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H.R. 3222 (113th): Flushing Remonstrance Study Act

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 16, 2014 (Referred to Senate Committee).



2d Session

H. R. 3222


September 16, 2014

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance in Queens, New York, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Flushing Remonstrance Study Act.



Congress finds the following:


Dutch involvement in North America started with Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage on the ship, Half Moon, employed by the Dutch East India Company.


After 1640, New Netherland gradually began to transform from a chain of trading posts into a settlement colony.


As Dutch and English settlers moved closer to one another, they began to assimilate in what would later become Queens County.


The Dutch and English settlements had not been without conflict. 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.


When Quakers began to arrive in Flushing, the colonial government issued an ordinance that formally banned the practice of all religions outside of the Dutch Reformed Church.


On December 27, 1657, 30 Flushing residents signed what was later called the Flushing Remonstrance, objecting to this order. None of the remonstrance’s authors were Quakers.


Dutch colonial authorities proceeded to arrest the signers of the Flushing Remonstrance. In 1662, John Bowne defied the ban and allowed Quakers to hold services in his house. Bowne was fined and banished to the Dutch Republic for showing contempt for secular authority.


Bowne was later exonerated after appealing to the guarantees of religious liberty before the Dutch West India Company and returned to Flushing in 1664. The colony later fell to British control on September 24, 1664.


The Flushing Remonstrance is now considered by many to be instrumental in the development of religious liberty in the United States and a precursor to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.


In 1957, the United States Postal Service released a 3-cent postage stamp commemorating the 300th Anniversary of the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance which read, Religious Freedom in America.


Queens remained rural and agricultural through the 18th and 19th Centuries. Although its Dutch identity diminished, the tolerance of diversity that has harbored Quakers and other religious sects in the Dutch Colonial period continues to this day. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, with a population of over 2,200,000 representing over 100 different nations and speaking over 138 different languages.



As used in this Act:



The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior.


Study area

The term study area means the John Bowne House located at 3701 Bowne Street, Queens, New York, the Friends Meeting House located at 137–17 Northern Boulevard, Queens, New York, and other resources in the vicinity of Flushing related to the history of religious freedom during the era of the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance.


Special resource study



The Secretary shall conduct a special resource study of the study area.



In conducting the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—


evaluate the national significance of the study area’s resources based on their relationship to the history of religious freedom associated with the signing of the Flushing Remonstrance;


determine the suitability and feasibility of designating resources within the study area as a unit of the National Park System;


consider other alternatives for preservation, protection, and interpretation of the study area by Federal, State, or local governmental entities, or private and nonprofit organizations;


identify properties related to the John Bowne House that could potentially meet criteria for designation as a National Historic Landmark;


consult with interested Federal, State, or local governmental entities, private and nonprofit organizations, or any other interested individuals;


evaluate the impact of the proposed action on the flow of commerce and commercial activity, job opportunities, and any adverse economic effects that could not be avoided if the proposal is implemented;


identify cost estimates for any Federal acquisition, development, interpretation, operation, and maintenance associated with the alternatives;


analyze the effect of the designation of the study area as a unit of the National Park System on—


existing recreational activities, and on the authorization, construction, operation, maintenance, or improvement of energy production and transmission infrastructure; and


the authority of State and local governments to manage those activities; and


identify any authorities, including condemnation, that will compel or permit the Secretary to influence or participate in local land use decisions (such as zoning) or place restrictions on non-Federal lands if the study area is designated a unit of the National Park System.


Notification of private property owners

Upon the commencement of the study, owners of private property in or adjacent to the study area shall be notified of the study’s commencement and scope.


Applicable law

The study required under subsection (a) shall be conducted in accordance with section 8(c)) of the National Park System General Authorities Act (16 U.S.C. 1a–5(c)).



Not later than 3 years after the date on which funds are first made available for the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report containing the results of the study and any conclusions and recommendations of the Secretary.

Passed the House of Representatives September 15, 2014.

Karen L. Haas,