(KUTV) A bill has passed the US house oversight and government reform committee that would end door-to-door delivery for 15 million Americans. Should the bill eventually become law, it will replace individual mailboxes with community mailboxes like these.
Gary Atkins' West Jordan neighborhood already has the community boxes, in fact, there is one right in front of his house. But he says he is frustrated because the postal service doesn't let him use that close one.
"My mailbox is way down the street down there," Atkins says pointing to a box on his side of the street about five houses down. "It's not close for me. I'd rather be right [on the street in front of my house] instead of walking way down the street."
His neighbor Angie Patterson says she rarely gets anything in the mail she needs and will sometimes go for days without collecting it.
"We get a lot of junk mail," she says.
So what happens if these boxes get too full?
Margaret Putnam with the US Postal Service says that letting the box get too full could cost someone their mail service.
When mail is not picked up, it is held at the post office for 10 days. After 10 days, the postal service declares the address M.L.N.A. which means, "Moved, Left No Address."
The mail in the box is then "returned to sender." Once a mailbox is declared M.L.N.A., post office machines automatically send all future mail to that mailbox back to the sender immediately.
So as the legislation that would put community mailboxes everywhere is fought out in Washington, Gary and Angie, who already have them, will continue to collect their mail to avoid being declared M.L.N.A.
President Obama once indicated that he would support ending door-to-door delivery and putting in community boxes if such legislation ever made it to his desk to sign. The big argument for the community boxes is it would save a lot of money. The big argument against is it will cost a lot of postal carriers their jobs.
The legislation passed out of committee with a vote strictly along party lines. Republicans voted for the bill and democrats voting against it. The bill now goes to the full house which is controlled by republicans. Should it pass and go to the democratically controlled senate, the bill faces an uphill battle.
By Matt Gephardt
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)
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