Congressman Miller Files Bill for Battlefield
By Deborah Fitts
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A California congressman
with a love of Civil War history has introduced legislation
supporting battlefield preservation.
Republican Rep. Gary Miller and five of his colleagues introduced
in July the “American Battlefields Protection Program
Act of 2002.” He was joined by five of his colleagues.
The measure puts battlefield preservation funding on a more
secure footing than in the past. At present, according to Miller’s
spokesman, appropriations are by “earmark,” meaning
that funding is not authorized by law, but is sought at the
request of specific members of Congress.
The new legislation, if it passes as expected, will provide
authorization for federal battlefield-acquisition funding. “It’s
never a sure thing,” said the spokesman of the funding,
“but having an authorization provides more of a sure thing.”
The legislation calls for the federal funds to go to nonprofit
organizations or local or state governments. Recipients would
have to match the money one-for-one.
Miller, a real estate developer, is an Arkansas native. His
spokesman said that while on long plane rides between his home
in California and the nation’s capital, he became captivated
by books on the Civil War. “He’s fallen in love
with it as a hobby.”
Miller is “a big supporter” of the Civil War Preservation
Trust, according to the spokesman. He is “hoping to work
with other members of Congress to raise their awareness”
about battlefield preservation. The congressman has visited
several battlefields in the Washington area.
The spokesman cited “a lot of support” for the bill
and said it could pass the House later this year.