U.S. Senator-delegates from Guam & the CNMI?

The CNMI, Guam, and the other territories of the United States may soon be able to elect non-voting representation to the U.S. Senate if legislation by the House delegates of the Mariana Islands makes it into law. The following is a news release from the Office of Congressman Michael San Nicolas:

Congressman Michael San Nicolas introduced today H.R. 6941 the “Territorial Representation in the Senate Act,” joined by Co-Sponsors Representatives Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan, Stacey Plaskett, and Eleanor Holmes-Norton.

Specifically, H.R. 6941 creates in the U.S. Senate the option for each territory to elect a new territorial delegate representative for that body, with functions similar to the current territorial delegate to the House of Representatives.

The U.S. Congress is a bi-cameral legislative branch with two separate chambers, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, with territories currently only represented as non-voting delegates in one of those chambers, the U.S. House of Representatives.

“While there is much progress that needs to be made in securing voting rights for the territories we must not neglect the fact that there is still ground to be gained by securing territorial representation in the Senate,” said Congressman San Nicolas.

“Not only does an elected territorial Senate presence enable us to originate and advocate for policy initiatives of interest to our respective territories, it also benefits the Senate with territorial perspective and input in its deliberations concerning the greater Republic,” Congressman San Nicolas continued.

The legislative process requires all potential laws considered by the Congress to pass through both Chambers in order for them to be eligible to be signed into law by the President. Without representation in the Senate, the risk of that chamber excluding territories is much greater, and no potential laws from territories are able to originate there.

“With H.R. 6941 we bring territorial voices – American Voices – into the chambers of the Senate, enabling all Americans who comprise the Republic to be heard, and ensuring that no decision made by the chamber charged with protecting the Republic is done without the benefit of American perspective throughout the Republic,” Congressman San Nicolas added.

“We thank our territorial and district colleagues from the Marianas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. for co-sponsoring this effort, and our colleagues from Puerto Rico and American Samoa for their support,” Congressman San Nicolas concludes.

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