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New rules to govern coin legislation

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have published new rules to govern coin and medal matters in the 100th Congress that convened in early January. The House acted Feb. 27 and the Senate on March 7 when the applicable committees published their new rules in the Congressional Record.

Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said the rules represent no new ground. A special procedure  has been set up to cover coins and medals legislation, which members can continue to individually introduce at any time.

However, at least two-thirds of the members of the House must co-sponsor the legislation in order for the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology to hold a hearing on any commemorative medal or commemorative coin.

The proposed legislation must also conform with the mintage restrictions in effect since 1999. That is the minting limitations of 750,000 clad half dollars, 500,000 silver dollars and up to 100,000 $5 gold pieces.

In considering legislation authorizing congressional gold medals, the rules direct that the recipient shall have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient?s field ?long after the achievement.?

Additional requirements state that the recipient shall not have received a medal previously for the same achievement and the recipient shall be living or, if deceased, shall have been deceased for not less than five years and not more than 25 years. The recipient must also be recognized and acclaimed by others in the same field by having received the highest honors in the field.

This represents a tightening of requirements, particularly for deceased individuals.

Senate rules are simpler. At least 67 senators, which is two-thirds of the body,   must co-sponsor any gold medal or commemorative coin bill or resolution before consideration by the committee.

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