28th Guam Legislature

27th Guam Legislature


Bill 259 provides Guam more control over local issues


Read Bill 259: [MSWord (as introduced)]

Status of Bill 259: Introduced on January 31, 2006.

More on Bill 259:

Congresswoman Bordallo Speech

Organic Act of Guam

Organic Act Historical Documents

  • Bill for P.L. 630 [PDF 2.76MB]
  • Legal History for P.L. 630 - year 1950 [PDF 1.48MB]
  • Hearing on S. 185, S. 1892, H.R. 7273 [PDF 5.79MB]
  • Report No. 1677 - Providing a Civil Government for Guam, and for other purposes (To accompany H.R. 7273) - February 22, 1950 [PDF 1.37MB]
  • Report No. 2109 - Providing a Civil Government for Guam (To accompany H.R. 7273) - July 20, 1950 [PDF 1.54MB]


Bob introduced legislation this morning to “Patriate” Guam’s Organic Act. Bill 259 requests the United States Congress to allow the people of Guam to alter those sections of the Organic Act that directly relate to the local government operations of the people of Guam.

Although we enjoy a measure of home rule, the people of Guam are not served by a government established by a constitution of their own making. Home rule for the people of Guam is a function of an act of Congress, the Organic Act of 1950, which is a sort of quasi constitution.

Question: What does “Patriation” mean?

Answer: The term “patriate” is somewhat obscure and not found in most dictionaries. Some would suggest that the term is properly used when it means transfer of legislative authority to an autonomous country from a previous mother country. Even though Guam is not an autonomous country the word “patriate” is quite useful in the context in which it is used here and easily bears the meaning assigned to it in this bill.

Question: So what? Why “Patriate” the Organic Act?

Answer: There would no longer be a need to seek the old cliché “an Act of Congress” to change the Organic Act for a purely local matter.

- creating the elected school board could have been voted locally without an act of Congress
- creating the position of the elected Attorney General could have been voted locally without an act of Congress
- creating the position of the elected Public Auditor could have been voted locally without an act of Congress
- unifying the Guam Superior and Supreme Courts could have been voted locally without an act of Congress

Congress could amend the Organic Act to allow the people of Guam to amend those portions of the Organic Act which deal only with local matters thereby providing a full measure of home rule to the people of Guam while obviating the necessity for Congress to become involved with purely local matters. Such a procedure is not without precedent as home rule for the District of Columbia was brought about in a similar manner in 1973.

The first step on the path toward home rule began with Congress’ passage of the Organic Act in 1950. The Organic Act provides the framework for the government of Guam and serves as a quasi constitution.

As enacted, the Organic Act created a three branch government only one branch of which could have been called “local,” i.e. the legislature. The judicial branch was the District Court of Guam, a federal court. The executive branch was headed by a governor appointed by the President with advice and consent of Congress.

Because Congress passed the Elective Governor Act in 1968, “local” status accrued to the executive branch allowing Guam voters to choose Guam’s first elected governor in 1970.

Finally with the passage of Public Law 108-378 in 2004 the construction of the local three branch government was completed with the creation of a co-equal judicial branch headed by the Supreme Court of Guam.

During the 54 year genesis of the three co-equal branch local government of Guam Congress acted more than ten times to create and define sub elements of the government of Guam. It took an Act of Congress to permit the people of Guam to elect their Attorney General. Even the decision that the entire government of Guam, not just the Governor, is responsible for education on Guam required congressional action, thus enabling the creation of the Guam Education Policy Board.

The legislation’s 11 sponsors are: Klitzkie, Joanne Brown, Larry Kasperbauer, Mike Cruz, Tony Unpingco, Ray Tenorio, B.J. Cruz, Eddie Calvo, Frank Aguon, Adolpho Palacios, Rory Respicio.



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