LAW AUTHORIZING THAT AMERICAN SAMOA BE REPRESENTED IN THE U.S. CONGRESS BY A DELEGATE TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Public Law 95-556, Oct. 31, 1978, 92 Stat. 2078:
From 1975-1981, I worked as Staff Counsel for the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (now called the Resources Committee) and was specifically assigned to handle territorial and insular issues which included American Samoa. At the time, Democrats were the Majority party and the late Congressman Phil Burton (D-CA) was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Territories and Insular Affairs.
As Staff Counsel, I was responsible for drafting legislation to provide that the Territory of American Samoa be represented in the United States Congress by a Delegate to the House of Representatives. Chairman Burton introduced this legislation and you can click here to read more about these historical proceedings that have been made part of the Congressional Record.
Public Law 95-556, Oct. 31, 1978, 92 Stat. 2078 is printed below.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Territory of American Samoa shall be represented in the United States Congress by a nonvoting Delegate to the House of Representatives, elected as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 2. (a) The Delegate shall be elected by the people qualified to vote for the popularly elected officials of the Territory of American Samoa at the general Federal election of 1980, and thereafter at such general election every second year thereafter. The Delegate shall be elected at large, by separate ballot, and by a majority of the votes cast for the office of Delegate. If no candidate receives such majority, on the fourteenth day following such election a runoff election shall be held between the candidates receiving the highest and the second highest number of votes cast for the office of Delegate. In case of a permanent vacancy in the office of Delegate, by reason of death, resignation, or permanent disability, the office of Delegate shall remain vacant until a successor shall have been elected and qualified. The term of the Delegate shall commence on the third day of January following the date of the election.
Sec. 3. To be eligible for the office of Delegate a candidate shall-
be at least twenty-five years of age on the date of the election;
- have been a United States citizen for at least seven years prior to the date of the election;*
- be an inhabitant of the Territory of American Samoa; and
- not be, on the date of the election, a candidate for any other office.
Sec. 4. Acting pursuant to legislation enacted in accordance with section 9, article II of the American Samoa Revised Constitution, the territorial government will determine the order of names on the ballot for election of Delegate, the method by which a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of delegate shall be conducted, the method by which ties between candidates for the office of Delegate shall be resolved, and all other matters of local application pertaining to the election and the office of Delegate not otherwise expressly provided for herein.
Sec. 5. Until the Rules of the House of Representatives are amended to provide otherwise, the Delegate from American Samoa shall receive the same compensation, allowances, and benefits as a Member of the House of Representatives, and shall be entitled to whatever privileges and immunities that are, or hereinafter may be, granted to the nonvoting Delegate from the Territory of Guam: Provided, That the clerk hire allowance for the Delegate from American Samoa shall be a single per annum gross rate that is 50 per centum of the clerk hire allowance of a Member of the House of Representatives.
Approved October 31, 1978.
Section 3 of Public Law 95-584, Nov. 2, 1978, 92 Stat. 2483, amended Public Law 95-556, Oct. 31, 1978, 92 Stat. 2078, as follows:
Sec. 3. Subsection 3(b) of the Act entitled "An Act to provide that the Territory of American Samoa be represented by a nonvoting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives, and for other purposes" is hereby amended to read as follows: "(b) owe allegiance to the United States;".
Approved November 2, 1978.
*Amended to read "owe allegiance to the United States". See Public Law 95-584, § 3, set out below.