IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 12, 2015
Mr. Flake (for himself, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Corker, Mr. Gardner, Mr. Lee, Mr. McCain, Mr. Hatch, and Mr. Thune) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
To require the Director of the National Park Service to refund to States all State funds that were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the National Park System during the October 2013 shutdown.
This Act may be cited as the
National Park Access Act.
Congress finds that—
during the period in October 2013 in which there was a lapse in appropriations (referred to in this section as the
Government shutdown), the National Park Service entered into agreements with the States of Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah to temporarily reopen iconic national treasures in the National Park System, such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty;
pursuant to the agreements described in paragraph (1), the States listed in paragraph (1) advanced approximately $2,000,000 to the National Park Service to pay for park operations during the Government shutdown;
the units of the National Park System that were temporarily reopened using State funds also collected gate entry fees;
the Government shutdown ended when Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law 113–46), which retroactively funded Federal agencies and Federal employee salaries for the period of time during which the Government was shut down;
by virtue of the retroactive appropriation made by Congress, the National Park Service retained an unintended shutdown windfall from the States listed in paragraph (1) of approximately $2,000,000; and
the States listed in paragraph (1) that entered into agreements described in paragraph (1) with the National Park Service should be fully reimbursed for advancing funds to maintain public access to iconic national treasures in the National Park System during the Government shutdown.
Refund of funds used by States to operate national parks during shutdown
The Director of the National Park Service shall refund to each State all funds of the State that were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the National Park System during the period in October 2013 in which there was a lapse in appropriations for the unit.
Funds of the National Park Service that are appropriated after the date of enactment of this Act shall be used to carry out this section.