods to ensure that States and counties in which Federal Lands are situated receive adequate Federal payments to be used for the benefit of public education and other public purposes.

    (b) MEMBERS- The Advisory Committee shall be composed of the following members:

      (1) The Chief of the Forest Service, or the Chief’s designee.

      (2) The Director of the Bureau of Land Management, or the Director’s designee.

      (3) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or the Director’s designee.

      (4) Two members who are elected members of the governing branches of eligible counties, one appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate and one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives within 60 days of the date of enactment of this Act.

      (5) Two members who are elected members of school boards for, or superintendents from, school districts in eligible counties, one appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate and 1 appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives within 60 days of the date of enactment of this Act.

    (c) ADVISORY COMMITTEE FUNCTIONS-

      (1) DEVELOPMENT OF RECOMMENDATIONS- The Advisory Committee shall develop recommendations for policy or legislative initiatives, or both, to substitute for the short-term payments required by this Act a long-term method to generate annual payments to eligible States and eligible counties at or above the full payment amount. Not later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Advisory Committee shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture, the Committee on Resources, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Committee on Appropriations of Senate a report containing the recommendations developed under this paragraph.

      (2) GUIDANCE- In developing the recommendations required by paragraph (1), the Advisory Committee shall--

        (A) seek to maximize the amount of such payments contributed by revenues collected from the Federal lands, so as to minimize adverse budgetary effects and to generate the additional revenues, wages, purchases of goods and services, and other economic benefits to and for such States and counties; and

        (B) ensure that the method is in accord with a definition of sustainable forest management in which ecological, economic, and social factors are accorded equal consideration in the management of the Federal lands.

      (3) MONITORING ACTIVITIES- The Advisory Committee shall monitor the payments made to eligible States and eligible countries pursuant to this Act and submit to the congressional committees specified in paragraph (1) an annual report describing the amounts and sources of such payments and containing such comments as the Advisory Committee may have regarding such payments.

      (4) TESTIMONY- The Advisory Committee shall make itself available for testimony or comments on the report required by paragraph (1) and its recommendations, and on any legislation or regulations to implement the recommendations, in any congressional hearings or any rulemaking or other administrative decision process.

    (d) ORGANIZATION OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE-

      (1) CHAIRPERSON- The Chairperson of the Advisory Committee shall be selected from among the members appointed pursuant to paragraphs (4) and (5) of subsection (b).

      (2) VACANCIES- Any vacancy in the membership of the Advisory Committee shall be filled in the same manner as required by subsection (b). A vacancy shall not impair the right of the remaining members to perform the functions authorized by subsection (c).

      (3) COMPENSATION- The members of the Advisory Committee who are not officers or employees of the United States, while attending meetings or other events held by the Advisory Committee or at which the members serve as representatives of the Advisory Committee or while otherwise serving at the request of the Chairperson, shall each be entitled to receive compensation at a rate not in excess of the maximum rate of pay for grade GS-18, as provided in the General Schedule under section 5532 of title 5, United States Code, including traveltime, and while away from their homes or regular places of business shall each be reimbursed for travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence as authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, for persons in Government service employed intermittently.

    (e) STAFF AND RULES-

      (1) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR- The Advisory Committee shall have an Executive Director, who shall be appointed (without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service) by the Advisory Committee and serve at the pleasure of the Advisory Committee. The Executive Director shall report to the Advisory Committee and assume such duties as the Advisory Committee may assign. The Executive Director shall be paid at a rate of pay for grade GS-18, as provided in the General Schedule under 5332 of title 5, United States Code.

      (2) OTHER STAFF- In addition to authority to appoint personnel subject to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments to the competitive service, and to pay such personnel in accordance with the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, the Advisory Committee shall have authority to enter into contracts with private or public organizations which may furnish the Advisory Committee with such administrative and technical personnel as may be necessary to carry out the functions authorized by subsection (c).

      (3) COMMITTEE RULES- The Advisory Committee may establish such procedural and administrative rules as are necessary for the performance of the functions authorized by subsection (c).

    (f) FEDERAL AGENCY COOPERATION- The heads of the departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the executive branch of the Federal Government shall cooperate with the Advisory Committee in the performance of its functions under subsection (c) and shall furnish to the Advisory Committee information which the Advisory Committee deems necessary to carry out such functions.

    (g) COMMITTEE TERMINATION- The Advisory Committee shall terminate three years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 8. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING ADVISORY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS.

    It is the sense of Congress that the payments to eligible States and eligible counties required by this Act should be replaced by a long-term solution to generate payments conforming to the guidance provided by section 7(c)(2) and that any promulgation of regulations or enactment of legislation to establish such method should be completed within two years after the date of submission of the report required by section 7(c)(1).

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this Act.

SEC. 10. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) REPEAL OF SAFETY NET PAYMENTS- Sections 13982 and 13983 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66; 16 U.S.C. 500 note; 43 U.S.C. 1181f note) are repealed.

    (b) PAYMENTS FOR ENTITLEMENT LAND- Section 6903(a)(1) of title 31, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by redesignating subparagraphs (D) through (J) as subparagraphs (E) through (K), respectively; and

      (2) by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following new subparagraph:

        ‘(D) the County Schools Funding Revitalization Act of 1999;’.