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Text of the Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on September 26, 2006 but was never passed by the Senate. The text of the bill below is as of Sep 14, 2006 (Reported by House Committee).

This is not the latest text of this bill.

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Union Calendar No. 390

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 2679

[Report No. 109–657]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 26, 2005

(for himself, Mr. Wamp, Mr. Norwood, Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Paul, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Sodrel, Mr. Weldon of Florida, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Bachus, Mr. Pitts, Mr. Inglis of South Carolina, Mr. Otter, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Jones of North Carolina, Mr. Kingston, Mr. Smith of Texas, Mr. Bartlett of Maryland, Mr. Poe, and Mr. Barrett of South Carolina) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

September 14, 2006

Additional sponsors: Mr. Herger, Mr. Ramstad, Mr. Gingrey, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. Goode, Mr. McCotter, Mrs. Musgrave, Mr. Marchant, Mr. Jindal, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, Mr. Kline, Mr. McCaul of Texas, Mr. Deal of Georgia, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Beauprez, Mr. Pence, Mr. Platts, Mr. Radanovich, Mr. Moran of Kansas, Mr. Ryun of Kansas, Mr. Tancredo, Mr. Miller of Florida, Mrs. Cubin, Mr. Saxton, Mr. Bradley of New Hampshire, Mr. Rahall, Mrs. Emerson, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Akin, Mr. Pickering, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Tiahrt, Ms. Foxx, Mr. Souder, Mr. Bass, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Chabot, Mr. Feeney, Mr. Bonner, Mr. Garrett of New Jersey, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Kennedy of Minnesota, Ms. Harris, Mr. Hefley, Mr. Fortuño, Mrs. Schmidt, and Mr. Fortenberry

September 14, 2006

Reported with amendments, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney’s fees.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005.

2.

Limitations on certain lawsuits against State and local officials

(a)

Civil action for deprivation of rights

Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1983) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (a) before the first sentence; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

The remedies with respect to a claim under this section where the deprivation consists of a violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion shall be limited to injunctive relief.

.

(b)

Attorneys fees

Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following: However, no fees shall be awarded under this subsection with respect to a claim described in subsection (b) of section nineteen hundred and seventy nine..

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006.

2.

Limitations on certain lawsuits against State and local officials

(a)

Civil action for deprivation of rights

Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1983) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (a) before the first sentence; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

The remedies with respect to a claim under this section are limited to injunctive and declaratory relief where the deprivation consists of a violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion, including, but not limited to, a violation resulting from—

(1)

a veterans’ memorial’s containing religious words or imagery;

(2)

a public building’s containing religious words or imagery;

(3)

the presence of religious words or imagery in the official seals of the several States and the political subdivisions thereof; or

(4)

the chartering of Boy Scout units by components of States and political subdivisions, and the Boy Scouts’ using public buildings of States and political subdivisions.

.

(b)

Attorney’s fees

Section 722(b) of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1988(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following: However, no fees shall be awarded under this subsection with respect to a claim described in subsection (b) of section nineteen hundred and seventy nine..

3.

Limitations on certain lawsuits against the United States and federal officials

(a)

In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a court shall not award reasonable fees and expenses of attorneys to the prevailing party on a claim of injury consisting of the violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion brought against the United States or any agency or any official of the United States acting in his or her official capacity in any court having jurisdiction over such claim, and the remedies with respect to such a claim shall be limited to injunctive and declaratory relief.

(b)

Definition

As used in this section, the term a claim of injury consisting of the violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion includes, but is not limited to, a claim of injury resulting from—

(1)

a veterans’ memorial’s containing religious words or imagery;

(2)

a Federal building’s containing religious words or imagery;

(3)

the presence of religious words or imagery in the official seal of the United States and in its currency and official Pledge; or

(4)

the chartering of Boy Scout units by components of the Armed Forces of the United States and by other public entities, and the Boy Scouts’ using Department of Defense and other public installations.

4.

Effective date

This Act and the amendments made by this Act take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act and apply to any case that—

(1)

is pending on such date of enactment; or

(2)

is commenced on or after such date of enactment.

Amend the title so as to read: A bill to amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to prevent the use of the legal system in a manner that extorts money from State and local governments, and the Federal Government, and inhibits such governments’ constitutional actions under the first, tenth, and fourteenth amendments..

September 14, 2006

Reported with amendments, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed