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Smithsonian-related Legislation

National Afro-American Memorial Museum – no action.

National Biological Diversity Conservation and Environmental Research Act – On July 18 mark-ups were held by the Subcommittee on the Environment of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on H.R.585 and by the Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries on H.R.2082, a similar bill introduced by Mr. Studds (D-MA) on April 24. The amended bills vest in the Council on Environmental Quality responsibility for preparation and issuance of guidelines for a national strategy and establish a National Center for Biological Diversity in the Smithsonian.

H.R.585 expands the Center's duties to include preparation of lists and maps of threatened biotic communities; identification of areas of outstanding ecological importance and factors affecting their protection; and publication of information relevant to the conservation of biological diversity. It also establishes the Center's Board of Trustees and provides for its composition, terms, and compensation of its membership. On July 30, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved the bill after amending it to require that program funding come from existing authorizations. On July 26 a hearing was held on S.58, the companion to H.R.585, by the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Environmental Protection.

National Museum of the American Indian Amendments Act – No action on S.235.

National Air and Space Museum Expansion Site Selection Act – On August second Mr. Skaggs (D-CO) and Mr. Cardin (D-MD) introduced H.R.3281 to establish the National Air and Space Museum Expansion Site Advisory Panel, to be composed of Members of Congress, experienced museum professionals, and a Smithsonian representative. The panel would conduct a national competition to select a location for the future National Air and Space Museum Extension, and be responsible for the development of criteria to judge site proposals; the participation of cities and states in the competition; the solicitation of site proposals; an objective evaluation of the proposals; and a recommendation to the Smithsonian. Although the Institution would have the option of rejecting the panel's recommendation, justification to Congress of an alternative would be required. The measure was referred to the Committee on House Administration.

World War II Memorial – Ms. Kaptur (D-OH) introduced H.R.1624 on March 22 to authorize the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish a memorial in the District of Columbia on Federal land and a World War II Memorial Advisory Board that would include a Smithsonian representative. While the Advisory Board would promote the Memorial concept and seek private donations, the Secretary of the Smithsonian would serve with representatives of other Federal entities to assist the Commission in the performance of its functions. The bill provides for the Smithsonian to develop, with other Federal museums, appropriate permanent World War II collections and exhibits and to encourage their circulation among schools and academic institutions. Following joint referral to the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, the bill was approved by the latter on July 31.
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