Description: TO PASS H.J. RES. 549 APPROVING THE CONVENANT TO ESTABLISH A COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS IN POLITICAL UNION WITH THE UNITED STATES.
Bill summary: (Reported jointly to Sen. from the Comms. on Armed Services; and Foreign Relations with amendment, S. Rept 94-596)
Provides that, subject to the approval by the United States, the Mariana Islands District Legislature, and the people of the Northern Mariana Islands, this covenant shall establish the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. States that the Commonwealth shall be in political union with, and under the sovereignty of, the United States of America.
States that the people of the
Northern Mariana Islands will formulate and approve a Constitution, subject to United States approval. Requires that the Constitution provide for a republican form of government with separate executive, legislative and judicial branches, and that it contain a bill of rights.
Provides that all persons who are citizens of the Northern Mariana Islands shall become citizens of the United States entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States of the United States.
Establishes within the Commonwealth the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. Defines the jurisdiction of the court.
Specifies those laws and provisions of the United States Constitution which shall apply to the Commonwealth.
Directs the President to appoint a seven-member Commission on Federal laws to make recommendations to the United States Congress as to which laws should be made applicable to the Commonwealth.
Provides that with limited exceptions the Northern Mariana Islands will be deemed to be a part of the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Makes the income tax laws in force in the United States applicable to the Northern Mariana Islands as a local territorial income tax. Provides that references in the Internal Revenue Code to Guam will be deemed also to refer to the Northern Mariana Islands.
States that the Commonwealth shall not be included within the customs territory of the United States.
Directs that the Trust Territory Social Security Retirement Fund attributable to the Northern Mariana Islands be transferred to the Treasury of the United States, to be held in trust as a separate fund and to be known as the "Northern Mariana Islands Social Security Retirement Fund." Provides that the fund will be administered by the United States in accordance with the social security laws of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Exempts all bonds and other obligations issued by the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands from taxation by the United States.
Establishes a program of direct grant assistance by the Government of the United States to the Commonwealth in its efforts to achieve a higher standard of living. States that such assistance shall continue for seven fiscal years. Provides $8,250,000 for budgetary support, $4,000,000 for capital improvement projects and $1,750,000 for an economic development loan fund.
Makes available to the Commonwealth the full range of Federal programs and services available to the territories of the United States. Directs that the proceeds of all customs duties and Federal income taxes derived from the Northern Mariana Islands shall be paid into the Treasury of the Commonwealth, to be expended for the benefit of the people thereof.
Transfers all right, title and interest of the Government of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in and to real property in the Northern Mariana Islands to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Specifies property within the Commonwealth which shall be made available to the Government of the United States by lease for defense purposes. States that such lease shall be for a term of 50 years with an option to renew for an additional 50 years. Provides that the United States shall pay a total of $19,520,600 in full settlement of such lease.
Provides that the Commonwealth may regulate the alienation of permanent and long-term interests in real property so as to restrict the acquisition of such interests to persons of Northern Mariana Islands descent. Provides that such regulation is allowed for a period of 25 years after the termination of the Trusteeship Agreement.
Recognizes the importance and scarcity of land in the Northern Mariana Islands. States that the United States shall acquire additional land in the Commonwealth only to the extent necessary to accomplish a public purpose.
Authorizes the creation of the position of Resident Representative to the United States. Establishes requirements for such post.
Provides for consultations between the Governments of the United States and the Commonwealth. Directs that such consultations shall be held at the request of either Government but not less frequently than every 10 years.
Establishes procedures for acceptance of this covenant.
Expresses the sense of the Congress that special representatives should be designated to consider in good faith such issues affecting the relationship between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States, and to report any findings and recommendations with respect to those issues.
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Bill titles: Joint resolution to approve the "Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America", and for other purposes.; Joint resolution to approve the "Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America".
Original source documents: Digest of the Congressional Record vol. 122-24, p. S2256;
Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov