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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Naming Post Offices Through Legislation

Kevin R. Kosar
Analyst in American National Government

Legislation naming post offices for persons has become a very common practice. During the 108th through 112th Congresses, approximately 20% of all statutes enacted were post office naming acts.

This report describes how the practice of naming post offices through public law originated and how it is commonly done today. It also details the House and Senate committee policies for considering such legislation and the U.S. Postal Service’s procedures for implementing post office naming acts.

Unanimity of a state’s congressional delegation is required for the movement of naming bills to the floor of the House or Senate. Additionally, the Senate committee of jurisdiction has adopted the rule that it “will not consider any legislation that would name a postal facility for a living person with the exception of bills naming facilities after former Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States, former Members of Congress over 70 years of age, former state or local elected officials over 70 years of age, former judges over 70 years of age, or wounded veterans.”

The cost of dedicating a post office in the name of an individual is modest. Renaming a post office through legislation does not change either the U.S. Postal Service’s or the public’s identification of the facility by its geographic location. Rather, a small plaque is installed within the post office.

In the 111
th Congress, H.R. 3137 was introduced to amend current postal law to clarify that the U.S. Postal Service may accept financial donations toward the cost of providing a commemorative plaque. This bill did not become law. This report will be updated early in the 114th Congress or in the event of significant legislative action in the 113th Congress.

Date of Report: April 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21562
Price: $19.95

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