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H.R. 5665 (ih) To amend title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to adjust the monthly multiemployer plan benefit guaranteed thereunder. [Introduced in House] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5664

 To establish the 21st Century Bipartisan Electoral Commission to make 
  recommendations to carry out a Voters' Bill of Rights for the 21st 
                    century, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           December 14, 2000

  Mr. Markey introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
Committee on House Administration, and in addition to the Committees on 
the Judiciary, and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined 
 by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as 
        fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To establish the 21st Century Bipartisan Electoral Commission to make 
  recommendations to carry out a Voters' Bill of Rights for the 21st 
                    century, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Voters' Bill of Rights for the 21st 
Century''.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING RIGHTS OF AMERICAN VOTERS.

    It is the sense of Congress that American voters in the 21st 
century should be entitled to the following rights:
            (1) The right to a ballot format that permits clear 
        identification of candidates and the accurate implementation of 
        voter's preferences in the selection of candidates.
            (2) The right in the Information Age to use a technology to 
        select candidates that is fair and user friendly.
            (3) The right to vote in a manner not prejudiced by media 
        announcements of election results in time zones where the polls 
        have closed or when races are too close to call.
            (4) The right to vote in a manner not subject to 
        intimidation.
            (5) The right of members of the uniformed service and 
        civilians who vote by absentee ballot to have their votes 
        counted on Election Day.
            (6) The right to have a uniform statewide standard for 
        counting and recounting all votes.
            (7) The right to have an Electoral College which reflects 
        the preferences of voters in a fair and accurate manner.
            (8) The right to have complaints about elections and 
        election contests resolved fairly, accurately, and efficiently.
            (9) The right to vote on a day of the week which maximizes 
        voter turnout.
            (10) The right to make the most informed decision on 
        Election Day.

         TITLE I--21ST CENTURY BIPARTISAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION

SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT; PURPOSE.

    (a) Establishment.--There is hereby established the 21st Century 
Bipartisan Electoral Commission (hereafter in this Act referred to as 
the ``Commission'').
    (b) Purpose.--It is the purpose of the Commission to protect and 
enforce the rights described in section 2 by carrying out the duties 
specified under this title.

SEC. 102. MEMBERSHIP; APPOINTMENT.

    (a) Membership.--The Commission shall be composed of 20 members 
with the qualifications described in subsection (b), who shall be 
appointed as follows:
            (1) 5 shall be appointed by the majority leader of the 
        House of Representatives, of whom not more than 2 may be 
        elected officials and not fewer than 3 shall be individuals who 
        are not officers or employees of the Federal Government.
            (2) 5 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the 
        House of Representatives, of whom not more than 2 may be 
        elected officials and not fewer than 3 shall be individuals who 
        are not officers or employees of the Federal Government.
            (3) 5 shall be appointed by the majority leader of the 
        Senate, of whom not more than 2 may be elected officials and 
        not fewer than 3 shall be individuals who are not officers or 
        employees of the Federal Government.
            (4) 5 shall be appointed by the minority leader of the 
        Senate, of whom not more than 2 may be elected officials and 
        not fewer than 3 shall be individuals who are not officers or 
        employees of the Federal Government.
    (b) Qualifications of Members.--
            (1) In general.--Members shall be appointed from among 
        individuals who have expertise in Federal and State election 
        laws, the United States Constitution, voting rights, voting 
        technology or other pertinent qualifications or experience.
            (2) Other considerations.--In appointing members of the 
        Commission, every effort shall be made to ensure that the 
        members represent a broad cross section of regional and 
        demographic perspectives in the United States.
    (c) Period of Appointment; Vacancies.--(1) Members of the 
Commission shall be appointed not later than 60 days after the date of 
enactment of this Act. Appointments shall be for the life of the 
Commission.
    (2) Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect the powers of 
the Commission, and shall be filled in the same manner as the original 
appointment.
    (d) Chair and Vice Chair.--The members of the Commission shall 
elect a chair and vice chair from among the members of the Commission, 
except that the chair and vice chair may not belong to the same 
political party.
    (e) Schedule of Meetings and Hearings.--The Commission shall hold 
meetings and hearings under such schedule as the chair may determine in 
consultation with the vice chair.
    (f) Quorum.--A majority of the members of the Commission shall 
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

SEC. 103. DUTIES.

    (a) In General.--The duties of the Commission shall be as follows:
            (1) The Commission shall develop a uniform ballot format 
        for Presidential elections that is clear, accurate, and 
        presents candidates in a readily recognizable way. The ballot 
        must be easy to use for all age groups and America's diverse 
        population.
            (2) The Commission shall evaluate existing voting 
        technologies to determine their accuracy and effectiveness in 
        reflecting voter's intentions and report back to Congress on 
        the results with the intent of utilizing the most effective 
        methods in future elections.
            (3) The Commission shall make recommendations to Congress 
        about the feasibility of a Federal matching grant program for 
        States to implement changes in ballot formats and to purchase 
        new, more accurate, and user-friendly voting machines and 
        tabulation technologies.
            (4) The Commission shall make recommendations about a 
        method of voter identification to ensure accurate recognition 
        of voters, while insuring that no voter is subject to 
        intimidation of any kind in casting votes.
            (5) The Commission shall establish, in consultation with 
        the Secretary of Defense and the Postmaster General of the 
        United States, standards for military voting that address 
        issues of postmarks, witnessing, and time of receipt of ballots 
        to ensure that the votes of members of the uniformed services 
        are counted on Election Day.
            (6) The Commission shall establish standards for civilian 
        absentee ballots that address issues of voter identification, 
        witnessing, and time of receipt to ensure that these ballots 
        are counted on Election Day.
            (7) The Commission shall make recommendations to establish 
        a uniform poll closing time.
            (8) The Commission shall make recommendations on the 
        appropriateness of changing Election Day in Presidential 
        election years to the first Sunday in November to increase 
        voter participation.
            (9) The Commission shall reassess the electoral college and 
        evaluate strategies to better reflect voters intentions across 
        the country for electing the President and Vice President in 
        the 21st century, whether by leaving the current provisions 
        unchanged, using only the direct popular vote, using 
        proportional electoral college votes depending on the popular 
        vote in each State, or by such other strategies as it may 
        consider.
            (10) The Commission shall examine State laws to determine 
        whether or not each State has a uniform statewide standard for 
        vote tabulation, protests, and contests of national, State, and 
        local elections which would protect against equal protection 
        violations under the Constitution.
            (11) The Commission shall make recommendations on 
        conducting a 21st Century Voter Education Campaign to make its 
        recommendations and the implementation of those recommendations 
        available to the public through a variety of media.
    (b) Consultation With Officials.--In carrying out its duties under 
this section, the Commission shall seek guidance from the governors of 
the States and from State and local election officials.

SEC. 104. FINAL REPORT.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 24 months after the date of the 
initial meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the 
President and the Congress a final report including--
            (1) the findings and conclusions of the Commission with 
        respect to each duty specified under section 103(a); and
            (2) recommendations for addressing the problems identified 
        as part of the Commission's analysis.
    (b) Separate Views.--Any member of the Commission may submit 
additional findings and recommendations as part of the final report.

SEC. 105. POWERS.

    (a) Hearings.--The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act 
at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such 
evidence as the Commission may find advisable to fulfill the 
requirements of this Act.
    (b) Information From Federal Agencies.--The Commission may secure 
directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the 
Commission considers necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. 
Upon request of the chairperson of the Commission, the head of such 
department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.
    (c) Postal Services.--The Commission may use the United States 
mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

SEC. 106. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.

    (a) Compensation.--Members of the Commission shall serve without 
pay, but shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu 
of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under 
subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away 
from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of 
services for the Commission.
    (b) Staff.--(1) The chairperson of the Commission may appoint staff 
of the Commission, request the detail of Federal employees, and accept 
temporary and intermittent services in accordance with section 3161 of 
title 5, United States Code.
    (2) The employment of an executive director of the Commission shall 
be subject to the approval of the Commission.
    (3) The rate of pay for the executive director and other personnel 
of the Commission may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the 
Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.

SEC. 107. SUPPORT SERVICES.

    The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the 
Commission on a reimbursable basis such administrative support services 
as the Commission may request.

SEC. 108. WEBSITE.

    The Commission shall establish and operate a website to facilitate 
public comment on and participation in its activities.

SEC. 109. TERMINATION.

    The Commission shall terminate not later than 30 days after the 
date the Commission submits its final report under section 104.

SEC. 110. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated $10,000,000 for the 
Commission to carry out this Act, to remain available for the first 3 
fiscal years which begin after the date of the enactment of this Act.

                   TITLE II--REVIEW OF ROLE OF MEDIA

SEC. 201. SENSE OF CONGRESS REGARDING VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT ON ELECTION 
              REPORTING BY MEDIA.

    It is the sense of Congress that broadcasters and other members of 
the media should review and take steps to strengthen their 
participation in the voluntary agreement on election reporting 
described in the report entitled ``Single Poll Closing Time for 
Presidential General Elections in the Continental United States'' (Part 
1 of House Report 101-15, One Hundred First Congress, as printed on 
March 23, 1989).
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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