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Enabling Legislation

Enabling Legislation

* Note: In 2007, The Constitutional Foundation, Inc., the 501(C)(3)* non-profit corporation, ("Corporation"), which offered the free self-guided tour wound down operations because the Corporation's Board of Directors resolved that the Corporation was unsuccessful in obtaining the necessary contributions to continue its charitable and educational purposes. To ensure that the free self-guided tour would continue to be offered, The Constitutional Guided Walking Tours of Philadelphia, LLC took over operations of the free self-guided tour and provided funding for the ongoing presentation of the free self-guided tour.

January 2005

As we take next steps with the Master Plan Development for The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia ("The Constitutional"), The Constitutional's Board of Directors has resolved to seek "Enabling Legislation" on Federal, State and Local levels to support our 501(C)(3)* non-profit corporation. As Benjamin Franklin said, "The good particular men may do separately… is small, compared with what they may do collectively."

Models & Precedents

To accomplish this, the Enabling Legislation could be modeled on the existing precedents with:

  • Senator Robert C. Byrd's Constitution Day Provision ("CDP")
    The Constitutional is working to become an integral part of the programming that educational institutions utilize to fulfill the vision of Senator Byrd's (D, West Virginia) Constitution Day Provision. Specifically, in late 2004, the late Senator Robert Byrd, who was one of the United States Senate's leading Constitutional scholars, introduced legislation that President George W. Bush signed into law on December 8, 2004 requiring that all schools, colleges and Federal agencies receiving Federal funds offer annual educational programming involving the Constitution of the United States on Constitution Day, September 17th.

  • Boston's Freedom Trail Legislation
    Boston's Freedom Trail Legislation, approved on August 9, 1965 by Governor John A. Volpe, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serves as a model for enabling legislation which The Constitutional Foundation is seeking to have passed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia to support The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia.

Rationale & Support

On a Federal level, The Constitutional is seeking to have The Constitution Heritage Act of 1988 amended to include The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia. To that end, there are numerous strategic reasons to support this initiative including:

  • The Constitutional is a Key Community Partner of the National Constitution Center ("NCC").
  • There are a lot of synergies between the NCC and The Constitutional; The NCC is the 1st site along The Constitutional's free, self-guided, tour route.
  • The Constitutional is an independent, non-partisan and educational 501(C)(3)* non-profit Pennsylvania corporation.
  • The Constitutional is a national on-going resource which has been providing educational programming since 2002.
  • The Constitutional has quickly become one of the Top 25 Tourist Attractions in Philadelphia, as ranked by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2003 and 2004.
  • The Constitutional guides visitors through the Independence National Historical Park area by connecting the buildings and places where the events of the American Revolution transpired.
  • The Constitutional tells the dramatic stories of the brave men and women who were responsible for creating America through their deeds and words.
  • The Constitutional's educational messages are shared with visitors as to the great achievements of our Founding Fathers, and this is done through our approach to historic storytelling, etc.
  • The Constitutional is working to become an integral part of the educational programming on Social Studies courses featuring Philadelphia history, Pennsylvania history and American history.
  • The Constitutional is working to become an integral part of the programming that educational institutions and Federal agencies alike utilize to fulfill the vision of the new Federal legislation which Senator Byrd of West Virginia recently sponsored which requires annual educational programming on the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day, September 17th.

The Constitutional is a living and breathing historical, educational and interpretive platform which has served hundreds of thousands of visitors to America's Birthplace since The Constitutional's launch in 2003 that was tied into the Grand Opening of the National Constitution Center.

In order for us to take The Constitutional to the next level, we need Enabling Legislation to be passed. As such, we have reached out to various elected officials who have helped us champion this red, white and blue initiative which honors America's Birthplace, the Founding Fathers, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States. For example, in 2004, Senator Arlen Specter (R, Pennsylvania), Senator Santorum, Representative Chaka Fattah (D, Pennsylvania, 2nd District, Philadelphia) and Representative Robert A. Brady (D, Pennsylvania, 1st District, Philadelphia) helped The Constitutional receive a $50,000.00 grant from the United States Department of Education. The funds were used to develop educational programming for The Constitutional on The Constitution of the United States and other related subject matters regarding the self-guided tour of America's Most Historic Square Mile.

The New York Times called The Constitutional "A new walking tour of Philadelphia helps visitors find their way to sites relating to the city’s history and its key role in the founding of the United States." Source: October 26, 2003, Travel section

Enabling Legislation Cited By The National Park Service

In July 2003, The Constitutional submitted a draft Term Sheet for a Cooperative Agreement ("Term Sheet") between Independence National Historical Park/National Park Service ("INHP") and The Constitutional. We had modeled our efforts on The Freedom Trail in Boston; this Term Sheet was thus modeled after the existing Cooperative Agreement between Boston National Historical Park/National Park Service ("BNHP") and The Freedom Trail Foundation in Boston. This Term Sheet was drafted by Steve Foxman, Esq. (one of the members of The Constitutional's Board of Directors; Mr. Foxman also serves as The Constitutional's legal counsel at Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia).

However, INHP has been very slow to respond since INHP officials (i.e., Mary Bomar, Regional Director, Northeast Region, National Park Service; Former Superintendent, Independence National Historical Park) has claimed that BNHP has enabling legislation which empowers it to work with The Freedom Trail to create a free, self-guided, and most importantly sequenced and marked tour through the City of Boston and BNHP. See the Freedom Trail Foundation Cooperative Agreement with NPS.

Specifically, by way of additional background, it is relevant to review the following legislation:

  1. "Boston National Historical Park Act of 1974," - U.S. Code, Title 16, Chapter 1, Subchapter LVII, Public Law 93-431, 93rd Congress, S. 210, October 1, 1974.
  2. "Independence National Historical Park Act of 1948" - U.S. Code, Title 16, Chapter 1, Subchapter LI.

Note the language in the "Boston National Historical Park Act of 1974" that specifically addresses entering into cooperative agreements and the concepts "to mark", "to interpret", etc. Note the following section:

"In furtherance of the general purposes of this subchapter as prescribed in section 410z of this title, the Secretary is authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or any private organization to mark, interpret, restore, and/or provide technical assistance for the preservation and interpretation of any properties listed in section 410z of this title, or portions thereof, which, in his opinion, would best be preserved in private, municipal, or State ownership, in connection with the Boston National Historical Park.... The Secretary may identify other significant sites of the colonial and Revolutionary periods of American history in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and its environs, which are related to the historical park created by this subchapter, and, with the consent of the owner or owners thereof, may mark them appropriately and make reference to them in any interpretive literature."
Source: http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/16/410z-1.html

By way of background, The Constitutional Foundation, Inc. doing business as The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia is an independent, non-partisan and 501(C)(3)* non-profit corporation which is dedicated to increasing the understanding of, appreciation for and promotion of Philadelphia’s historically significant sites, along a suggested marked sequence, in the Independence Mall area ecosystem. As such, The Constitutional aims to increase the:

  • Number of overall visitors to the City of Philadelphia;
  • Number of historic sites visited per visitor in the Independence National Historical Park area; and
  • Total length of time that each visitor spends in the Independence National Historical Park area.

By way of additional background, in order to garner political support, there are a number of issues of positive economic development associated with The Constitutional. The Constitutional is addressing the economic impact of visitorship as well as the general visitor experience.

Having attractions and experiences such as The Constitutional which keep people in Philadelphia for a longer period of time will help Philadelphia capitalize on the economic impact per visitor opportunity; thus moving the economic impact financial needle northwards per visitor.

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