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                                                      Calendar No. 59
115th Congress        }                          {            Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session          }                          {             115-46

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



 
                      MEDGAR EVERS HOUSE STUDY ACT

                                _______
                                

                  May 9, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 644]

      [Including Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 644) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Medgar 
Evers House, located in Jackson, Mississippi, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports with an amendment 
in the nature of a substitute and recommends that the bill, as 
amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Medgar Evers House Study Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
          (1) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Interior.
          (2) Study area.--The term ``study area'' means the home of 
        the late civil rights activist Medgar Evers, located at 2332 
        Margaret Walker Alexander Drive in Jackson, Mississippi.

SEC. 3. SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY.

    (a) Study.--The Secretary shall conduct a special resource study of 
the study area.
    (b) Contents.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), the 
Secretary shall--
          (1) evaluate the national significance of the study area;
          (2) determine the suitability and feasibility of designating 
        the study area as a unit of the National Park System;
          (3) consider other alternatives for preservation, protection, 
        and interpretation of the study area by the Federal Government, 
        State or local government entities, or private and nonprofit 
        organizations;
          (4) consult with interested Federal agencies, State or local 
        governmental entities, private and nonprofit organizations, or 
        any other interested individuals; and
          (5) identify cost estimates for any Federal acquisition, 
        development, interpretation, operation, and maintenance 
        associated with the alternatives.
    (c) Applicable Law.--The study required under subsection (a) shall 
be conducted in accordance with section 100507 of title 54, United 
States Code.
    (d) Report.--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 that describes--
          (1) the results of the study; and
          (2) any conclusions and recommendations of the Secretary.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 644 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Medgar 
Evers House, located in Jackson, Mississippi.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Medgar Evers was a prominent civil rights leader from 
Decatur, Mississippi, who fought to end the racial injustice he 
experienced growing up in the South. He was the first field 
secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored Peoples (NAACP) in the South and helped integrate the 
University of Mississippi.
    The Evers family home located in Jackson, Mississippi, was 
the site of his assassination in 1963 by Byron De La Beckwith, 
a member of the White Citizens' Council. The home, now a museum 
operated by Tougaloo College, contains period furnishings, 
exhibits, and family photographs.
    The legislation would authorize the National Park Service 
(NPS) to undertake a special resource study to examine the 
national significance of the home of the late civil rights 
activist, Medgar Evers; its suitability and feasibility for 
potential designation as a unit of the National Park System; 
and the need for NPS management of the site versus management 
by other public or private entities. During the study, the NPS 
will also consult and collaborate with various public and 
private entities to determine costs and other factors 
associated with the acquisition, preservation, and maintenance 
of the site.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senators Cochran and Wicker introduced S. 644 on March 15, 
2017.
    On March 23, 2017, a related bill, H.R. 1715, was 
introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative 
Thompson.
    In the 114th Congress, Senators Cochran and Wicker 
introduced similar legislation, S. 2177, on October 8, 2015. 
The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 2177 
and its companion measure, H.R. 959, on March 17, 2016. The 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open business 
session on July 13, 2016, and ordered S. 2177 favorably 
reported (S. Rept. 114-324).
    Representative Thompson introduced H.R. 959 on February 12, 
2015. The bill was reported favorably by the House Committee on 
Natural Resources on September 8, 2015 (H. Rept. 114-251), and 
was passed by voice vote in the House of Representatives on 
September 16, 2015.
    In the 113th Congress, in the House of Representatives, 
Representative Thompson introduced H.R. 2326 on June 18, 2013.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on March 30, 2017, and ordered S. 644 
favorably reported as amended.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on July 13, 2016, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
644, if amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 644, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute to conform the 
language to the version reported by the Committee during the 
114th Congress. The amendment is further described in the 
section-by-section analysis.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 contains the short title.

Section 2. Definitions

    Section 2 provides definitions.

Section 3. Special resource study

    Section 3(a) directs the Secretary of the Interior to 
conduct a special resource study of the home of late civil 
rights activist Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi.
    Subsection (b) requires the Secretary to evaluate the 
national significance of the study area; determine the 
suitability and feasibility of designating the site to the 
National Park System; consider other alternatives; consult with 
interested Federal, State, or local government entities, or 
private or nonprofit organizations; determine the effect of 
designating the site on existing commercial and recreational 
uses and the impact on State and local governments to manage 
those activities; identify authorities that will compel or 
permit the Secretary to influence or participate in local land 
use decisions or place restrictions on non-Federal land; and 
identify Federal cost estimates for various site-relation 
actions.
    Subsection (c) requires the study to be conducted in 
accordance with applicable law.
    Subsection (d) directs the Secretary to submit a report 
that describes the study's findings and conclusions, and any 
recommendations to the House Committee on Natural Resources and 
the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources within 
three years after funds are made available.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.
    S. 644 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study 
the suitability and feasibility of designating the Medgar Evers 
House in Jackson, Mississippi, as a unit of the National Park 
System. Assuming the availability of appropriated funds, CBO 
estimates that carrying out the proposed study would cost about 
$200,000.
    Enacting S. 644 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 644 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 644 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jon Sperl. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 644. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 644, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 644, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    Because S. 644 is similar to legislation considered by the 
Committee in the 114th Congress, the Committee did not request 
Executive Agency views. The testimony provided by the National 
Park Service at the hearing before the Subcommittee on National 
Parks on March 17, 2016, follows:

  Statement of Peggy O'Dell, Deputy Director for Operations, National 
             Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's 
testimony regarding S. 2177 and H.R. 959, bills to authorize 
the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and 
feasibility of designating the Medgar Evers House in Jackson, 
Mississippi, as a unit of the National Park System, and for 
other purposes.
    The Department supports S. 2177 and H.R. 959 with 
amendments described later in this testimony. Priority should 
be given, however, to the 25 previously authorized studies for 
potential units of the National Park System, potential new 
National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the 
National Trails System and National Wild and Scenic River 
System that have not yet been transmitted to Congress.
    S. 2177 and H.R. 959 would authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to conduct a special resource study of the Medgar 
Evers House in Jackson, Mississippi, for potential inclusion in 
the National Park System. We estimate that this study will cost 
approximately $200,000 to $300,000. Funding for this proposed 
study would need to be allocated from the set amount of funding 
that Congress appropriates for all special resource studies.
    Medgar Evers was born in 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. He 
was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, fought in both France 
and Germany during World War II, and received an honorable 
discharge in 1946. He met his future wife, Myrlie Beasley, 
while a student at Alcorn College in Lorman, Mississippi. 
Eventually, they had three children: Darrell, Reena, and James.
    Mr. Evers' first job following graduation was as an 
insurance salesman in 1952. He gradually became involved in 
civil rights causes and action through the Regional Council of 
Negro Leadership, a society in Mississippi founded in 1951 to 
promote a program of civil rights, self-help, and business 
ownership. He later worked on behalf of the NAACP by organizing 
local affiliates.
    In 1954 Medgar Evers applied for admission to the 
University of Mississippi Law School but was rejected. He filed 
a discrimination lawsuit against the university with the aid of 
his attorney, Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first 
African-American justice on the United States Supreme Court. 
Even though the lawsuit failed to gain Mr. Evers admittance to 
the law school, he gained national attention and in the same 
year became state field secretary for the NAACP. His activities 
included recruiting new members, organizing voter-registration 
drives, and leading economic boycotts of companies that 
practiced discrimination.
    Ultimately, these activities attracted the attention of 
those who opposed racial equality and desegregation, including 
those willing to resort to violence to maintain the status quo. 
These opponents of equal rights began to subject Medgar Evers 
and his family to threats, intimidation, and other forms of 
violence. His house was firebombed in May 1963 and he was 
assassinated by a gunshot in the back in his driveway on June 
12, 1963. Subsequently, he was buried in Arlington National 
Cemetery with full military honors.
    Mrs. Evers and her children lived in the house for a year 
following the murder of her husband, but she decided that she 
could not remain there and moved her family to California. 
Subsequently, she donated the house to Tougaloo College in 
Tougaloo, Mississippi. The house had deteriorated over the 
years so the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and 
Tougaloo College decided to restore it as a museum 
commemorating the life and tragic death of one of the icons of 
the Civil Rights movement in America. Guided tours of the house 
are available to the public by appointment.
    S. 2177 and H.R. 959 include certain requirements for the 
study which we recommend deleting. Specifically, we urge 
deleting section 2(b)(5) of both bills, which would require an 
analysis of the effect of designation as a unit of the National 
Park System on existing commercial and recreational activities, 
and on the authority of state and local governments to manage 
those activities. We also urge deleting section 2(b)(6) of both 
bills, which would require an identification of any authorities 
that would compel or permit the Secretary of the Interior to 
influence or participate in local land use decisions or place 
restrictions on non-federal lands.
    H.R. 959, as introduced in the House, did not include these 
requirements.
    The purpose of conducting a special resource study is to 
determine whether a resource meets the criteria for inclusion 
in the National Park System and, if it does not, to provide 
information on alternative means to protect the resource. We 
believe that the special resource study requirements under 
existing law result in a sufficient amount of information and 
analysis of the effects of including a resource in the National 
Park System. These additional requirements could potentially 
increase the cost of the study and the time required to 
complete it.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be 
pleased to answer questions that you or other members of the 
subcommittee might have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill as ordered 
reported.

                                  [all]