Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2004  
Contact:
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Announces Senate Hearing On Missions Bill  

Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today announced that the Senate Energy Committee's Subcommittee on National Parks will hold a hearing on Thursday, February 5, on Boxer's legislation to restore and preserve the California Missions.

Boxer said, "I am so pleased to see this bill moving forward in the Senate. This legislation will help ensure the future of missions and their place in California's rich culture and history."

The California Missions Preservation Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make grants to the California Missions Foundation, a charity established in 1998 that funds and oversees the restoration of California missions. The bill would provide $10 million to be administered over five years under a Department of the Interior grant program. The California Missions Foundation would have to match all federal grants with private and state funding. California's 21 missions are the most visited historic attractions in the state, drawing over 5.5 million tourists a year. They account for a sizable contribution to the state economy, and play an integral role in educating California students. The missions are a huge part of California's history and are discussed at length in elementary school textbooks.

Boxer said, "Each day we are finding new hidden gems in these missions. Recently, archaeologists discovered magnificent Native American murals in San Francisco's Mission Dolores that have been hidden for more than 200 years. These treasures might be lost to us forever if we fail to preserve the California Missions."

Boxer will be testifying along with Stephen Hearst, Chairman of the California Missions Foundation and General Manager of the Hearst Corporation. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is a co-sponsor of Boxer's bill.

The House of Representatives has already passed identical legislation by Congressmen Sam Farr and David Drier.