On December 15, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2754: Collectible Coin Protection Act by unanimous consent. Since the bill had been previously passed by the House of Representatives earlier in the session, the Senate action sends the bill to the president. There is no reason to believe that the president will not sign the legislation into law.
The legislation strengthens provisions of the Hobby Protection Act in several significant ways:
- It includes penalties not only for “distribution” but also for “sale” in commerce of prohibited items
- It adds a provision that gives “teeth” to the Hobby Protection Act by allowing prosecution of “any person who provides substantial assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller” knowingly engaging in any act or practice that violates the Act.
- It expands the options for legal action to include anyone who “transacts business or wherever venue is proper under section 1391 of Title 28, United States Code.” In other words, if any element of counterfeiting is found in the manufacture, shipping, sales, etc., of an item, the perpetrators can be prosecuted – wherever and however they might be doing business.
- It adds a section on trademark violations specifically written to include the certification services and to add remedies to the Hobby Protection Act that currently exist under the Trademark Act of 1946 (USC Title 15, Sections 1116-1118) for violations of the Hobby Protection Act.
Legislative consultant Jimmy Hayes described the process toward passage throughout the “lame duck” session of Congress as a “textbook on bi-partisan effort”:
“The key Congressmen and their respective staff members who had made the House passage possible continued to not only follow the course of HR 2754 in the Senate but also directly contact their Senate counterparts each day, often each hour. Prior to the beginning of the ‘lame duck’ session, Barry Stuppler had met with his Congressman Henry Waxman asking assistance with HR 2754.
In order to greatly increase the prospects for passage of the legislation, Congressman Waxman directly asked for assistance from his Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, requesting that the bill be placed upon and stay on the ‘hot-line’ list of bills deserving primary consideration. Michelle Ash, Democratic counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was tireless in her efforts to maintain the interest of her counterparts in the Senate Commerce Committee. Sen. Markey, the newest Democratic member of the Senate Commerce Committee, and his chief of staff, Mark Bayer, continuously reminded Democratic majority floor staff of the need to take up the measure.
“At the same time, Republican House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton and his chief of staff, Gary Andres, were working with Senator John Thune, who will be the Republican chairman of the Commerce Committee in the next Congress, as well as with high-ranking Committee Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi to accomplish the goal of passing the much-needed legislation attracting such strong bi-partisan support. Dave Schwietert with Sen. Thune and Peter Feldman made countless calls and provided continuous follow-up messaging to their Republican colleagues, including their assistance with the removal of a ‘hold’ that at one point threatened the ability to even get a vote for passage of the bill.”
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