Newly introduced Senate legislation proposes silver commemorative coins in 2014 to honor the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes.
Numbered S. 1935 and jointly introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan [D-NC] and Sen. Susan Collins [R-NH] on Friday, December 1, the March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act of 2011 adds further support to an identically named Act that was brought before the House in October.
Each bill would authorize the Secretary of the Treasury, and thereby the United States Mint, to produce up to 500,000 commemorative coins in collector proof and uncirculated qualities that were composed in 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.
"I cannot think of a more appropriate way to recognize the March of Dimes than to mint actual coins honoring its work," Sen. Kay Hagan stated in a news release about her newly introduced Senate bill.
"From its efforts to help end the polio epidemic, to its work today to prevent birth defects and the number of babies born prematurely, the March of Dimes has made a difference in the lives of our families for more than seven decades. A commemorative coin will serve both as a celebration of the March of Dimes’ 75 years of accomplishments, and a reminder of the work we still need to accomplish to combat diseases that strike our youngest children."
Coin Designs, Specifications and Surcharges
The commemorative coins would feature designs emblematic of the mission and programs of the March of Dimes (www.marchofdimes.com), with specific language calling for "motifs that represent the past, present, and future of the March of Dimes and its role as champion for all babies." The final designs would be selected by the Treasury Secretary after consulting with the March of Dimes and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).
The standard specifications for modern commemorative coins in silver would be followed, according to the Senate bill. Each silver dollar would have a weight of 26.73 grams, a diameter of 1.5 inches and include inscriptions of the year 2014, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Both House and Senate bills mandate a $10 surcharge for each coin sold, with collected funds paid to the March of Dimes to "help finance research, education, and services aimed at improving the health of women, infants, and children."
"Once again, a coin has the opportunity to help this nation fight a threat to its children. During the Great Depression, citizens sent their precious dimes — four billion of them — to the White House to fund research in the successful fight against polio," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes.
"This time, the sale of these commemorative coins will help fund research and programs to identify the causes of premature birth. A dime defeated polio; this special dollar will help fight premature birth."
The March of Dimes was founded by President Franklin Roosevelt as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1938. Roosevelt’s association with the cause and the name "March of Dimes" is visible daily as his portrait is featured on the obverse of the 10-cent coin. Roosevelt dimes debuted in American circulation in 1946 and were composed of 90% silver (just like the proposed commemorative coins) until 1964. Dimes are now struck from 8.33% nickel with the remaining copper.
Senate Bill Status
S. 1935 is currently supported by 5 cosponsors and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The House version, which is numbered H.R. 3187, was introduced on October 21 and enjoyed 19 cosponsors. That total has since increased to 57 as of Tuesday, December 6. H.R. 3187 has been referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on the Budget.
For the March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act to become law, one version of the bill must pass within the Senate and House and then get signed by the President.