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REVISING AND CODIFYING LAWS OF THE CANAL ZONE REGARDING THE ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

July 14, 1919.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State

of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. O'TOOLE, from the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries,

submitted the following

REPORT

(To accompany S. 11371

The Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, to whom was referred the bill (S. 1137) to revise and codify laws of the Canal Zone regarding the administration of estates, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

PURPOSE OF THE LAW

The purpose of the bill is to revise, amend, and in certain areas to expand the existing provisions of the Canal Zone Code. The changes are largely those dictated by experience gained through the administration of the code and are desirable and necessary in order to improve the operation of the Panama Canal.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

The bill provides legal authority for the handling of certain administrative matters within the administration of the Panama Canal or the Pana ma Railroad Company. It does not involve any increased expendi ture of funds and is designed solely for the purpose of perfecting certa i n procedures; because each of the changes involves a section of the Canal Zone Code, they are discussed separately in this report.

SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Seca or the

ion 1.-At the present time if an employee of the Panama Canal Panama Railroad Company dies, any lump-sum payments for

commutation of leave are paid to the employee's estate for administration. The change made in this section will permit the employee to designate a beneficiary to whom payments can be made instead of being included with the balance of his estate. This is similar to existing provisions for other Federal employees.

Section 2.-Adds two new sections to the code which codify existing provisions of law contained in the act of June 19, 1934, which authorizes the President to make regulations governing the manufacture, sale, importation, and exportation of alcoholic beverages in the Canal Zone. This makes no change in existing law or procedure.

Section 3. – This section amends section 303 of title 2 to make it clear that the revocable licenses governing the use of lands in the Canal Zone are legal and ratifies those heretofore issued by the Governor. The necessity for the amendment is occasioned by a court decision which held that revocable licenses heretofore issued should be regarded as leases for the purpose of determining compensation payable in the event the license was canceled. Generally speaking, these are all licenses covering agricultural projects throughout the Canal Zone that have been in existence for a long period of years. No new agricultural licenses are being made. However, at the time the licenses were granted most of them contained special provisions in regard to payment of compensation to the licensee if the license was terminated, and legal clarification is needed to support them.

Section 4.–Amends section 225 of title 3 of the Canal Zone Code so as to require foreign corporations who are licensed to do business in the Canal Zone to keep an agent available for process purposes. Under existing provisions of law there is no requirement for the designation of a new process agent in case the original one leaves the Canal Zone. This section will require them to designate a new agent in the event the existing one leaves the area.

Section 5.- Amends title 4 of the Canal Zone Code by inserting : new chapter on the subject of disposition of estates without administration. The present code provision on this subject follows the California Code of Civil Procedure. The California code has been amended and this change is to bring the procedures of the Canal Zone in line with the procedures in the new California law. The proposed section authorizes an application to set aside for the family of a decedent an estate of $1,000 or less concurrently with the original petition for probate or letters of administration.

Section 6.- Amends section 1703 of title 4 of the code to further liberalize probate procedures. At the present time the public administrator is authorized to pay over to persons entitled thereto, without regular administration, the assets of an estate less than $150 in value. The proposed change increases the amount to $250 in which such a procedure can be followed.

Section 7.-Adds a new section numbered 573 to title 5 of the code making it a misdemeanor to violate fire regulations in the Canal Zone. While there are adequate laws covering arson and more serious offenses, the regulations governing the creation of fire hazards have not had the full force and effect of law and have been practicably unenforceable.

Section 8.- Adds a new section, numbered 812, to title 5 of the code, making it a misdemeanor to tamper with or injure motor vehicles, motorboats, launches, or aircraft. Experience has shown the necessity for such a statute to supplement other provisions covering actual larceny and malicious mischief.

Section 9.-Covers the necessary repealers affecting the superseded provisions of law contained in the present amendments, and in addition repeals two other sections of the Canal Zone Code. One repeals a law governing operation of street railways which are no longer in existence, and the other authorizes modification of the boundary line between the Canal Zone and the Republic of Panama. The latter was to cover a desirable site for the then contemplated American legation building. Subsequently the building was constructed in another part of the Republic of Panama, so the necessity for the act has disappeared.

Your committee held hearings on a similar bill, H. R. 3158. The following letter received by the chairman of your committee from the Secretary of the Army under date of February 23, 1949, transmitting the proposed changes requested by the Panama Canal Office, is made a part of the record. The Bureau of the Budget offers no objection to the legislation.

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY,

Washington, D. C., February 23, 1949. Hon. SCHUYLER Otis BLAND, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries,

House of Representalives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. BLAND: I submit herewith a draft of bill to amend the Canal Zone Code and for other purposes, which would add or amend 13 sections of the Canal Zone Code, as part of the continuing effort to revise and modernize the Canal Zone Code.

The bill was prepared under the general supervision of the Governor of the Panama Canal. . The purposes of the various amendments proposed are explained in the attached memorandum of the Chief of Office, the Panama Canal.

I concur in the views and recommendations of the Governor of the Panama Canal as stated in that memorandum.

I am advised by the Director of the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this letter and its accompanying memorandum and draft of bill to the Congress for its consideration. Sincerely yours,

KENNETH C. ROYALL,

Secretary of the Army.

CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

In compliance with paragraph 2a of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the bill, as passed the Senate, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

TITLE 2.-OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE CANAL AND

GOVERNMENT OF THE CANAL ZONE GENERALLY

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ARTICLE 1.- APPOINTMENT AND COMPENSATION IN GENERAL
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84. PAYMENT FOR ACCUMULATED OR ACCRUED LEAVE UPON DEATH.-Upon the death of any officer or employee of the Panama Canal or the Panama Railroad Company on the Isthmus of Panama, any compensation which may be payable on account of his accumulated and current accrued leave, under the conditions of employ

H. Repts., 81-1, vol. 5.

33

commutation of leave are paid to the employee's estate for administration. The change made in this section will permit the employee to designate a beneficiary to whom payments can be made instead of being included with the balance of his estate. This is similar to existing provisions for other Federal employees.

Section 2.- Adds two new sections to the code which codify existing provisions of law contained in the act of June 19, 1934, which authorizes the President to make regulations governing the manufacture, sale, importation, and exportation of alcoholic beverages in the Canal Zone. This makes no change in existing law or procedure.

Section 3.– This section amends section 303 of title 2 to make it clear that tbe revocable licenses governing the use of lands in the Canal Zone are legal and ratifies those heretofore issued by the Governor. The necessity for the amendment is occasioned by a court decision which held that revocable licenses heretofore issued should be regarded as leases for the purpose of determining compensation payable in the event the license was canceled. Generally speaking, these are all licenses covering agricultural projects throughout the Canal Zone that have been in existence for a long period of years. No new agricultural licenses are being made. However, at the time the licenses were granted most of them contained special provisions in regard to payment of compensation to the licensee if the license was terminated, and legal clarification is needed to support them.

Section 4.- Amends section 225 of title 3 of the Canal Zone Code so as to require foreign corporations who are licensed to do business in the Canal Zone to keep an agent available for process purposes. Under existing provisions of law there is no requirement for the designation of a new process agent in case the original one leaves the Canal Zone. This section will require them to designate a new agent in the event the existing one leaves the area.

Section 5.–Amends title 4 of the Canal Zone Code by inserting a new chapter on the subject of disposition of estates without administration. The present code provision on this subject follows the California Code of Civil Procedure. The California code has been amended and this change is to bring the procedures of the Canal Zone in line with the procedures in the new California law. The proposed section authorizes an application to set aside for the family of a decedent an estate of $1,000 or less concurrently with the original petition for probate or letters of administration.

Section 6.- Amends section 1703 of title 4 of the code to further liberalize probate procedures. At the present time the public administrator is authorized to pay over to persons entitled thereto, without regular administration, the assets of an estate less than $150 in value. The proposed change increases the amount to $250 in which such a procedure can be followed.

Section 7.- Adds a new section numbered 573 to title 5 of the code making it a misdemeanor to violate fire regulations in the Canal Zone. While there are adequate laws covering arson and more serious offenses, the regulations governing the creation of fire hazards have not had the full force and effect of law and have been practicably unenforceable.

Section 8.—Adds a new section, numbered 812, to title 5 of the code, making it a misdemeanor to tamper with or injure motor vehicles, motorboats, launches, or aircraft. Experience has shown the neces

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