Congress is wising up. A proposal for a statutory commission that would have the power to recommend to Congress commemoration for the 450th Anniversary of St. Augustine, Fla., in 2015 has been altered. What emerged in S. 2359 was a very different celebration bill.
St. Augustine is the oldest continually populated settlement in what is now the United States. It was first organized on Sept. 8, 1565, and legislation was introduced to set up a committee to oversee the local celebration.
Like many similar bills, it originally provided for establishment of a commission to handle the celebratory events. This would (1) ensure a suitable national observance of the 450th anniversary of the city of St. Augustine by complementing the programs and activities of the State of Florida and the City of St. Augustine; (2) cooperate with and assist in the programs and activities of the State of Florida in observance of the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine; and (3) assist in ensuring that the St. Augustine 450th anniversary observances provide an excellent visitor experience and beneficial interaction between visitors and the natural and cultural resources of the St. Augustine sites”
Also in the original bill: “(7) support and facilitate marketing efforts for a commemorative coin, stamp, and related activities for the St. Augustine 450th anniversary observances; and (8) assist in the appropriate development of heritage tourism and economic benefits to the United States through the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the city of St. Augustine”
These specific items have been omitted in the reinvented legislative proposal, which was placed on the Senate calendar in amended form on Sept. 16. Now it is more generic in scope – and ignores the numismatic component, leaving that to Mint officials and the Citizens Coin Advisory Committee.