Jason Smith On H.R. 2888

U.S. Representative Jason Smith, sponsor of H.R. 2888 to establish a national historical park in Ste. Genevieve as a unit of the National Park Service, spoke about the bill during debate on February 5 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. All speakers urged support of the bill, which passed in a voice vote. (Screen shot from C-SPAN coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives)

One major hurdle was cleared last week in Ste. Genevieve’s bid for the establishment of a national historical park, leaving two hurdles left in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 2888, the Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park Establishment Act, on February 5.

It passed by voice vote, with individual members’ votes not recorded. There was no audible opposition to the bill.

The legislation requires U.S. Senate approval and the signature of the president to become law.

Also last week, it was announced that the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on National Parks will discuss the identical Ste. Genevieve bill (S. 1335) during a hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Central time on Wednesday, February 14.

The bills were introduced in June of 2017, marking the second consecutive congressional session they were introduced.

But last week’s passage by a full chamber marked the first time the proposal had gone that far. Last year, the Senate version of the bill was reported by committee to the full Senate but never voted on.

H.R. 2888 was introduced on June 12, 2017 by U.S. Representative Jason Smith. It was then referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

A Federal Lands subcommittee hearing took place in November in Washington, D.C., with both Smith and Mayor Paul Hassler speaking in favor of the legislation.

In December, the bill was reported by committee to the whole House.

The Senate’s version of the bill was read and referred to its Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, according to www.congress.gov.

It also has been included in a proposal yet to be considered by the Appropriations Committee as part of a larger package for the Department of the Interior.

Katie Boyd of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s communications department said that Blunt and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill will continue to keep the two options open in getting the legislation through.

“We’re continuing to pursue the appropriations track and would hope to see the Ste. Genevieve bill included in an omnibus appropriations bill,” Boyd said. “We’re also moving on a parallel track through the regular order process and hope to have a hearing on the bill soon. We’ll continue pursuing both tracks to help ensure a path to the president’s desk.”

See complete coverage in the February 14 edition of the Herald.