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115th Congress    }                                    {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                    {       115-119

======================================================================



 
                      HONORING HOMETOWN HEROES ACT

                                _______
                                

  May 15, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1892]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 1892) to amend title 4, United States Code, to 
provide for the flying of the flag at half-staff in the event 
of the death of a first responder in the line of duty, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment 
and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     2
Committee Votes..................................................     2
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     2
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     2
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     3
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     4

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 1892 expands the existing authority of state governors 
and the Mayor of the District of Columbia to order that the 
American flag be flown at half-staff, to include situations 
involving a line-of-duty death of a ``first responder,'' which 
encompasses firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMS 
professionals.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Title 4, United States Code, provides guidelines for the 
display of the U.S. flag in certain circumstances--i.e., where 
the flag should be displayed in a procession with another flag 
or flags, or when displayed against a wall, over a street, or 
on a speaker's platform. Title 4 also provides instructions for 
when it is appropriate to fly the flag at half-staff. Under 
current law, the flag is required to be flown at half-staff at 
Federal installations or facilities in the event of the death 
of certain Federal officials, such as the President, Vice 
President, or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Separately, 
the governor of each State, territory, and possession, and the 
Mayor of the District of Columbia, may issue a proclamation 
directing that the flag be flown at half-staff, at Federal 
installations or facilities covered by the proclamation, in the 
event of the death of a State or local official, or a member of 
the Armed Forces.\1\ However, the statute does not specifically 
grant the governors or the D.C. Mayor the authority to direct 
that the flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the line-
of-duty death of a ``first responder.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See 4 U.S.C. Sec. 7(m).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
1892.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 3, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill H.R. 1892 favorably reported, without 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 1892.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 1892, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                                       May 5, 2017.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
Chairman.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1892, the Honoring 
Hometown Heroes Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
Enclosure.

        cc: Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
           Ranking Member

H.R. 1892--Honoring Hometown Heroes Act

    H.R. 1892 would amend federal law to allow a U.S. flag to 
be flown at half-staff following the death of a first responder 
in any state, territory, possession, or the District of 
Columbia. Under the bill proclamations to order the display of 
the flag at half-staff would be made by the governor of the 
jurisdiction or the Mayor of the District of Columbia.
    Because the flag is displayed daily at federal facilities, 
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1892 would have no effect 
on the federal budget. Enacting the legislation would not 
affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that H.R. 1892 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1892 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. This estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 1892 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee estimates that H.R. 1892 specifically directs 
to be completed no specific rule makings within the meaning of 
5 U.S.C. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, H.R. 
1892, the ``Honoring Hometown Heroes Act,'' provides state and 
territorial governors and the Mayor of the District of Columbia 
the authority to order the flying of the flag at half-staff in 
the event of the death of a first responder in the line of 
duty.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 1892 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Section 1. Short Title. This section cites the short title 
of the legislation as the ``Honoring Hometown Heroes Act.''
    Section 2. Permitting the Flag to be Flown at Half-Staff in 
the Event of the Death of a First Responder Serving in the Line 
of Duty. This section amends section 7(m) of title 4, United 
States Code, to permit governors of U.S. states, territories, 
or possessions to direct that the Flag be flown at half-staff 
in the event of the death of a first responder in the line of 
duty. This section defines ``first responder'' to mean ``public 
safety officer'' as defined in 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3796b (i.e., ``an 
individual serving a public agency in an official capacity, 
with or without compensation, as a law enforcement officer, as 
a firefighter, or as a chaplain.'').

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 4, UNITED STATES CODE

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER 1--THE FLAG

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 7. Position and manner of display

  The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or 
flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the 
flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in 
front of the center of that line.
  (a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade 
except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this 
section.
  (b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, 
or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the 
flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed 
firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
  (c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on 
the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States 
of America, except during church services conducted by naval 
chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above 
the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. 
No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any 
other national or international flag equal, above, or in a 
position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, 
the flag of the United States at any place within the United 
States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That 
nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of 
the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the 
United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, 
and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or 
honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the 
headquarters of the United Nations.
  (d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is 
displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, 
should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff 
should be in front of the staff of the other flag.
  (e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the 
center and at the highest point of the group when a number of 
flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are 
grouped and displayed from staffs.
  (f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants 
of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the 
United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When 
the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the 
United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such 
flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United 
States or to the United States flag's right.
  (g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are 
to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags 
should be of approximately equal size. International usage 
forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of 
another nation in time of peace.
  (h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a 
staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window 
sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag 
should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at 
half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a 
rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the 
sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the 
building.
  (i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against 
a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own 
right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a 
window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the 
union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
  (j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, 
it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north 
in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south 
street.
  (k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed 
flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When 
displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the 
flag of the United States of America should hold the position 
of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the 
position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he 
faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be 
placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right 
of the audience.
  (l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the 
ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never 
be used as the covering for the statue or monument.
  (m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first 
hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the 
half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the 
peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag 
should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised 
to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag 
shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal 
figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a 
State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their 
memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign 
dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff 
according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in 
accordance with recognized customs or practices not 
inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present 
or former official of the government of any State, territory, 
or possession of the United States [or], the death of a member 
of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession 
who dies while serving on active duty, or the death of a first 
responder working in any State, territory, or possession who 
dies while serving in the line of duty, the Governor of that 
State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National 
flag shall be flown at half-staff, and the same authority is 
provided to the Mayor of the District of Columbia with respect 
to present or former officials of the District of Columbia 
[and], members of the Armed Forces from the District of 
Columbia, and first responders working in the District of 
Columbia. When the Governor of a State, territory, or 
possession, or the Mayor of the District of Columbia, issues a 
proclamation under the preceding sentence that the National 
flag be flown at half-staff in that State, territory, or 
possession or in the District of Columbia because of the death 
of a member of the Armed Forces, the National flag flown at any 
Federal installation or facility in the area covered by that 
proclamation shall be flown at half-staff consistent with that 
proclamation. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days 
from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days 
from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice 
or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker 
of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until 
interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a 
Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice 
President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or 
possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a 
Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on 
Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed 
Forces Day. As used in this subsection--
          (1) the term ``half-staff'' means the position of the 
        flag when it is one-half the distance between the top 
        and bottom of the staff;
          (2) the term ``executive or military department'' 
        means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of 
        title 5[, United States Code; and];
          (3) the term ``Member of Congress'' means a Senator, 
        a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident 
        Commissioner from Puerto Rico[.]; and
          (4) the term ``first responder'' means a ``public 
        safety officer'' as defined in section 1204 of the 
        Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 
        U.S.C. 3796b).
  (n) When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so 
placed that the union is at the head and over the left 
shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or 
allowed to touch the ground.
  (o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in 
a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended 
vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left 
upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, 
the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the 
corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances 
are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to 
the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two 
directions, the union should be to the east.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                  [all]