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senate Bill S. 1237

Island Hopping: The U.S. Territories Omnibus Bill

Argument in favor

Turtle conservation and energy efficiency both get some love.

Argument opposed

No war reparations for survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam.

What is Senate Bill S. 1237?

This bill deals with a number of different issues relating to U.S. territories. Notably, the bill increases the territory of the Northern Mariana Islands to three miles past its shores,  creates an "energy action plan" for the territories, disallows a minimum wage raise in the Northern Mariana Islands, and expands turtle conservation under the Turtle Conservation Act. More details about the omnibus bill are offered below.


The bill impacts American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1237

$20.00 Million
The CBO estimates that the bill would increase net direct spending by $20 million over the next ten years.

More Information


In Detail: 

The bill also:

directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct reports relating to minimum wages increases in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands;

requires the Secretary of the Interior to direct the American Samoa Election Office to have American Samoans vote to see if they want U.S. citizenship; 

exempts vessels from a requirement that they be rebuilt in the United States if they off load in American Samoa and were rebuilt outside of the United States before January 1, 2011;

requires departments and agencies, in the case of grants to American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, to waive any requirement for local matching funds (including in-kind contributions) that the area would otherwise be required to provide, including waiver of an entire matching requirement for a grant requiring matching funds of $500,000 or less;

establishes the St. Croix National Heritage Area in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and establishes the Castle Nugent National Historic Site on the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, as a unit of the National Park System;

requires the U.S. Virgin Islands to decide about whether or not to add positions to its executive cabinet; 

sets a number of different requirements for workers in the Northern Mariana Islands; 

lets certain grants relating to territories be paid in cash, and; 

states that citizens of Guam receive preference for affordable housing in Guam, ahead of foreign nationals. 


Omnibus Territories Act of 2013

Official Title

A bill to improve the administration of programs in the insular areas, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • The senate Passed June 18th, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    IntroducedJune 27th, 2013

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