Now that the election is over and all that is left is the counting in two key senate races, it is time to consider what this will do for numismatic-related legislation. The 109th congress was very busy over the last two years. However, with a lame duck session of congress beginning next week with no passed budget, numismatic-related bills are finished for this year.
By rule, all legislation not enacted into law does not carry over into the next congress. So any bill that is active in the 109th congress, they would have to be re-introduced during the 110th congress for consideration. While some of these bills were originally introduced by representatives looking to curry favor with their voters back home, there are a few that have a chance in the next congress.
When the ten 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles that once belonged to Israel Switt were confiscated from one of his decedents, there was a move by congress to try to create a law that would define what was legal tender and what was not. Rep. Frank Lewis (R-OK) introduced the Numismatic Rarities Certainty Act of 2006 (H.R. 5077) to help determine the legality of other coins and patterns not “officially” considered US Government property, even though the Mint has not pursued those coins. Although the bill is still in committee, there is no reason to think that this will not be brought up again.
Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) introduced the Currency Overhaul for an Industrious Nation (COIN) Act (H.R. 5818) late in the second session. It is a sweeping piece of legislation that seeks to stop circulating cents by codifying rounding for cash transactions, eliminates the one-dollar paper currency in favor of coinage, re-introduces the $2 for circulation, along with other changes. Since the bill was introduced in August, there is no chance of this being resolved in this congress. There are some provision that are promising and will be brought again.
Two commemoratives that passed where they were introduced are certain to be re-introduced. The NASA and JPL 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (H.R. 68) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of these institutions with a $50 gold and $1 silver coins in 2008 was passed in the House. Also, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act (S. 633) was passed in the Senate and specifies the issuing of two $1 silver commemorative dollars with the proceeds helping fund the construction of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.
One more bill I would like to mention that did pass in the Senate but probably has little chance of being re-introduced in 2007. The Theodore Roosevelt Commemorative Coin Act (S. 863) was to honor the 100th anniversary of our 26th President being the first sitting president to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. Although it passed the senate, the current state of politics in this country and that this year was the century anniversary makes this bill a long shot.
Congratulations to all of the winners and I hope you do what is right for the nation as well for all of us interested in numismatics.