National Park Quarters legislation passes Senate

Legislation to create at least 56 newly designed quarters over a ten-year period is now a presidential signature away from law. America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act (H.R.6184) passed in the House of Representatives July 9, 2008 and unexpectedly made its way through the lame duck session of the Senate on Wednesday.

It is all too common for legislation to take months and sometimes years to pass. Hope for 2008 action on H.R.6184 dwindled further as the political season approached and the resulting lame duck members of congress returned to Washington D.C. to close out the year. Few would have expected its Senate passage by Unanimous Consent this year.

President Bush will likely sign the bill into law within ten days. With that, commemorative national park or site quarters at the rate of five different designs per year for each state, D.C. and U.S. Territory will be issued beginning in 2010. The legislation authorizes a second round of quarters at the discretion of the Treasury Secretary, which could push the series into 2020.

The commemorative quarters are to be designs as "emblematic of a national park or other national site in each State, the District of Columbia, and each territory of the United States, and for other purposes."

Additionally, a silver coin that is a duplicate of each quarter is to be struck from .999 fine silver and have an impressive diameter of 3.0 inches with a weight of 5.0 ounces. No modern coins of such size have ever been issued by the United States Mint.

The National Parks Quarter bill first appeared in the House of Representatives when Rep. Mike Castle introduced it on June 4, 2008. On June 26, Senator John Barrasso brought a similar measure (S.3214) before the Senate, showing his support for park and site coins.

For any legislation to become law, both houses must first agree to and pass a common bill and the president must sign it.

The United States Mint just wrapped up the 50 State Quarters® Program and will spend 2009 issuing six commemorative quarters to honor the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

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